Tuesday, November 21, 2006

How to Label a Goat

Last night I attended the launch of a new book called HOW TO LABEL A GOAT. It's by Spectator columnist Ross Clark and it's a marvellous compendium of silly rules and regulations that are, as he puts it, strangling Britain. You can buy it HERE.

In this new book, Ross Clark exposes some of the most petty and bizarre rules and regulations which are blighting the lives of Britons today. From the 45 pages of instructions on how to correctly label a goat (or sheep) to the impact that being a deep-sea diver might have on your tax return. Among his other discoveries are:

- That there are 279 different tax forms for businesses alone, asking a total of 6,614 questions.
- The notes explaining the Treasury's 'simplified' pensions' regime ran to 1,369 pages.
- The law allows you to kill or give away a bullfinch - but not to sell or barter it.
- A woman from Kilbride was given an ASBO forbidding her from answering the door in her underwear.
- A council spent £5,000 planting yew trees to screen a new children's play area. It then dug them up again after health and safety experts advised children could fall ill if they gobbled 'several handfuls' of leaves.


Anonymous said...

Yes, there's a whole industry out there of people taking our money to exploit these petty rules. Some are even writing books about these rules to make money out of us.

Anonymous said...

Isn't there a rule somewhere banning people from making money out of petty rules.

Anonymous said...

If the woman aswering the door in her undies took them off first, would that be all right?

Anonymous said...

" A woman from Kilbride was given an ASBO forbidding her from answering the door in her underwear."

Is it only in Scotland that it is not polite to answer when someone bangs on the entrance-flap to one's knickers?

Anonymous said...

Great book, I'll get a copy - well maybe.

But Iain, what's the underlying motive behind this new bureaucracy?

New World Order?

Anonymous said...

Of more real interest, have a look at Jon Ronson's 'The Men Who Stare at Goats' about the US Secret Service involvement in debatable 'psychic' experiments.

No, not a book about 'nutty professors' but more an object lesson in the complete lack of democratic supervision of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Very interesting in view of the recent Newsnight film suspecting their involvement in the death of Bobby Kennedy.

Anonymous said...

The only way to end this stupidity is to sack the idiots responsible. The immediate dismissal (with loss of pensions and honours) of the top 10% of the civil service and the enforced redundancy of 50% of whats left. Lose all quangos and special advisors! Bar Freemasons from holding positions in the public sector and miraculously this countries problems will evaporate. That only leaves the question..What to do with the politicians?

Anonymous said...

...and remember, ignorance of the law is no excuse.

Etzel Pangloss said...

"The law allows you to kill or give away a bullfinch - but not to sell or barter it."

As I recall it's both illegal to either kill or keep a bullfinch.

Anonymous said...

Petty ridiculous rules are good for a laugh, but there are an equal number of grievous rules which permit crime to go unpunished, or even be rewarded by the law.

People are getting angry as criminals fear nothing and are becoming a serious threat to the peace and enjoyment of their fellow citizens.

Until FEAR is reintroduced as part of the criminal justice process, and effective PUNISHMENT, there will be no respect.

Most people are offended by the BNP's racist undertones, but agree wholeheartedly with their determination to put criminals in their place. That is why their support grows.

It is in this area that Cameron is vulnerable. He must get up to speed with the views of ordinary people, who are greatly angered by the lack of an effective response to crime by the state. He's made the right start by talking of repealing the ECHR and producing a British version.

Engaging with hoodies should include the opportunity for them to enjoy effective physical punishment. Crime is really getting people's goats.

dearieme said...

You have to be a bloody idiot to plant yews by a childrens' playground. The danger isn't the "leaves", it's the fascinating, bright red, toxic berries.

Anonymous said...

It's an official rule of travelling on the railways that accompanying pets cannot be any bigger than a small goat. I'm not sure how they measure the goat.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure this is a very amusing book, but I'm not sure that this is a recent nulabour invention.

A long time ago it was possible to quote examples along the lines of: 'Freemen of the City of London are allowed to herd sheep along Tower Bridge on the 3rd Tuesday after Easter'.

Although I concede that what has changed is the appetite for the enforcement of these laws. Since this enforcement doesn't involve anything which may be useful [stopping people using mobile telephones while driving], then it is only fair they find another way to occupy their daylight hours.

Anonymous said...

well iain, one stupid rule i saw tonight was to do with the peabody trust employing a car clamping company that were clamping and selling people's cars despite them having permits. one man showed the permit to itsm, and had his fine INCREASED. they then claimed that his car had been crushed when it had infact been sold. we have too many stupid laws for stupid things whilst we dont have enough laws for serious things. how about a complete overhaul of the system?

Anonymous said...

According to... http://www.ancient-yew.org/faqs.shtml

Poison is found in all parts except for the fleshy fruit.
The poison is called Taxine. “The alkaloid ephedrine, as well as a volatile oil and traces of a cyanogenic glycoside, taxiphyllin, are also present.” HMSO 1984
The leaves are more toxic than the seed.
(Paul Greenwood 2005)

Anonymous said...

I dunno if the ASBO was deserved: how did she look in those undies?

I heard that Jacqui Cohen's mother (who is what's known as a "provincial celebrity") used to get somewhat blotto and phone the police department to report burglars and would then answer the door to the attending officers in a robe that was untied and flapping in the breeze. That wasn't all that would flap, however, and the cops appealed to their supervisors to spare them these horrific experiences. The dispatch started sending female officers, and the mysteriously elusive burglar's visits ended abruptly.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Scottish people affect to be easily shocked. Undies Woman would have been a gusset too far.

My local paper reported fining a man for breach of the peace for telling his neighbour to "fuck off".

They are so polite up here. It's like living in an Enid Blyton book.

Anonymous said...

UK statutory instruments in 2006 alone

Its more than a goat - its how to label an entire nation.

Anyone fancy a revival of the Commonwealth Men? Looks like its badly needed in the Britain of 2006.