Friday, 26 December 2008

Christmas is cancelled

I just found this on the Adam Smith Institute website, it's a explanation of all the laws Father Christmas would have to comply with in order to work, here's some extracts:
"Claus, of course, is just an alias. He's really Saint Nicholas, Bishop of Myra, on the southern cost of Turkey. The EU (foolishly) isn't admitting Turkey to the Union, so Claus needs a visa and a work permit to run his Christmas delivery service in the UK.


Claus would have to be vetted by the Criminal Records Bureau in order to work with young people. Since that can take up to three months, he's way too late for this year anyway.... And if the elves are paid, then they need to be registered under Pay as You Earn, and Claus would have to sign them on to the new Personal Accounts pension scheme and make sure that the right amount of National Insurance was paid, so he'd need a good accountant.

Because he drops presents (and himself) down chimneys, he is covered by the Working at Heights regulations. He would need training on how to use a ladder, or would have to hire a cherry-picker (with professionally qualified operator) or erect scaffolding. This might require road closures for health and safety reasons.

The fact that Claus uses reindeer to draw his sleigh would of course bring him under animal welfare regulations. The sleigh itself must qualify as an aircraft, and as such has to be licensed by and have a certificate of airworthiness from the Civil Aviation Authority. If the presents that Claus drops off have their origin outside he EU – Lapland, say – then VAT and customs forms have to be filled out, and some tariff duties may be payable."

I hope that even Gordon Brown and Peter Mandelson get the point of the Adam Smith's satire, not that they would ever act on it.

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