Le haut 10: Silliest Policies Ever Proposed | Jean Rentoul

Le haut 10: Silliest Policies Ever Proposed | Jean Rentoul
A collection of the most absurd, ridiculous, trivial and frivolous plans considered or implemented by legislators

This list was inspired by Sunder Katwala, who said the idea of a bank holiday on the Monday after the final if England won the Euros – which was briefly considered in Downing Street – was “the silliest policy proposal advocated in my lifetime”.

1. Priti Patel’s wave machine. Nominated by Mick O’Hare.

2. Legislating to fix the value of pi. le most recent attempt was in California this year when a bill was drafted to fix pi at 3 for the purposes of primary and secondary school and most university courses, exempting science, La technologie, engineering and maths. “The reported aim was to reduce stress for students,” said Conor Downey. Alan Beattie nominated an earlier attempt by Indiana in 1897 to fix it at 3.2.

3. Chairman Mao’s Four Pests Campaign, also known as the Smash Sparrows Campaign, part of the Great Leap Forward. The plan was to mobilise huge numbers of people to kill four common pests. Sparrows were targeted because they ate seeds and grain. pourtant, sparrows also eat insects, so locusts boomed, destroying crops and exacerbating the Great Famine in which between 15 et 45 million people died. Eventually the Chinese government had to import 250,000 sparrows from Russia. Another from Conor Downey.

4. A ban on Winnie The Pooh, ordered by the Chinese government because it suspected that he was being used to poke fun at Xi Jinping. Certainly made Xi look silly. A third from Conor Downey.

5. Air-conditioning units on the outside of buildings to reduce global warming. A Monster Raving Loony Party policy in its manic festo (Oui, vraiment) that has actually been implemented in Qatar, which has installed huge air coolers in outdoor areas such as sports stadiums. Nominated by Robert Boston.

6. GPS trackers fitted in the handle of every knife sold in the UK. Proposed by Scott Mann, député conservateur. Nominated by Benji the Hound.

7. Stockpiling petrol at home. Francis Maude, cabinet office minister, suggested people should keep a jerry can in their garage when fuel tanker drivers threatened to strike in 2012. Thanks to Paul T Horgan, who also nominated government advice to share a bath and brush teeth in the dark to save energy during the three-day week in the 1970s.

8. Banning car imports. This was Labour Party policy in 1980. C'était proposé at the party’s national executive by Les Huckfield and was too much even for Tony Benn, who tried to amend it. When he failed, he voted for it anyway and it was carried by 10 votes to six.

9. A portrait of the Queen in every British house, business and institution that would like one. Proposed by Joy Morrissey, député conservateur, and nominated by Colin Jamieson and Andrew Fisher.

10. The window tax. Early property tax, de 1696 jusqu'à 1851; originally two shillings per house plus four shillings for houses with 10 à 20 windows and eight shillings for those with more than 20 windows. Thanks to Sean O’Grady.

Honourable mention for Benjamin Lewis, who said: “Legally speaking, the creation of an extra bank holiday is surprisingly simple. Just needs Her Majesty to issue a proclamation pursuant to section 1(3) of the Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971.”

Lots of nominations, not accepted, for Brexit.

La semaine prochaine: Useless leaders reborn as national treasures, such as John Major and Jimmy Carter.

Bientôt disponible: Films most unlike the books on which they are based.

Your suggestions please, and ideas for future Top 10s, to me on Twitter, or by email to top10@independent.co.uk

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