Creativity: Laying down the law

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The Independent Culture
OUR request for new, nation-enhancing laws has provoked a sufficiently large and varied response to fill a manifesto. Here, for the benefit of any politicians who may be reading this page, are the commitments needed to gain the votes of our readers:

Stuart Cockerill starts us off with a number of eminently sensible suggestions, including the classification of tax fraud as a crime of passion and Britain to be granted a charter as a recognised charity (which would presumably make income tax tax-deductible). He also believes that using British Rail should be grounds for detention under the Mental Health Act and that British Telecom should be a proscribed organisation.

Tom Gaunt proposes a speech tax, 'especially in Parliament'. A free speech allocation of 100 words would be given to each MP, after which each word uttered is subject to a standard rate of tax. Julian Bates has a similar proposal, making lying illegal. 'Members of Parliament will be given special dispensation, with an acclimatisation period of 25 years to become accustomed to telling the truth.'

Each lie will attract penalty points, with greater forfeits for qualified lies, introduced by such phrases as 'I firmly believe'. Mr Bates ends his manifesto with the words: 'I honestly and firmly believe this new and far-reaching law will immediately reduce the number of second-time traffic offenders, substantially improve the depressed used-car market, probate and wills business and fundamentally alter the attitudes of politicians.'

David White suggests a radical alteration to criminal justice: 'The convicted criminal shall suffer proportionately to his circumstances, a penalty equal to the damage which he inflicted proportionately on his victim.'

David Trinder suggests succinctly the Animal Poo Act (1993): Owners Responsibility for Removal. But the single item most likely in our opinion to improve the general state of the nation came from Corinna Gallop: 'That pedestrians have the right of way over car drivers when it is raining.'

Following a suggestion of Stuart Cockerill, the creative challenge for this week is to find possible uses for lawyers. Ideas should be sent to Creativity, The Independent, 40 City Road, London EC1Y 2DB.

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