Magazine article The Spectator

Banned Wagon

Magazine article The Spectator

Banned Wagon

Article excerpt

ONLY three weeks into the new Parliament and already some of our legislators are off to a flying start. None more so than Bob Russell, Lib Dem MP for Colchester. As if anybody needed reminding that the Liberal Democratic party is no laissez-faire outfit of which Gladstone would have approved, the enthusiastic Russell has tabled no fewer than five early-day motions, two of which demonstrate a basic intolerance of the idea of freeborn Englishmen doing business with each other.

Target number one is the car-boot sale, that unlovely institution of modem times at which the nation's Dereks and Veras offload unwanted possessions, fresh from the boot of their Lada, to human magpies who live for their next bargain. Harmless, one might have thought, and, since such events are often held on behalf of charity, of considerable benefit to the community. But not according to Mr Russell. He wants car-boot sales subjected to the full force of consumer legislation. Those holding them would be obliged to take out insurance, to keep a daily register of names, addresses and vehicle-registration numbers available for inspection by officers of Her Majesty's Customs and Excise, trading standards, environmental health, the Benefits Agency and the police. …

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