You have it so you were going to commit a crime with it.

Many years ago I had a butterfly knife in my fishing tackle box. If you don’t know the style, its handle is in two parts, both hinged at the blade so the handle folds over both edges of the blade. I was quite adept at flicking it open, using it and flicking it closed again. Since you held both halves of the handle when it was open it could not close on your fingers in use.

I had that style because I could open and close it one-handed while trying to deal with a line or a fish with the other hand, and because when folded, it was safe to delve your hand into the fishing box without looking.

Then they were made illegal and I couldn’t use it any more. Instead I had a lock-knife. This had a little lump on the side of the blade so you could pop it open with one hand and it would lock open. No danger of it folding on your fingers. Not as handy as the butterfly because you needed two hands to close it again (liner lock – you have to press down a spring on the back while folding the blade) but nonetheless safer than either a fixed blade or a folding non-locking one.

Then they banned those too.

I have never stabbed or cut anyone or even threatened them with a knife, yet now all I am allowed is an unsafe folding knife. I don’t think any fixed-blade knife is legal outside the home but they wouldn’t be safe in a fishing box anyway. They can slip out of the sheath when the box is moved. The non-locking folding one is safe in the box but not safe in use because it can fold onto fingers, especially those slimy from handling fish – and it needs both hands to open it.

The only knife you can carry in public in the UK is a non-locking folding penknife with a blade less than 3 inches (7.5cm) in length. Anything else and you will have to prove to a court that you had a damn good reason to have it. This applies even if you had it out of sight and didn’t even show anyone – if you are stopped and searched and it is found, you’re arrested and charged.

In the seventies, after a camping trip, I got off the train in Cardiff with an eight-inch camping knife on my belt and went shopping. Nobody even noticed. Now they’d have helicopters and armed police surrounding me. I wouldn’t have to do anything, wouldn’t even have to touch the handle of the knife. Mere possession is a crime now.

Oh, and I bought that camping knife, alone, in a shop, when I was 15. Try that now, all you teen warriors demanding ever tighter controls on your lives. By the time you get to my age you’ll need to be over 30 and have three forms of ID to buy a paper clip.

Let me reiterate. It is illegal in the UK, and has been for some time, to be in possession in public of anything bigger than a folding three-inch knife. Anything else and you need to have a good reason to be carrying it.

Do we really need more laws than that?

Well we’re going to get them.


National figures show police in England and Wales recorded a rise of a fifth in knife and gun crime in the year to September.

Right. So the answer to people committing illegal acts using things that are already illegal is not to enforce those laws, but to make new ones that make more things illegal.

I notice there is no mention in the article of a clampdown on guns. Oh wait, those are already illegal. Criminals don’t care about laws though. What to do, eh? Well, there are a lot of Americans who think gun control will end shootings, including one I came across on Twitter who describes herself in her bio as ‘open minded’ and has a banner saying ‘The NRA are a terrorist organisation’.

Actually, more vegan animal rights activists (1) than NRA members (0) have gone on shooting sprees lately so as terrorist organisations go, I’d say the NRA really haven’t got the hang of it at all.

Back to the knives. The plan is to make even more forms of knives illegal, and to make buying them online as near to impossible as they can make it. Well. That’ll have no effect at all on street stabbings.

If the stabber is over 18 they can get a knife in a local shop. If the stabber is under 18 they will simply take one from their parents’ kitchen. Making them harder to buy will do nothing at all.

You cannot buy a handgun legally in the UK but criminals seem to have no problem getting them anyway. Knives? You can make one in your shed with a hammer, file, whetstone and a piece of fencing steel! You could even make one from oak or hickory. Yeah, it won’t work for long but it doesn’t need to, does it? Actually I won’t go into any more detail on that one because it has details I don’t want to hand out to any Mr. Stabbys out there.

The problem is not knives. Especially since carrying anything bigger than a whittling penknife in public is already illegal. The problem is people stabbing each other. Nobody in Government wants to address that. Oh, we know why but they made it illegal to say it.

Soon it will be illegal to be in possession of a set of kitchen knives in public and impossible to buy them online and have them posted to you. So, if you need kitchen knives, how are you going to get them home?

