I’ve gotten out of the habit of reading Clarkson’s columns. Dunno why, but it might be something to do with the fact that I don’t normally have all day Sunday1 to sit reading the entire of the Sunday Times, but that’s not important right now…
However, sometimes I end up reading Clarkson. And this week, I’m mighty glad that I did.
As we know, one man once got on one plane in a pair of exploding hiking boots and as a result everyone else in the entire world is now forced to strip naked at airports and hand over their toiletries to a man in a high-visibility jacket.
In other words, the behaviour of one man has skewed the concept of everyday life for everyone else. And we are seeing this all the time.
What good did all the airport legislation achieve? None. It simply means that you and I now must get to the airport six years before the plane is due to leave and arrive at the other end with yellow teeth, smelly armpits and no nail file. Did it prevent a chap from getting on board with exploding underpants? No, it did not.
Happily, however, I have a solution to the problem, a way that normal human behaviour can be preserved. It’s simple. We must start to accept that 5% of the population at any given time is bonkers. There are no steps to be taken to stamp this out and no lessons to be learnt when a man with a beard boards a plane with an exploding dog.
Government officials who are questioned on the steps of coroner’s courts must be reminded of this before they speak. So that instead of saying the current law is “not fit for purpose” and that something must be done, they familiarise themselves with an expression that sums up the situation rather better: “Shit happens.”
That’s actually the most sensible thing that politicians should learn. Instead of always saying that something must be done, just accept that no set of laws will ever protect everyone from everything. No system is perfect, and spending time chasing that zero will just leave people with a massive burden of regulation, an illusion of safety and absolutely no sense of self.
Instead of making new stupid rules, just use the existing ones to deal with the actual risk and see how they go. It’s the only way of stopping the entire system from falling over; too many laws will just make it impossible for people to actually obey them, after all…
1 – Most recent random Sunday strangeness: walking along the south bank of the Thames, TLF, A N Other and I nearly walked over David Cameron and family. Which was a bit unexpected.
I thought that it was a particularly good column.
‘Twas a good column, aye.
You say you nearly walked over Cameron. What happened? Why did you miss?
I didn’t miss. I mainly didn’t notice him until the opportunity for a carefully crafted (and entirely deniable collision) was gone.
Damn your modesty, sir. The cheer it would have given the country to have desmuggified his face would have been worth your embarrassment at the mob’s hearty praise.