Tag Archives: britain

Regulation of the Day 169: Singing “Kung-Fu Fighting”

A British man was arrested for singing the 1970s hit “Kung-Fu Fighting”. Simon Ledger and his band were performing the song at a bar on the Isle of Wight. An asian audience member found the song offensive. Rather than tell the band, or take his business to a different establishment, he went to the police, claiming racial abuse. Racism is a punishable crime in Britain.

Police found the singer and arrested him later that night, appropriately enough, at a Chinese restaurant.

Regulation of the Day 138: Dwile Flonking

Britons sure do seem to have a lot of time on their hands. Take, for example, the colorfully-named pastime of dwile flonking. Players soak a rag in beer and put it on top of a pole. Then they use the pole to hurl the rag at other players.

A player who misses twice in a row is called a “flonker.” Flonkers are required to drink a beer before the opposing team can pass the errant rag all the way around him in a circle.

This year’s dwile flonking world championship was to be held in Norfolk. Then regulators got involved. As one can tell by the rules, dwile flonking is a drinking game. And drinking games are forbidden now. Legislation passed earlier this year banning them.

The American journalist H.L. Mencken defined Puritanism as “The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.” He may as well have been talking about regulators.

And thanks to the new Puritanism, we may never know who the world’s top dwile flonkers are.

Regulation of the Day 115: Pancake Races

Pancake races are a Lenten tradition that date as far back as the 15th century. Contestants navigate a course as quickly as they can while holding a frying pan and flipping a delicious pancake a certain number of times.

The races are most popular in Britain. But other countries hold them, too. For over fifty years, the town of Liberal, Kansas has competed against Olney in England by setting up standardized courses in each town and comparing racing times. The Americans, despite being relatively new to the sport, actually have the all-time edge on the Brits, 33-25.

The secret to winning is to cross the finish line before your opponents do. That usually means running. The problem is that sometimes, running violates British health and safety regulations.

An official warned the racers before the St. Albans pancake race:

“Due to the wet weather conditions and health and safety regulations, in this year’s race, there will be no running allowed. Only walking is permitted. Any team that runs will be disqualified.

“It is a genuine health and safety concern. People fall over in the dry, they will certainly fall over in the wet.”

Three teams defied orders and pursued excellence as fast as they could. They were disqualified.

(Hat tip: Jonathan Moore)

Regulation of the Day 97: Full Body Scans and Child Protection Laws

Sometimes, when two regulations love each other very much, they get together and have little baby regulations. This is happening right now in Britain.

Full body scans are coming into use at many UK airport security checkpoints. Since screeners essentially see all passengers naked, the scans run afoul of child protection laws for passengers under 18.

The thought of pedophiles using the body scan images for their own sick ends is decidedly creepy. So the British government is taking steps to keep that from happening. Those steps include:

-Exempting everyone under 18 from being scanned. This defeats the security purpose of the scanners.

-Moving the scanner operators out of sight of passengers. That keeps the scanner images anonymous. But it doesn’t prevent perverts from seeing things they shouldn’t.

There is an easier way: don’t do full body scans. They do more to make people feel safe than to actually make them safe.

Reinforced cockpit doors, proactive passengers, and checked baggage screening are much more effective. And they’re already in place. Besides, terrorist attacks are rare. Full-body scans are an over-reaction. The resources spent on them have other, better uses.