Wednesday, 19 March 2008

No sense of history..or irony

Here's one of those quirkly stories about obsolete laws that are still on the statute books – stuff like being able to urinate on the back wheels of a hackney carriage or shoot a Scotsman on a Sunday in Carlise. Apparently a whole number of such laws are being repealed at the moment.

Justice Secretary Jack Straw, a man I expect whose sense of humour is matched only by his passion for civil liberties, came out with the following piece of unconscious irony:
"Laws on turnpikes, workhouses, and the Peterloo Massacre are rightly of interest to historians, but there is no need to retain them on the statute book.”

He maybe being a bit hasty there:

• Turnpikes – well we have PFI, privatised railways and toll roads so why not turnpikes?

• Workhouses – with the concept of 'workfare' and social housing reforms to evict those not actively seeking work, workhouses seem like a reasonable option.

• The Peterloo Massacre – a legitimate and peaceful protest brutally dispersed amidst hysteria about revolutionary ‘outrages’. Dare I mention the current anti-terrorism laws or the regular over reaction of the the police whenever there is a public order incident?

I’m just off to piss on the back of a taxi now…

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