Sunday, December 12, 2004

Great Article by Jezza

There's a great artcle in the Sunday Times today by Jeremy Clarkson, headlined Let's break all Tony's laws

I see that pretty soon parish councillor henchmen will be prowling round our villages at night, handing out £50,000 fixed-penalty notices to those whose lights are keeping people from getting to sleep. Well now; I live opposite a football pitch that, each evening, is illuminated by several starburst gigawatt lamps. They’re an eyesore, for sure, but since I understand that it’s jolly hard to play football in the dark I have not complained. Instead I’ve simply hung two pieces of material in front of the window. I like to call them “the curtains”. I have tried, really I’ve tried, to understand why legislation is needed to prevent people from using lights at night but then I’ve tried hard to understand why dogs aren’t allowed to kill foxes any more. And I don’t get that either. Or why I can’t use my mobile phone when I’m stuck in a traffic jam. Every single day there is a small piece in the papers that announces the introduction of a law banning something which you thought was harmless. And here’s the thing. You raise your eyebrows momentarily and then you turn the page. It’s only when you add up the number of new laws that have come along since His Toniness grinned his way into No 10 that you realise just how much of our freedom he’s tried to erode in the past seven years. Last week Boris Johnson told us that you may not legally fix a broken window pane in your own home unless you are a qualified broken window mender and that when the work is done you must get it inspected by a broken window inspector from the local council. Furthermore, it is against the law to change or tamper with the electrical sockets in your own kitchen. There’s so much more to come as well. Greyhound tracks will soon need new super licences, you will not be allowed to tread on a stag beetle, you will not be able to have unprotected sex or a few drinks with your friends after work. Cheese will have to be marked with a government health warning and you will be prevented from telling jokes about homosexual men, lesbians, Muslims, Catholics, the Irish and foxes. Gary Lineker will only be allowed on television after the watershed, in case children are enticed into his dangerous salt and vinegar world, you will not be allowed to get your dog to kill a rat — because it’s a wild animal — and you will be banned from giving your mum a headstone when she dies in case it falls over. Naturally you will also be banned from smoking in public, owning a Bible, sending Christmas cards that feature the nativity and smacking your children. Happily, you will be allowed to drive a car, but not at more than 20mph, not if you’ve had a piece of sherry trifle and certainly not if it has four-wheel drive. All of the above will be covered by legislation, but where this is not possible Tony uses the Hoxton Thought Police instead. As a result I was told last week that I am now “not allowed” to talk about Siamese twins and must in future refer to them as “conjoined”. Why? Down’s babies used to be called mongoloid because it was felt some of their facial characteristics made them look as if they were from Mongolia. And I can see why that might be upsetting. For both Mongolians and those with Down’s. But the expression Siamese twins is used because the first pair ever to reach the world’s consciousness — called Chang and Eng — happened to be from Siam. So who’s going to be upset? Siam doesn’t even exist any more. Are these idiots now saying I can’t refer to Dutch courage? And if so, who will stand up for the right of measles if I call them German? To be honest, however, none of this interference is going to make any difference to my life. That’s why I’m not whingeing, because I shall continue to call people while driving, and tell them stories that Cherie Blair would find offensive. Furthermore, I’ll carry on calling two people who share body parts Siamese twins. I will eat as much cheese as I like and I will still give my dog a whole packet of prawn-cocktail-flavoured crisps whenever she rips a rat to pieces. This evening I’m thinking of smacking the children. For fun. And then, when I go to bed tonight, after I’ve altered all the wiring in my kitchen and drunk two bottles of wine I’ll leave the outside lights on. And dream about the glimpse of G-string I saw in the office last week. In other words, in a single day I will break 14 laws and seven social taboos that simply didn’t exist before Tony came along. And I shall do so with impunity because there’s no way in hell he can possibly enforce all his Big Ideas.

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