The British are nothing if not inventive. Faced with the tax-in-all-but-name that is the licence fee, some of the excuses devised by people around the country – released today by TV Licensing to discourage evasion – are hilarious.
They range from the person in Belfast who thought his dog was related to one of the Queen’s corgis (thus granting him exemption), to one in Dundee who said their television’s glow was a reading rather than viewing aid.
Naturally there is a serious subtext to all this. Evasion costs the BBC £190m a year, at a time when budgets are tight and getting tighter. But in exhibiting the national genius for self-deception, this saga admirably proves that the-cat-ate-my-homework school of thought is not the preserve of British children alone. And silly adults have their place of course: after all, that’s what BBC3 is for.