I have bought whisky online. I once bought a log splitter online. The delivery courier had to check I was of legal age to have them before handing them over. If there is nobody of legal age to sign for them then they won’t deliver. So, under-18s buying knives online can only get them if an adult signs for the delivery. That’s law now. They cannot ‘sneakily order them’ because the delivery agent won’t hand them over to the kid.

It’s the same as the argument that tobacco companies ‘market to children’. It’s as ridiculous as claiming Danish Bacon ‘markets to Jews’. Why would you ‘market’ a product to a group who are not allowed to buy it?

Likewise, it does not matter how hard you market your range of bladed items, scissors or dressmaking pins to those under 18. They are not allowed to buy them. Yes, I said dressmaking pins and scissors. You can get married at 16 in this country but you can’t buy anything sharp until you are 18 so you’ll have a married life with only plastic knives and forks for your first two years and can’t hang any pictures because you can’t buy nails.

This is not ‘where we are going’. This is where we are. Now. Today. And an allegedly Conservative government under the daftest woman ever put in charge of anything is about to make it worse.

There has been a lot of talk about Corbyn’s mob of hate-filled harpies (I’ve met a few and yes, they are) and how the Labour party needs to sort itself out. The damn Tories need a purge too. They are, really, no better. Criminalising people who want to buy a bread knife online? Stating that anyone in possession of acid in public is committing a crime? What the hell do they think is in a car battery? What do they think the chemical definition of vinegar is? Are they going to arrest anyone in possession of a lemon?

Ludicrous? Of course it is. It all is. We have a ludicrous government and a ludicrous opposition. What else can you expect from them?

If someone wants to buy a bottle of sulphuric acid, that should raise a red flag. They might want it for a legitimate purpose of course, in which case they won’t mind providing ID and having the sale recorded. I have no problem giving my name and address and proving who I am when I buy a scythe blade or any of the viciously sharp items in my tool room. I really wouldn’t be happy with a random lunatic having access to those things.

If I buy dangerous chemicals or bacteria for the lab I have to prove I have a lab capable of containing them and that I am a legitimate scientist with the knowledge to safely handle these things. That is as it should be – I can, and have, bought live cultures of some seriously dangerous bacteria in the past. That should not be available to some spotty teen who wanders in off the street. Okay, they’d probably kill themselves before they killed anyone else but even so… do you want to ban all research into intestinal disease becasue the causative agents are dangerous? I bet there are some who do, you know.

The law will just say ‘acid’. Leaving a chip shop with vinegar on your chips? You are in possession of an acid in a public place.  The law they propose will get you arrested for that.

Would the police be so petty? Hahahaha! They recently revealed on Twitter the ‘weapons’ they found in a sweep in London. A butter knife, a rubber mallet and a garden fork. Derisory. No guns, machetes, Samurai swords (why is it always Samurai swords? I find the short double-edged sword much easier to handle). Not even a big camping knife. Nothing that wouldn’t be laughed at by the man in the street but would be taken very seriously by a dusty judge in one of our zombified courts.

So, imagining they are only looking for 20-molar and above concentrated and actually corrosive acids is not being real. They will arrest you for having cranberry juice. Incidentally, if you don’t know what I mean by ‘molar’, please don’t lecture me on acids.

It’s not just acids that are corrosive. Better not hand out blatant clues but getting past the ‘acid’ part and still having something deadly is not actually a problem for those of us who had a genuine education.

Finally, a lot of legitimate businesses are about to bite the dust. I bought a lot of great stuff here in the past – including the heavy hat in the top banner – and I’ll order something – anything – in the next few days to give them a little boost before the government shuts them down. They have never been linked to any crime, ever. Their only ‘crime’ is selling sharp things. Like these guys and a lot of other innocent businesses too.

Once they ban all blades online, of course, nothing will change in the World of Stabby so they’ll ban the sale of knives in the high street too. Think they won’t? Then you have not been paying attention to how this works.

I already have a peening hammer, plain hammer, files, whetstones, oilstones and a grinder in my tool room. If you don’t, then get those things now before they are banned too.

It’ll be the only way to make something to cut your tofu when you grow up, kids.

