The Law and You

  • Disclaimer: I’m not a real lawyer. But based on this article, I don’t think you’d hire me if I were.
Some credit cards, in a pocket, near my bottom

‘SIMON CARTER! We want to offer you a credit card!’ said my new friends at cashblam.com.

My name on a lovely glossy leaflet. And for two seconds I felt special. Cashblam had personalised the leaflet, and the envelope they’d put it in, just for me. They’d made a real effort to make me feel like I was wanted, needed even, like I wasn’t just another anonymous ‘occupier.’

But then, somewhere in the distance, I heard the camel’s back breaking under the metaphorical straw. And why? Because cashblam thought I was gullible enough to buy this. They’d gone too far. They’d crossed the line with their flirting, their wooing, their insincere sweet nothings. I was just another name on a mailing list. They didn’t really mean it. How dare they?

It wasn’t just cashblam. At least eight other suitors had come calling through the post that month, trying to seduce me with their promises of riches and low APRs, like I was easy, like the word had got around that I was some kind of credit floozy.

‘If there’s one thing worse than a lawyer,’ I told my wife, Jane, ‘it’s someone who thinks he’s a lawyer – in this case, me.’

A famous statue, holding some scales, for some reason

I worked in data protection and I knew my rights. I’d stop these people sending me stuff. Oh yes.

‘I’ll force cashblam to explain where they got my details from,’ I chuntered. ‘I’ll report them, get them fined by the regulator. By the mighty beard of Odin, these contemptible rapscallions shall know my wrath.’

Jane did one of those smiles she does when she’s no idea what I’m talking about, and thinks I may need a lie down. I blustered some more.

‘They have to use my information lawfully. Damn it … I’m entitled.’

And, to be fair, under the the UK Data Protection Act 2018 and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), I was. Intending to write cashblam a pompous letter about this outrageous violation of my privacy, I gave up my personal details to someone I don’t know on Facebook so I could take a quiz about what kind of cat I am instead. (*1)

It came to me in a flash. Moaning about misuse of my data was too lame when a) the Russians had already stolen it from Facebook and b) I could prosecute cashblam for making me distressed or anxious instead – an offence under the UK Malicious Communications Act 1988. It’s true. If you send a person a communication which is obscene, threatening, or contains a known lie, you’re breaking the law if it upsets them. But – blast it! Cashblam hadn’t sent me anything obscene (apart from the APR quote). They hadn’t threatened me or lied to me. They were off the hook!

It was clear I couldn’t put my expert legal knowledge to any use. Meanwhile, on Twitter, I saw a man from Dundee in a big fluffy dog outfit. He was angrily waving a placard outside his local council building, protesting against a fine imposed on him for not clearing up after his Schnauzer.

‘How could I have scooped it?’ claimed the man. ‘My dog ran into the bushes and I didn’t know he’d done it.’

‘I’d leave it a few minutes if I were you’

Naturally, I made a beeline for the Dog Fouling (Scotland) Act 2003, hatching a plan to defend the fella in court. But then, as I read it, I realised to my horror that not being aware your dog has pooped is not an excuse for failing to clear it up in Scottish law. Clearly the inference is that you’re meant to tell by the goofy expression on Mr Waggly’s face, or just use telepathy. So Dundee pooch-boy was bang to rights.

Then Jane passed me the rest of the post. All the bills had come in and I didn’t want to pay up. If only there was some way I could get around this. Perhaps there was a loophole in the law! I set out about looking immediately.

This brings me to the here and now. Jane tells me she loves me but is worried I’m a badger. According to the law, specifically the UK Protection of Badgers Act 1992, I’m a nocturnal black and white stripy creature belonging to the weasel family. It’s true. And you can be one too. All you have to do is display a sign on your house which says ‘this structure or place is in current use by a badger’ and your house becomes a badger sett by law. This means you’re a badger simply by living there and aren’t liable for the bills because only people have to pay bills and not badgers.

Minky, in our loft, last week

Okay, there may be a flaw in this logic. You can’t call your house a badger sett if you’re not a badger in the first place. But I’ve got around this by abducting a real badger. And because Minky’s a real badger, Jane and I legally live in a sett and that makes us badgers too. Shut up. It does.

Trouble is, we’re only badgers while we remain in the house, so we can never leave it. Ever.

Epilogue

The police are waiting for me to come outside so they can arrest me for badger abduction. I’ve drawn the curtains so the snipers can’t get a shot and farmers can’t cull me. They’ve sent round officers disguised as Fresh and Tasty food deliverers to try to lure me out, but I’ll not fall for it. I know that as soon as I’m outside I’m legally a person again and they can do what they like with me. I’m insisting all food delivery is flung through the window apart from pizza. I’ve sawn off the bottom bit of the front door so they can slide the boxes through without me having to open up.

Jane perseveres with things but misses running water and floorboards. When I dig holes in the basement, ever deeper, she gives me one of her nervous smiles. It’s my plan to complete a network of secret underground tunnels by the end of 2025, just with my bare hands. My employers plan to sack me.

The place is chock full of badger poo and Minky’s just eaten the budgie.

I need to pay my legal bills so I’ve taken out a credit card with cashblam.

(*1) = I’m an Exotic Shorthair.

copyright (c) carterbloke 2019-2020

Photo credits

The following photos used under Creative Commons licence.

Other photo c/o pexels.com

Leave a Comment

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s