OK, I’ll own up. I’m a criminal. In fact, I’m a multiple-offender. And yet, I’ve never spent a single night in a jail cell.
“But how could this travesty of justice have come about?" I hear you cry.
The answer is simple. If they locked me up, they have to imprison at least half the population of the UK, ‘cos I’m pretty sure that I’m not the only one guilty of having scoffed mince pies on Christmas Day.
Yes, folks. According to long-standing and never-repealed legislation introduced by England's very own revolutionary and arch-Puritan Oliver Cromwell back in the 17th Century, it is against the law to stuff your face with those tasty little (and misleadingly named) fruit pies on December 25.
But even if you can sanctimoniously resist a Yuletide mince pie-fest, stop before you condemn me and consider if you should be joining me in the dungeons, if English Law was to be followed to the letter.
Other ancient laws that have never been repealed say:
- anyone who sticks a postage stamp on a letter upside-down is guilty of treason;
- it's illegal to die while in the Houses of Parliament (prompting the plagiarised question of “How would they tell?” if certain excessively low profile Members of Parliament broke this particular law);
- in the UK, a pregnant woman is entitled to relieve herself anywhere she wants;
- the use of any kind of slide upon ice or snow is against the law;
- you cannot drive cattle through the streets of London (but I’ve love to see you try!);
- it is illegal to enter the Houses of Parliament wearing a suit of armour (and if you then sit down and die, you’re REALLY in trouble!);
- the head of any dead whale found on the British coast is automatically the property of the King, and the tail of the Queen (leaving the blubber for us plebs, presumably?);
and, finally, my favourite:
- it is illegal not to tell the tax man anything you don’t want him to know, but it is perfectly legal to not give him information you don’t mind him knowing (erm, yeah. I think I’ve got that).
In my adopted country, Greece, we have no such ridiculous quirks of legislation. As every Greek knows, “rules were made to be broken”.
So bring on the mince pies, give me that whale’s head and hand me my armour!