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Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Siesta Day

Today is Siesta Day and, to celebrate, I’m updating my manifesto in case there’s a snap election. The new items concern siestas (of course), imprisonment policy, and driving tests.

1. Prevention of noise & nuisance.

It shall be illegal to manufacture, import, sell (or otherwise distribute), use or activate any mobile phone with a ring tone. All phones must therefore only work soundlessly, e.g. on 'vibrate alert'.

It shall be an offence to manufacture, import, sell (or otherwise distribute), or use any vehicle fitted with a working horn. All vehicles must be modified immediately if they are to be used in any way at all.

No burglar alarm may be permitted other than those that operate soundlessly e.g. by telephoning a remote call centre.

2. The reporting of real news.

It shall be an offence to report on any of the following: The behaviour of footballers and other sportspeople other than on the field or when they are being sentenced/executed for loutish behaviour.
The behaviour of actors other than directly in performance.
The plots of soap operas.
The behaviour (or even the existence of) the Royal Family and their hangers on. This applies to official as well as private activities. The official secrets act shall be suitably amended to cover these offences.

3. Freedom of information.

All information must be readily available and the presumption must be that nothing is secret. The onus will be on any complainant to prove that the release of information, before or after the event, is not in the national interest. All emoluments, of everyone in the land, shall be made public. There will be no exceptions.

4. Religion.

Religion will be limited to consenting adults in private. Any person attempting to
Tell a young person that any religious story is true
Inculcate faith
Physically mutilate (circumcise) a child
Suggest that creation/intelligent design theory is, in any way, superior to evolution
Claim a miracle
Mention ‘God’ in public
Suggest there is a life after death
Advocate or staff a faith school
shall be guilty of a criminal offence.

5. The Royal Family.

Royal Residences shall be made public buildings and their former occupants housed in suitable alternative accommodation e.g. 3 Hoxton Villas or First Landing, Pentonville.

6. Capital punishment.

The British public, having a continuing appetite for this form of punishment, shall be given the opportunity to watch the public execution of ringing mobile phone manufacturers, tabloid journalists and editors, drivers who park in cycle lanes, all religious officials (except perhaps the odd Quaker), new age advocates, astrologers and other bullshitters, believers in life after death **, misusers of the English Language, and, of course, Jeremy Clarkson.

7. The siesta.

The siesta will be a mandatory part of British cultural life. It will be an offence to stop anyone having a siesta should they so wish. Clearly, abuse of this facility may be a problem and the practice will be carefully regulated. I mean, we can’t have people getting up to hanky-panky in the middle of the day, can we?

8. The driving test.

All motorists must cycle for at least six months, before they are allowed to take a driving test and drive a car. Each potential motorist must cover a substantial mileage before they can sit the test; all current motorists must fulfil this cycling test, too, before they are allowed to resume driving.

The purpose of this change is principally to teach motorists of the extreme vulnerability of cyclists on today’s crowded roads. If they survive this cycling test, motorists will then definitely be more aware of other, less cocooned and more fragile road-users.

9. Prison sentencing.

Because it is clear that judges and magistrates only get a cursory idea of what prisons are like, yet they have the power to sentence people to long periods of incarceration, this measure will give sentencers a real idea of what it means to lose one’s liberty and spend extended periods in foul, inadequate surroundings.

Accordingly, before being granted the right to sentence anyone to loss of liberty, all sentencers must spend six months in prison themselves. This ‘six months’ is to be regarded as a minimum sentence. Should the judge or magistrate be ‘rumbled’ at any stage during the incarceration, the period must start again, in a different institution. Only when they have served a full consecutive six months and remained undetected can they be released.

There are several reasons for this new policy: the undetectable period is designed to safeguard the sentencers from harm from other inmates; it is also designed to ensure that the toffs do not receive special treatment – they must experience life as ordinary prisoners do – and it is the best way to get a massive and general improvement in our prisons. Prison sentences are about deprivation of liberty, not of deliberate degradation.

**This will have the dual, beneficial effect of bringing purveyors of nonsense face-to-face with the logic of their position and ridding the rest of us of these idiocy-mongers.

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