Thursday, 26 March 2015

5 Fun Facts and Myths About British Laws - Part Two

1. It is illegal to stand within one hundred yards of the reigning monarch without wearing socks. At every royal event for the past 500 years a special unit of the secret service, code name MI4.4, mingle with the crowds who come to see the monarch. They aren't there to stop an act of terrorism or to prevent someone from trying to assassinate the Queen. Nope, they are there checking to see if everyone has their ankles covered. If you are found to be sockless, then you are taken to the Tower of London, imprisoned for seven years, and then taken out back where the Beefeaters take it in turns to throw squirrels at you.

What a ridiculous law. Yep, it really is ridiculous, and as such, isn't true. Back in the day, the Tudor monarchs (Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, and Mary I) all passed laws regulating clothing styles. In 1592, for example, the Articles for the Execution of the Statutes Apparel made it illegal for anyone to turn up at the royal court wearing shirts with "Outrageous Double Riffs" or hose of "Monstrous and Outrageous Greatness." And in 1589, Elizabeth banned anyone from spelling Zayn with an "e" and from wearing a One Direction T-Shirt without his image. Bunch of traitors. He'll always be part of the Direction of One. Yeah, I still can't believe that was the headline news story all day today.

2. It is legal to shoot a Welshman with a longbow on Sunday in the Cathedral Close in Hereford, or inside the city walls of Chester after midnight. Okay, I'm game if you're game. Let's all meet up next Sunday in Chester, at about nine-o-clock-ish. We can start by having a few pints, a nice steak, assuming they still serve hot food at that time, because if not I'm setting Jeremy Clarkson on them. We can then just chill until midnight and that's when The Hunt begins. Remember to bring your own bow and arrow and download the Spot-A-Welshman-At-50-Paces app from the Apple store.

Nope. What the heck is wrong with you people? As much as you may want to hunt down Welshman for sport on a Sunday night, or have always dreamed for the chance to shoot Tom Jones, it's illegal to shoot a Welshman anywhere, or with any type of weapon, and it doesn't matter what day of the week it is either, as that is murder. And, in case you were wondering, that goes for shooting a Scotsman within the city walls of York, too. Yep, I was disappointed to find out that was not real too. What-a-shame.

3. It is illegal for your dog to have carnal knowledge of a royal pet. This means your dog better not be caught bumping-uglies with a corgi owned by the Queen. It's off with your head, and his head, both of them, if it does the business. So you may want to reconsider helping your Great Dane with its bucket list. It's not worth it.

Nah, it isn't illegal. Although this law is associated with George I, and he wasn't even the crazy one, there are no laws relating to the doggy-style with a royal pet from any time period. Although the 1722 Criminal Law Act did make it illegal for killing deer in the royal forests. This act has since been repealed, though. So, go get some venison. It's free. Blow that deer's head off. Don't worry, you won't hang for it. WAIT. STOP. Don't kill the deer. That was a joke. What are you, a psychopath? Will no one think of little Bambi? Oh, no, here come the tears. Poor Bambi's mother. She dead. Worst childhood memory, EVER.

4. It is illegal to eat mince pies on Christmas day. This one is down to Oliver Cromwell. It's amazing how much stuff gets blamed on him. In all fairness, he does deserve it. The guy was a total git. He did a lot of bad stuff. For starters, in 1649 he killed the king. But what was even worse than killing the king? He banned the consumption of mince pies and Christmas puddings on Christmas day.

Actually this isn't true. Yes, Oliver Cromwell fought a civil war against the king, and then had the king executed. And, yes, he was a total git. However, he didn't ban the eating of mince pies and Christmas puddings on Christmas day. There was only one year that eating them on Christmas day was illegal. It was 1644, as Christmas day fell on a legally-mandated day of fasting. So you couldn't eat anything, let alone some delicious festive treats. But, the Long Parliament in 1647 did ban all celebrations of Christmas and in 1656 proposed further legislation to crack down on illicit Christmas celebrations, but it was never enacted. When the monarchy was restored in 1660, all legislation enacted before that by Cromwell's parliaments were deemed invalid. So none of them apply today. To get his revenge, Charles II, newly restored to the throne, dug up the bones of Oliver Cromwell, who had been dead a few years, and tried and executed him posthumously for treason. At his trial, hedgehogs lined the streets in their thousands to kick Oliver Cromwell in the nuts, and to shove a mince pie in his pipe hole. Santa is real!

5. It is illegal to carry a plank of wood along a pavement. So, you've bought a plank at your local Planks-R-Us and then realised your van is parked down the road. What can you do? You have to chance it and hope the Fuzz isn't around to arrest you. But, it's not your day. No sooner have the police officers finished arresting a group of four-year-olds for flying kites, than they notice you and your plank. Should you run? NO. Are you crazy? You can't run with a plank. That's not only illegal, but down right suicidal. Have you not seen the documentary on the Discovery Channel about the second highest cause of death-by-planks in the USA? It's people running with planks.

This one is actually true. It is illegal to carry a plank along a pavement. It's an offence under section 54 of the Metropolitan Police Act 1839. Under the same act, it's also an offence to fly a kite, play annoying games (Such as Angry Birds and Sonic the Hedgehog), and sliding on ice or snow in the street. Yes, kids, you've been warned. Stop playing annoying games whilst sliding on ice carrying a plank of wood as you're flying a kite. You'll end up in prison for 50 years.

1 comment:

Colin Smith said...

I'm originally from Hereford. That particular piece of standing legislation was well known at my school, though I don't think anyone acted upon it. Our P.E. teacher was Welsh, and I'm sure many were tempted... ;)