I read that Rochdale Borough Council has dropped plans to introduce a new local bylaw introducing fines of up to £1000 for swearing – yes, swearing – in its town centre after it was called out for trying to wield a “quite staggering abuse of power”.
Even the local police gently pointed out to the good cooncillors that it was totally unenforceable and that they already have breach of the peace laws covering this kind of thing, thanks.
Bowed but not broken, the Burgermeisters von Rochdale have decided to press on with a law banning a whole wheen of grave misdemeanours including (deep breath) – loitering, playing loud music, revving car engines, drinking in the street, begging, parking anti-socially, collecting cash for charity, using a scooter or skateboard, or (stone these criminals!) riding a bicycle. The shame of it.
Far be it from me to suggest that Rochdale may have any more pressing issues than how blue the air is or kids on BMXs, but the problem with trying to introducing well-meaning but utterly insane laws to clamp down on the feckless is that it makes criminals of us all.
I have two words for that, I just don’t have £1000 to pay for saying them.