I’m breaking from the normal strictly scientific topics to publicise a the new law being drafted by a Tory local Government in the Capital where it will soon be illegal to:

1. Lie down on the ground.

article 1198572 05A6E54C000005DC 768 634x519 300x245 So That’s What “Big Society” MeansPeople lying around on the floor has become a serious problem in the city

2. Give away, or allow anyone else to give away food or drink for free. (Unless for marketing purposes of course). This will force all of the companies who currently quietly give away old stock to put that food in the bin instead. It will also criminalise charities that run soup kitchens. Londoners prepare for an epidemic of NYC style dumpsterdiving.

dumpster diving 300x206 So That’s What “Big Society” Means

Dumpster-diving: the latest trend to hit the city

3.Be homeless. Homeless people are to be fined. Because that makes sense.

boris johnson yawning 220x300 So That’s What “Big Society” Means

Mayor of London, Borris Johnson

Makes you proud to be British.

On the plus side, these laws are totally impossible to enforce and you don’t need to be genius to see more loopholes than a tuna net but shh, nobody tell Boris.

NB: I feel I should make clear that this law will initially apply to an area little bigger than a cabbage patch. However, once these fundamentally foreign principles are written in to law, the legal precedent will be established and the boundaries will be a mere technicality.


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  • Tol

    This is about preventing long-term protest near Parliament. Very unlikely to be extended beyond Westminster as a result.

  • http://www.weightlossdietpills.org/ Eric

    ur missing the point im talking about current day prises u know inflation can change the prise of bread and cake right. it doesnt matter what happened in medieval ages dont u know supply and demand?

    i thought reddit was smarter do some research no offence

  • Stephanie

    This is not London but one of the 25/30 boroughs. Each council council can make by laws and this is one that they think is right. I do not think that any other will follow suit.

    There has been an erosion of civil liberties in Britain over the last few years but I don’t think you should jump on your high horse and say this is enabling a police state. There have been large and dynamic protests by students and also tax protesters that have shown we are in a free society

    The homeless law is actually being supported by some large charities that deal with the homeless. It is intended to stop behaviour that allows the homeless to side step their problems and not face up to problems they have.

    • Neurobonkers


      Please stop spamming my website with links to your credit card/loan shark website. I have allowed this post to respond to your comment but I have removed the link to your website.

      All future posts that include links to credit card sites will be blocked.

      Please give some evidence of your claim regarding charities supporting this bill.

  • rooo

    Worldwide demonstrations are going to be required to overthrow this increasingly dictatorial financial system.

    The politicians of the world need to be reminded that the real power does and always will reside with the people.

    This reminder may need to be very painful this time.

  • Bhavesh Thakur

    Would this have something to do with the London Olympics next year? Seems like other countries have tried similar techniques to keep any sign of poverty hidden, when hosting major sporting events.

    • Neurobonkers

      I certainly think so!

  • BDN

    Even though these bylaws are utterly bonkers they are not beimg implemented by Borris. The Mayor of London has no responsibility for what Westminster council are trying to do..

  • http://semi-sentient.com Brian Underwood

    I’m worried that this will lead to a downturn in awesome music videos:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oIFLtNYI3Ls (Radiohead’s “Just”)

  • David Menezes

    I’ve read about this proposed legislation and it’s utterly vile- basically reducing the homeless to the level of feral animals and vermin. Whatever size area it’s being applied to, whether or not it’s being set as a precedent for extending to other areas, or just to prettify the area of Westminster for the tourists, the royal wedding route, the M.P.s and ‘Christians’ attending the cathedrals, it is unacceptable to criminalise one of the most vulnerable sections of society and those who are helpoing them survive.
    A despicable and morally repugnant move. If it does go through and there’s any real attempt to police it I hope the courts are flooded with insupportable cases which show the self-important, self- serving, self-aggrandising people who proposed and supported this for what they really are.

    • David Menezes

      I was a little angry when I wrote that and went rather overboard with the adjective.

  • TungoWungo

    OK, wow that makes a lot of sense dhde.


  • Tory

    More national government/Big Society bashing.

    This is one council. Hardly national government policy.

    Or did we always blame New Labour when a Labour-dominated council made a dodgy decision in the last decade?

