The banned list: 10 annoying things that should be illegal


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The Independent Online

The Government has been urged to introduce legislation to outlaw wolf-whistling and "unwanted verbal... conduct with the effect of violating the dignity of a person". Seems a bit excessive, but why stop there? There are plenty of other modern annoyances that could, to rather greater benefit, also be made illegal. There is much scope here for manifesto writers. For instance....

The Wheeled Cases (Prohibition) Order

First they were a boon to those who couldn't lift heavy objects; then wheels became standard on all suitcases; now they are fitted to handbags, briefcases, and holdalls of ever diminishing size. Result? Crossing any airport or station concourse is a sort of human Grand National. Henceforth, only those carrying a Wheeled Case Dispensation Licence will be able to traipse around with these things around behind them.

Portrayal of Men as Brainless Beer-lovers in Advertising Act

For years, "creatives" in the advertising industry have thought it terribly original to portray men as poor saps only interested in beer, football, ogling women, and overpriced grooming products. This will now be illegal under new gender self-hatred legislation.

BMW Scrappage Scheme

It has been noticed that a high proportion of ill-mannered and inconsiderate road users drive second-hand BMWs. A number of schemes to try and rein in their bullying tendencies have been tried, without success. Therefore, from 1 June 2013, no BMWs registered before 2012 will be allowed on British roads. A scrappage scheme will be available to all drivers prepared to go on an Other Human Beings Awareness Course.

Escalator Nuisance Removal Order

The long-established code – stationary pedestrians to the right, the forwardly ambient to the left – is widely flouted. Therefore, under a new Order in Council, the Government's "Nudge" Unit will be deployed to Underground stations gently to shove lane-blockers over to the right, thus clearing the way for those of us with a train to catch.

Prevention of Offences Against the Prevention of Terrorism Act

You know who you are. You reach the front of a lengthy airport security queue and have to be reminded to remove belt, jacket, coins from pocket, dismantle bondage gear, piercings in private places, and receive the apparently surprising news about liquids in excess of 100ml. Under the new Act, you will be made to go back to the rear of the queue, and start again.

Misuse of Alleged Customer Service Improvements Act

Banks habitually send letters saying that "in order to improve customer service" you should not call your branch, but an 0845 number, pass a series of automated security checks, and hang on at least nine minutes before getting to talk to someone several thousand miles away who claims their name is Eric. Under the Act, banks will be forced to admit that this is all being done to cut costs and extract more revenue from impotent customers.

Use of Highways by Overlarge 4x4s Amendment Act

A number of accidents, and millions of minor nuisances, have occurred due to the growth of excessively large 4x4s on the road. These are now far bigger than the vehicles on which people passed their driving test. Henceforth, those driving outsized 4x4s will be required to hold a HGV licence, and wear a reflective tabard so they can be seen trying to peer over the steering wheel.

Hot Food (Eating at Desk) Directive

You may be hungry, and you may be busy, but that is no excuse for imposing on your colleagues the odour of your meal while you eat it, nor the dirty plate shoved to one side once you've finished. The eating of all pungent comestibles will henceforward have to be carried out in a designated "canteen" environment.

Hypocritical Corporate Economy Drive Act

A large number of companies are whittling away at the kind of small-scale expenditure which makes corporate life pleasant and efficient, and insisting such things are cut. The same companies then pay their directors large six- or even seven-figure salaries. As part of the Government's We Are All In This Together (No Really) Initiative, those companies employing more than 20 staff will not be able to pay for the salaries, perks, mistresses, and pensions of their directors by the enforcing of footling economies.

The Equinoctial Unavailability Directive (Retail)

Not being able to buy a swimsuit in July, or a winter coat when it snows, because the autumn/spring collections are in-store is causing widespread annoyance. Under the Directive, stores will be issued with a statutory temperature scale, under which a full range of beachwear must be available if the mean monthly temperature is in excess of 16C, and winter apparel must be stocked until the May Bank Holiday.