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Sunday, July 14, 2024
EditorialsUp Front 11/08

Up Front 11/08

A recent news item prompted me to do an internet search for daft laws and silly government initiatives. As anyone who has done this will know, there are many. Well known ones include the fact that until 1976, all cab drivers were required by law to carry a bale of hay to feed a horse. Or that eating mince pies on Christmas Day is banned. Other countries have some even sillier laws. For example in Alabama it is illegal for a driver to be blindfolded while operating a vehicle. In Florida, if an elephant is left tied to a parking meter, the parking fee has to be paid, just as it would for a vehicle. In Tennessee it is illegal to lasso a catfish, while in West Virginia children may not attend school with their breath smelling of wild onions. The item that prompted my search was the news that a ‘senior government source’ had suggested there should be a separate checkout lane in supermarkets for people buying alcohol. The idea is to shame binge drinkers into cutting down. Apparently other shoppers will stare at the ‘booze lane’ and eventually everyone will become t-total and the problem of binge drinking will be solved. It’s a barking mad idea. Often these stories are leaked in order to gauge public reaction before a serious suggestion is made. Apart from the bemusement of the voting public this idea will likely elicit the usual response from supermarket chains that have previously had government making suggestions on how they should behave. I can hear them in the boardrooms now singing ‘Oh how we laughed’. It will surely remain much easier for government to put the boot into small business.

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