    I bet you won’t approve this comment.

    • Neurobonkers

      The worst part is that this bill was proposed by Labour Council in 2007. However, it was quashed by Labour peers. Let’s hope the Tories do the same.

      It would be harder to make jokes about what the Big Society is if it was ever explained in a way that made an ounce of economic sense.

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  • Jen

    This is so that scruffy commoners don’t clog up the pavements waiting for the wedding party, isn’t it? Hahaha…. 😀

  • liz

    Dumpster diving is already illegal. Theft through finding it’s called, I think. People have been arrested and fined for taking home stuff the supermarkets put in bins.

    • Neurobonkers

      You are correct Liz. However dumpster-diving is not currently a visible problem in England because shops are encouraged to give away unused goods to charities who collect and dispense of them on a daily basis. In the borough I live in it is actually technically illegal to put food waste in landfill and all domestic food waste must be separated and is collected for composting by the council.

      I was pretty sickened when I visited NYC last summer and saw how commonplace it was for homeless people to have to live off what they could find in bins.

  • Anonymous

    Please note the point of this bylaw – it is not intended to target the homeless rather than those protesting long-term in Paliament Square. In any case, this is a despicable law to pass.

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  • Agnes

    This is nothing new. In 1902, Jack London lived with homeless people in London and wrote a book about it called The People of the Abyss which you can read here: http://london.sonoma.edu/Writings/PeopleOfTheAbyss/
    Be sure to read the short author’s preface.
    Among other things, homeless people weren’t allowed to sleep on the streets at night so they sat up or walked around all night. Early the next day when parks were opened, they’d go into the parks and sleep on the ground. Later, non-homeless people would walk by and see the homeless sleeping on the ground and remark about how lazy they were – not knowing that the homeless had been up all night. The homeless could not always stay at the same shelter more than a night or so and were forced to walk miles the next day to get to the next shelter – thereby making it impossible to search for work. Many shelters had mandatory religious services and you couldn’t stay or eat unless you attended them. That also cut into the amount of time available during the day to find work – assuming there was any work to find. Here we are nearly 110 years later and things haven’t changed that much. Another similar book is Barbara Ehrenreich’s Nickle and Dimed in America written 100 years later in 2001 after Jack London’s book.

  • http://auntieimperial.blogspot.com Auntie Imperial

    Not hard to enforce under US law. Criminalization of the homeless is the “American way” while they build institutional shelters with the sociological ‘flavor’ (culture) of prisons, pandering to those who have the time to ‘line up’ for services without offering any job search facilities or facilities for the underemployed working homeless, who end up with the choice of quitting their job so they can line up at the appropriate time or going without the services.

    A couple of Items I’ve posted in the last year or so on the topic:

    Voices From The (Santa Cruz) Village: Controversy at the “Red Church” – Is The City Interfering With The Church’s Homeless Outreach Program“, and Here, a writeup on a protest that happened here last summer embedded in the daily news report I put online.

    The charge of contention is California Penal Code 647(e) which bascally says if you have no residence or shelter in the state, you are in violation because anyone: “…Who lodges in any building, structure, vehicle, or place, whether public or private, without the permission of the owner or person entitled to the possession or in control of it.” is in violation of the law.

    This State Code implies that it’s illegal to bed down anywhere in the state without domicile (a home) or a place to stay (lodging). Put simply… without housing, it’s apparently illegal to be “(any) place” in the state for any length of time (because one MUST sleep).

    It’s also apparently in violation of the US constitution which takes a dim view of restricting a person’s right to travel from state to state. The law hearkens back to the laws California made in the thirties to prevent ‘vagrants and vagabonds’ from migrating here, or more sinister still, the ‘Days of Slavery’ as a way of keeping freed or escaped saves from traversing the state.

  • Idris W

    I foresee mass lying-down protests.

  • Tom

    Please go and read the background documents at http://www3.westminster.gov.uk/committee/index.cfm?c_docs=General_Purposes/2011/22%20Feb%202011

    They will allow you to engage in a more informed discussion about the merits or otherwise of this proposed bye-law

  • aaaaaaargh

    you say new world order like it’s a bad thing.

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