Sunday, May 13, 2007

Beware the 1980 Bees Act

AND SO we say farewell to dear Tone, the man who promised so much and delivered so little. Except in one area – that of new laws. Oh, and wars.

I haven’t updated my list lately, but I can inform you that when I checked back in August of last year, Mr Blah’s NuLabour administration had already introduced 3,000 new laws since he came to power – that’s around one a day. I have no reason to believe that the tidal wave of legislation has diminished since then.

I must admit that I had this weird idea that modern Socialism was all about personal freedom. I was obviously wrong. We are now more tightly controlled, aided and abetted by an indecent level of State surveillance, than at any other time in our history. Not even Oliver Cromwell made growing an unruly hedge a criminal offence. Mr Blah did.

We all know about the big ticket legislation – the hunting ban, for instance. But there are myriad other areas where you may find yourself innocently breaking the law. These include the importation of potatoes from Poland, the sale of ruddy ducks or grey squirrels, failing to label honey correctly or entering the wreck of the Titanic without the permission of the Secretary of State.

You can also be sentenced to six months’ chokey for organising an unlicensed concert in a church hall and under the Nuclear Explosions (Prohibition and Inspections) Act 1998, it is illegal to cause an … err … nuclear explosion.

And then there’s the spot fines – for putting the wrong kind of cereal box in your recycling bin, for eating an apple while driving or for being drunk on blue alcopops in the High Street on a Friday evening. (While this last one might be law, with the ludicrous “marched to the cashpoint” fines as a deterrent, it certainly has never been implemented.)

You might think that you’d be safe if you stayed home and hid behind the sofa. Unfortunately not. There are now 266 justifications government officials can use to forcibly enter your house. Some are sensible, for instance if you’re planning to cause a nuclear explosion. Others are plain daft. Under the 1980 Bees Act, the police can check your abode for the presence of foreign bees. So how they know which bees are humming Rule Britannia and which are the cheese-eating surrender bees?

What we have seen is a dehumanisation of public services. By the time we’ve taken on board all these new laws, and then factored in the jackboot of the Health and Safety Nazis, and multiplied that by the number of Turkey Army staff recruited into non-jobs, and larded the lot with the Data Protection Act and European Human Rights legislation, we’ve created a culture where to serve is to fail. More effort goes into not doing something than does to providing the basic services we should all be able to expect for our assorted taxes.

For a prime example, let’s pay a visit to the leafy, middle-class oasis of Cheltenham. There the council has decided on a new response to the perennial problem of dog shit. Once a member of the public calls the Turd Hotline (no, really) to report an illicit deposit, the Canine Crap Rapid Deployment Squad will race to the scene and spray-paint a red circle around the offending item. This is intended to draw attention to the “crime” and to shame the culprit. Or, more likely, its owner.

Seven days later the Poo Protection Team returns to the scene of the crime and, if the Mr Whippy is still there, another circle, this time of yellow paint, is added. A week later, the boys are back again, this time adding a white circle. By now, if the “installation” hasn’t been nominated for a Turner Prize, one can only imagine that it is dwindling somewhat in volume and potential smearability.

Finally, a month later and after having created a whole new series of neo-classical hopscotch grids across the Regency avenues of Cheltenham, the Excrement Enforcement Unit will move in and remove the poop (i.e. kick it into the gutter). Job done.

Now you may well ask why on earth they didn’t do this on their first visit. Wouldn’t it have been far more cost-effective and, well, sensible? Isn’t their primary task to keep the streets clean for residents and tourists alike? Don’t be silly. The new motto of our council commandos is Punish the Public. They’re not interested in doing the things you want them to do; they’re far more concerned about stopping you doing the things they don’t want you to do.

This is the perverse culture NuLabour has created (along with hundreds of thousands of public sector jobs). It’s no longer about public service; it’s about public servitude. And what can we do about it? Nothing – just carry on paying the bills.

IT’S TAKEN a few days but now the tabloids, frustrated by a lack of story-tickling tit-bits from the Portugese police, have decided to put the parents of little Maddie McCann through the wringer. How dare they leave these children alone while they waltzed out for a slap-up meal and, probably, the consumption of cheap alcohol?

It’s not pleasant reading, but you have to wonder if it would have happened a damn sight sooner if, instead of being a nice middle-class professional family (doctors, no less), Maddie’s parents had been benefits-claiming scrotes from a sink estate.


Blogger Colin Campbell said...

Aieyah. Life is so ugly. I can remember doing much the same thing in nice hotels in Asia. When we got back, our daughter was fine. Ugly all the same.

2:03 AM  
Anonymous Mr Mad said...

I see the Council Gestapo are going arround spray painting the pavements because of dog turds.
As far as I am concerned this is graffiti.The people spraying the pavements should face the full force of the law.Bring back hanging I say.

9:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Colin, I'm sure your daughter ISN'T ugly! It IS a sick old World, thus emphasized by the antics of our own government and regional authorities. Talk about mixing your prorities. I think I' take my dogs to Chelteham and give Trace an M in and Damian Hurts a run or THE RUNS for their money!

10:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I note that since jan 2005 we're obliged to notify the local council planning department before fitting a small water pump in the garden. Note I'm not talking about a Charlie Dimmock Magic Fountain of Montjuic here, just a small bubbling stone.

That'll be the few pensioners not currently wilfully engaging in dirty protests in prison whilst locked up for council tax non-payment awaiting the six o'clock knock, then.

3:46 PM  

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