Some laws make no sense. In countries like the UK that have been around forever, some of the more archaic laws are the most absurd. It is illegal to handle a salmon in “suspicious circumstances.” Just what constitutes a suspicious circumstance is open for interpretation. One law, though, is clear. You can’t wear armor in the Parliament.
One man broke many of the odd laws, all in the name of journalism. Oobah Butler chronicled his journey for Vice. So how far can he go before he gets arrested?
Handling the salmon is not enough. All he got was some odd looks. Even when he took it on the Tube.
“Where better to break laws than the land of laws? Having been illegal since the 1313 Forbidding Bearing of Armour, this is without a doubt the most longstanding law on my list,” Butler writes.
The statute he is referencing reads: “In all Parliaments, and other Assemblies, which should be made in the Realm of England, that every Man shall come without all Force and Armour, well and peaceably, to the Honour of Us, and the Peace of Us and our Realm.”
He continues. “Heading past security, every single one of the nine police officers on the door takes me aside for questioning. I make up a fictitious stag-do, and a few suspiciously ask, ‘Why are there only two of you?'”
“I don’t know if you’ve been frisked by the police in a suit of armour before, but they like to go really deep under your chest plate. I’m actually asked twice whether I have a sword. What do they think I am, stupid? After 30 minutes of questioning, longer than I spent getting into the United States last month, I’m in!”
“It dawns on me that I’m the first person in over 700 years to wear a suit of armour in the Houses of Parliament – and that, had I done this about 150 years ago, my head would probably be rolling along the floor by now.”
“Which is the lesson here: things can change. While all these laws remain in place, no one enforces them because they’re ludicrous. Let’s just hope that, in 50 years, we’ve got past the current nastiness of British politics in a similar way.”