Obsessive lawmaking

December 7, 2008 at 2:46 pm | Posted in British Politics | Leave a comment

Whilst civil libertarians do have a habit of overstating their case, it’s still generally true that if the consequence of being a nation of laws is that individual freedom is restricted, then it’s common sense to ensure we only enact laws which (a) are needed to secure security, stability, equality and justice, and (b) actually work. You’ll have to decide for yourselves how many of the 3,600 new offences Labour has created manage to fall under that criteria, but in this Commons debate, the Liberal Democrats‘ Chris Huhne points out some of the more ridiculous:

  • Causing a nuclear explosion.
  • Wilfully pretending to be a barrister.
  • Disturbing a pack of eggs when instructed not to by an authorised officer.
  • Obstructing workers carrying out repairs to the docklands light railway.
  • Offering for sale a game bird killed on a Sunday or Christmas day.
  • Attaching an ear tag to an animal where it has previously been used to identify another animal.
  • Landing at a harbour without permission a catch that includes unsorted fish.

Whilst I wouldn’t want to be seen as ‘soft’ on people who want to cause nuclear explosions, I’m pretty sure we already had laws which covered that particular crime.


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