When picking up some books from the library recently I was intrigued with I Fought The Law by Dan Kieran. The book describes itself as Dan attempting to spend a year trying to break as many stupid old laws as he could find, for your amusement. As examples of some of the silly laws that the UK still has, it highlights how it is still illegal to beat a carpet in the Metropolitan Police District, to take possession of a beached whale or to get within a hundred yards of the Queen without wearing socks.
My problem is that the book doesn’t deliver on this promise. Instead Dan begins to focus on the issue of ‘Freedom of Speech’ and whilst the ideas he has are things I would agree with – for example the banning of protests on the green by the Houses of Parliament – the book just seems to become a slow exploration of this law.
The concept for the book is a good one, but at 336 pages it is too long. It just becomes a series of stories around the theme of “ooh look at me, I might get arrested!” which doesn’t really get to the bottom of why the laws are still in existence or what could be done to change them.
The book was written in 2007 under the “New” Labour government, it would be interesting to read an essay on how he feels the situation has changed since the 2010 election with the coalition of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats in power.