Lazy, lazy legislation

I tried to join a gym yesterday, but my body refused – it said that it just couldn’t be bothered, and that a KitKat in the cafe next door was much more appealing.  (And I ask you, can you really imagine me shopping in a place called Sweaty Betty?  Can you get vintage gym gear from the 1950s?  Precisely.)  Thankfully, although my body is very lazy, my mind is not – and I am therefore unreasonably intolerant of mental laziness in others.

On the radio yesterday, we had the frankly ludicrous story about Royal Mail warning its posties not to accept Christmas gifts or cash worth more than £30 in order not to run the risk of being prosecuted under the Bribery Act 2010.  Are they really saying that it would cost me only £31 to persuade my local sorting office to make deliveries before it gets dark?  Money well spent, I should say.  And do people really give their posties such generous gifts?

But the really irritating aspect of this story is the sloppy, lazy and cowardly way in which the Royal Mail has used the Bribery Act to introduce a guideline that probably should have been there already.  For years the more craven regulated institutions have excused their unbending customer due diligence rules on the basis that “it’s the anti-money laundering law – we have no choice”.  Complete and utter poppycock.  The Money Laundering Regulations, like the Bribery Act, are peppered with the words “appropriate” and “proportionate”, giving ample leeway to individual institutions to make informed, risk-based decisions.  But that’s too much like hard work, so blame the legislation – which is exactly what the Royal Mail has done here.  If only all their communications were delivered as promptly.

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