The long arm of the law? Let's amputate it

Hypocrisy? Me? Oh, come come come. Tsk tsk. But there it was. "You're a hypocrite, supporting the Legalise Cannabis campaign," she snarled. "You should tell the truth." Fair enough. These days, I rather dislike cannabis, for the same reason that I dislike other drugs and particularly dislike booze. Taken in anything other than the smallest amounts, they are rather like beating your children: acts of horrible violence against something that's on your side and can't fight back. The poor brain is doing its best. It's a consolation, a chum, an entertainment, a sympathetic ear for your inane drivelling self-narrations, a useful tool in times of crisis, the provider of dreams, the conduit of delight, the gate-keeper of security and the monitor of appetite and desire. It is witty, heuristic, faithful and so wonderfully diligent that, even when you sleep, it remains wakeful, telling jokes, making up stories, chewing over the day's events, quickening the dead and bringing people to say hello who you haven't seen for years.

A long time ago I read a poem by, I think, the Emperor Hadrian. A valetudinarian poem; a man preparing for death by saying goodbye to his soul just as you would say a last farewell to a lover. He's frightened that, wherever it is going, it may feel cold and lonely. There'll be no more jokes.

To stupefy this soul, this brain, mind, consciousness - whatever it may be - with drugs seems terribly unkind. But that doesn't mean I would have them banned. The Kinsey Report, published 50 years ago, described a continuum between pure hetero- and pure homosexuality. I am far out on the heterosexual margin, clinging on by my tremendous prehensile member to the very right- hand edge of the chart. All the same, I publicly supported the Stonewall campaign for gay equality under the law. Was that hypocrisy? Am I a bad person? Should I immediately make a good act of contrition and just utterly slap myself to death?

Hmmm ... I don't want some chap waggling himself at me (all scrotum and chest hair and the smell all wrong) and I find stoned people immeasurably boring, and drunks repetitive, or rotted with self-pity ... so I suppose that when I campaign for legalised cannabis and lowering the homosexual age of consent, what I am actually doing is campaigning against the law.

The thing about the law is that we have too much of it. Like a tart's boudoir, what was once a wall has become a mirror, and a strangely distorting one at that. The law once occupied itself with preventing or redressing damage. But it now seems to have become a curiously over- optimistic looking-glass in which we see ourselves as we would like to be. In this looking-glass we never do anything to damage ourselves. We never whack our children or ride our motorbikes without a crash helmet. We are sober, clean and serene at all times. We feed only on the purest, chilled, labelled and germ-free food, which we eat decorously and always by its best-before date. The law ensures that our graveyards are neat and tidy, with no marble excrescences shouting their unseemly, excessive grief. In short, the law has become the embodiment of suburban aspiration.

But, as always, I have a compromise. We are all clever, liberal, warm- hearted and tolerant people here. If, as we must, we have to co-exist with Daily Mail readers, let's replace all those mimsy, nit-picking, how- would-it-be-if-everyone-did-it? (answer: Then we would be fools not to follow suit) laws with just one, of my own devising: the Darling Law.

The Darling Law will solve all our problems. It will place responsibility for individual morality back in the bosom of the family. It will abolish the stupidities of attempting to regulate private behaviour. And, best of all, it will regulate excesses which the current laws are powerless to prevent.

How it works is simple. It will be the duty of every citizen over the age of majority to provide her- or himself with a confidant, probably a spouse or lover, hereinafter referred to as "Darling". It will furthermore be the duty of every citizen as aforesaid to say, at the end of every day, "Darling, guess what I did today?" and then to tell the truth.

As I write, I have a plate of sausages in front of me. They are made by a big sausage manufacturer, a rich sausage manufacturer and a company utterly without honour in the sausage and general foodstuffs world. These sausages bear a rural-sounding name, boast of containing herbs, and are wrapped in white plastic to look like old-style butchers' paper. When grilled, they give off an acrid blue fatty smoke, like burning aircraft upholstery, so that you have to shut the kitchen door and hide in the bathroom until the foul mephitic fumes die away.

Cooked, the sausages have a strange, even varnished surface. Biting into them bursts the tough horny skin and releases a gust of armpit, and then a strange emptiness like cheap buggery, or a nothingness gone to the bad.

Although they comply with every sausage law passed by successive, suburban, sausage-conscious governments, these sausages are a disgrace, and the greedy, sneering executives and food technologists responsible should be stripped, bound and publicly flogged with a leather Viper (pounds 70 from Paradiso Bodyworks in Old Compton Street, if you're interested). But it won't happen.

Imagine, though, that the Darling Law has been enacted. After the first board meeting, all the executives and food technologists would have to go home and say: "Darling, guess what I did today? I approved a scheme to make the filthiest sausages even we have ever made, and pass them off on the British public which, over the years, we have trained to believe that the highest compliment you can pay to a sausage is to be able to get it down and keep it down." What would Darling say then?

Quite. And it's not just sausages. It's everything. Lobby your local MP now. But, please, try and at least appear straight and sober when you do it. !

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

    Hunters protect Russia's rare Amur tiger

    In an unusual move, wildlife charities have enlisted those who kill animals to help save them. Oliver Poole travels to Siberia to investigate
    Transfers: How has your club fared in summer sales?

    How has your club fared in summer sales?

    Who have bagged the bargain buys and who have landed the giant turkeys
    Warwick Davis: The British actor on Ricky Gervais, how the Harry Potter set became his office, and why he'd like to play a spy

    'I'm a realist; I know how hard this business is'

    Warwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
    The best swim shorts for men: Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer

    The best swim shorts for men

    Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer
    Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

    Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

    Meet the couple blamed for bringing Lucifer into local politics
    Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

    Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

    Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
    Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

    Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

    When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
    5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

    In grandfather's footsteps

    5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
    Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

    Martha Stewart has flying robot

    The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
    Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

    Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

    Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
    A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

    A tale of two presidents

    George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
    Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

    The dining car makes a comeback

    Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
    Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

    Gallery rage

    How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
    Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

    Eye on the prize

    Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
    Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

    Women's rugby

    Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup