Whatever it is, it should be stopped

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The Independent Online
What do you think of the new Sunday drinking and trading changes? We asked six members of the public for their comments ... Alice Treadgold, 24, quantity surveyor: "What do you mean, what do I think of the new Sunday drinking and trading regulations? This isn't one of those Jeremy Beadle things, is it, where I find my car has been crushed by a building falling on it and I am expected to say how funny it is? Or one of those pretend opinion samples done by people like Jonathan Dimbleby, when he says in Any Questions? "right let's have a totally undemocratic and unrepresentative show of hands just to see how people here feel about this, even though it is completely unscientific"? And you think to yourself: "Well, blimey, if it is totally undemocratic, and totally unrepresentative and completely unscientific, what on earth can be the point of having it ?" Is it one of those? Or is it some other kind?"

Margery Dawes, 39, animal rights protester: "Is this about the idea that John Major might agree to be hypnotised to see if he can remember some of the things he said he was going to do when he got elected? Well, I'm in two minds about this. On the one hand, it could be said to be a cruel process, involving suffering and humiliation for the Prime Minister, so of course I'm all in favour on that count, as perhaps he will realise what it's like to be locked up in a small space all your life, unable to movefor fear of losing your majority. On the other hand, I'm worried that under hypnosis John Major will remember some other terrible things he said he was going to do."

Stanley Blade, 37, teacher: "Is this one of those vox pop things? Well, I think it's rather sweet in a way that we still call them vox pop, which is of course short for vox populi, and what I think is sweet about that is that people are still speaking Latin without realising it. I can tell you from experience in my own classes that not one person in 100 knows that vox populi is Latin for `voice of the people' - in fact I can tell you that not 1 in 10 knows what Latin is - so it's rather nice that we still go on saying status quo and curriculum vitae and sine qua non without thinking twice, and yet if we burst into any other ancient language - Hebrew, maybe, or Welsh - we could be banned from the pub.

"No, I have no opinion on changes to the Sunday drink laws."

The Rev Simon Anstruther, 43, clergyman: "Well, Sunday is my big day of business anyway, and I am open off and on most of the day. Turnover in wine is constant, but very small. Business used to be pretty good till they opened all the supermarkets locally. However, in the spirit of the Tory government, we have decided to hit back and we have now cut the word `church' out of our trade description and turned ourselves into a Do-It-Yourself Soulcare Centre, with the slogan: `If you've Got a Soul, Drop In for a Free Glass of Wine and Free Advice on Maintenance!' Business, I have to say, is booming. We've actually had a takeover bid from Sainsbury's."

Jim "Handyman" Perkins, 32, bank robber on the run: "Blimey, you gave me a shock. I thought you was the law. Struth! You'll never know how close you came to being plugged then. Sorry, what was that about? Sunday? Well, I'll tell you the truth about me and Sunday. I get worried sick over this slogan: `Sunday wouldn't be Sunday without the Sunday Times'. I have often pondered on that as I have reclined in my cell and I have wondered what real meaning it can possible have? Does it mean that Sundays weren'tproper Sundays before the paper was born? Does it mean that they don't have Sunday in countries where you can't buy the Sunday Times? Does it mean that you can't be saved if you don't believe in Rupert Murdoch? Does it ... Oh no! Here comes the law! Must go!"

Tim Braintree, 57, Tory MP: "I am absolutely disgusted. I think it's scandalous. I think it should be stopped now ... I'm sorry? What do I think is scandalous? Well, anything you like, really. That's my job, as a backbench Tory MP. I wait to be rung up by the media and asked my opinion on something, and then I say how very very shocked I am, and then the headlines appear saying: "Tory MPs In New Storm", and I get my cheque in due course.

"What? No cheque? Oh, that's disgusting. I think that is scandalous. No, I think that should be stopped ..."