Last week UKTV Gold of all people, polled some 4,000 people to determine Englands silliest laws. Many of the laws were from a reference book: “The Strange Laws of Old England” authored by Nigel Cawthorne. ((US Link))
Of the many absurd laws that the UK has left on its statute books, these were voted the best:
1) Dying in the Houses of Parliament is illegal. This is apparently to prevent the enforcement of another law which states that anyone dying in the Houses of Parliament is entitled to a state funeral.
2) Putting a stamp bearing the Queens Head upside down on an envelope is an act of Treason.
3) You are not allowed to eat Mince Pies on Christmas day. Thanks apparently go to Oliver Cromwell during the English Civil war for this one.
4) A pregnant woman is legally entitled to spend a penny anywhere she likes if caught short.
5) Dead whales washed up anywhere on the British coast automatically become the property of the Crown. Specifically the tail goes to the Queen, and the head to the King.
6) You must tell the tax man anything that you do not wish him to know, but it’s ok not to tell him anything you don’t mind him finding out.
7) If you are wearing a full blown suit of armour, it is illegal to enter the Houses of Parliament.
What a crazy world we live in, and it gets worse. This week there was “The Queens Speech” where the Queen of England sets out the legislation that is going to be enacted in the next session of Parliament. One of Gordon Browns proposed new laws was extra legislation to reduce red-tape on small businesses.
I can see what he’s trying to do there, but I don’t think he’s quite twigged, that if you want to reduce the bureaucratic burden on business, you need to remove laws, not add new ones! Better luck next time Gordon.