It’s a common theme, among fans of trivia, to laugh at some of the more ridiculous laws out there; the laws in certain states of the US not allowing you to hang male and female underwear on the same washing line, for example, or the various bits of England where it’s perfectly legal to kill Scots/Welsh under certain rare criteria.
Which is why I found myself reading a BBC article on just that topic. But look carefully, and you’ll see something strange.
There are various laws there that are shockingly stupid to modern eyes, yet must have made sense at the time they were enacted. The one about people not being allowed to die at Westminister, for example, was merely an extension of the established legal precedent that commoners couldn’t be recognised as dying in a royal palace. The ones about shooting Scots were carry overs from harsh disarmaments following uprisings. The eating of mince pies on Christmas day was made illegal because Cromwell wanted to … well, because Cromwell was a nut, to be honest, but I’m sure he had a better explanation.
Yet, in the middle, there’s a law that’s only been on the books for a couple of years, and makes no less sense now than it did when enacted; it’s a fucking stupid idea from start to finish.
It is illegal not to tell the tax man anything you do not want him to know, but legal not to tell him information you do not mind him knowing
Enacted a couple of budgets ago, IIRC. And very muddleous, I think; all you have to do is think that you should tell the revenoo about your massive tax liability, and suddenly you don’t have to. However, if you don’t want to tell him about that gift of a £51 watch on retirement, then you’re legally obliged to.
Fucked up much? Not by the standards of recent governments, no.