UK roundup

Sainsbury’s, the British grocery chain, says it will have to go back on a plan to sell Christmas puddings with “lucky sixpences” inside because of health and safety regs under which they are regarded as a choking hazard; instead it will attach the coins to “collectors’ cards” and suggest that customers place them under the plate or placemat of a lucky family member. “[G]ood luck charms have been added to Christmas puddings for more than 500 years.” (David Derbyshire, “Unlucky sixpences miss out on Christmas”, Daily Telegraph, Oct. 18). For an analogous U.S. story involving the New Orleans specialty, “king cake”, see Feb. 1-3, 2002. The police force in Derbyshire, England, has tested its dogs to see whether their barking is in compliance with the Control of Noise at Work Regulations being introduced next April; the canines’ level of noisiness barely passed muster under the new standard, and modifications such as earplugs for police may needed when use of the dogs in anti-crime work combines with another source of noise such as that of a crowd. (Nick Britten, “Police take the lead on barking regulations”, Daily Telegraph, Oct. 27). For more on British and EU noise regulations, see Nov. 10, 2005 (kids’ playing); Sept. 2, 2005 (Army tanks); Jan. 12, 2004 (orchestras); Mar. 8-10, 2002 (bagpipes); Dec. 22-25, 2000 (military brass bands and gunfire during infantry training). In Worcester, England, teenager Natasha Hughes, who is accused of grievous bodily harm directed at another woman and was charged with violating her bail conditions, will not have to wear an electronic monitoring anklet after she successfully argued that the device violated her fashion sense and looked bad with skirts. (Nick Britten, “You can’t tag me. . . I like to wear skirts”, Daily Telegraph, Nov. 11). For a similar argument made in this country, see Dec. 4, 2000 (exotic dancer). And the following exchange was heard on the floor of the House of Lords this Wednesday:

Lord Mackenzie of Framwellgate: My Lords, is my noble and learned friend aware of the case that I read about recently in which there were three main suspects for a crime: a rich lawyer, a poor lawyer and a tooth fairy? Needless to say, the rich lawyer was arrested because the other two were figments of the imagination.

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: My Lords, it does the House no credit to do anti-lawyer jokes.

(Hansard, Nov. 16). Reader Bob Clarke, of Birmingham, U.K. who called this exchange to our attention, writes: “I don’t think that my learned Lord should drop his day job and start being a stand-up comedian. He made the same joke in 2000“.

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