Even though New Labour has created over 3000 new criminal offences, some of which are lovingly mauled in our film, someone has just pointed out to me some of the stranger laws that have remained on the statute book from yesteryear:
-It is illegal for a cab in the City of London to carry rabid dogs or corpses.
-It is illegal to die in the Houses of Parliament.
-It is an act of treason to place a postage stamp bearing the British monarch upside down.
-Under the UK’s Tax Avoidance Schemes Regulations 2006, it is illegal not to tell the taxman anything you don’t want him to know, though you don’t have to tell him anything you don’t mind him knowing.
-Royal Navy ships that enter the Port of London must provide a barrel of rum to the Constable of the Tower of London.
-A pregnant woman can legally relieve herself anywhere she wants – even, if she so requests, in a policeman’s helmet.
-In Lancashire, no person is permitted after being asked to stop by a constable on the seashore to incite a dog to bark.
-In England, all men over the age of 14 must carry out two hours of longbow practice a day.
-In London, Freemen are allowed to take a flock of sheep across London Bridge without being charged a toll; they are also allowed to drive geese down Cheapside.
-A man who feels compelled to urinate in public can do so only if he aims for his rear wheel and keeps his right hand on his vehicle.
-In Chester, Welshmen are banned from entering the city before sunrise and from staying after sunset.
-In the city of York, it is legal to murder a Scotsman within the ancient city walls, but only if he is carrying a bow and arrow.
-In London, it is illegal to flag down a taxi if you have the plague.
And finally my favourite...
-The head of any dead whale found on the British coast is legally the property of the King; the tail, on the other hand, belongs to the Queen - in case she needs the bones for her corset.
Suddenly being arrested for setting off a nuclear weapon doesn't seem half as silly.