Oh, and if they still have metalwork classes in schools, take that class and pay close attention. You’re going to need it.

Better wake up in chemistry class too, if that even still exists. You might need that one.

29 thoughts on “You have it so you were going to commit a crime with it.

  1. In your previous life, you wandered around pushing a janitorial trolley loaded with a veritable arsenal of chemical-weapons precursors.

    And no one batted an eyelid.

    But they would have done, had your ‘accidentally’ mixed your bog cleaners with evil intent. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I read a while back (sorry, cannot find reference) that after a spate of stabbings long ago a magistrate in (I think) Glasgow warned publicly that the next person to come before him on a charge of carrying a knife would be sentenced with maximal severity. He kept his word: the next man got ten years (without the modern discount and Green Shield stamps); and that was the end of knife crime in his area until the magistrate retired.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I don’t see why they need new law. Offences Against the Person Act 1861 seems to have it covered.
    “29 Causing gunpowder to explode, or sending to any person an explosive substance, or throwing corrosive fluid on a person, with intent to do grievous bodily harm.
    Whosoever shall unlawfully and maliciously cause any gunpowder or other explosive substance to explode, or send or deliver to or cause to be taken or received by any person any explosive substance or any other dangerous or noxious thing, or put or lay at any place, or cast or throw at or upon or otherwise apply to any person, any corrosive fluid or any destructive or explosive substance, with intent in any of the cases aforesaid to burn, maim, disfigure, or disable any person, or to do some grievous bodily harm to any person, shall, whether any bodily injury be effected or not, be guilty of felony, and being convicted thereof shall be liable, at the discretion of the court, to be kept in penal servitude for life . . or to be imprisoned . . .”


    • Absolutely spot on, Sexton. It’s one of my biggest beefs against all recent Governments that whenever a problem crops up – whether real or fabricated – their immediate reaction is that we need a “new law” to deal with it. The idea that no law – new or old – is worth the paper it’s written on if it can’t be or won’t be applied appropriately just doesn’t seem to have occurred to them which, more than anything else, shows a disgraceful lack of awareness of the very laws that they and their predecessors in Parliament put together and approved! There’s always a lot of bleating from the police about cuts and staff shortages and stress and overload, and I don’t doubt that much of it is true (although one can’t rule out the possibility of opportunistic bandwagon-jumping by some), but they never, ever, then go on to make the connection that what those problems mean in essence are that no law – whether it’s an old one which has been around for over a century or a sparkly, new-fangled one – will ever be enforced effectively as a result.


  4. And. “A person who is caught carrying a container of acid with the intention of using it, would be charged with Possession of an Offensive Weapon (s1 Prevention of Crime Act 1953). The maximum sentence is 4 years.”
    “There is also an offence under s64 Offences Against the Person Act 1861, with a maximum sentence of 2 years, for anyone who “shall knowingly have in his possession, or make or manufacture, any … noxious thing … with intent by means thereof to commit … any of the felonies in this Act“. This is a wider offence that covers people having the acid at home or outside, and the prosecution do not have to prove the intent to cause Grevious Bodily Harm.”


  5. If by a corrosive fluid they mean a fluid which can cause corrosion, then surely salt water is covered, and thus anyone in possession of sea water, or indeed urine falls afoul of this law?

    If by acid they mean anything with free hydrogen ions, then surely Hydric Acid (empirical formula H2O) and solutions of carbonic acid (fizzy drinks) also qualify.

    The law needs clarifying.


  6. There is actually a clampdown on guns included:

    They want to ban ‘rapid firing rifles’. The only rapid firing rifles available to British people are .22 semi automatics and it’s very difficult to get a licence to own one

    I joined a gun club at the beginning of the year and I need to be on probation for six months before I can become a full member. At that point, I can apply for a licence for a rifle, including a .22 semi auto. The police then have to decide if I’m a fit person to own one, by doing a complete background check and then visiting me at our home
    Assuming I get my licence, if my club membership should lapse and I no longer have a ‘good reason’ to own a rifle, the police will take it off me

    It’s that difficult to get a rifle in the UK and so far none have been used in the escalating violence in London, yet they’ve decided they want to ban semi autos from licenced legal owners who use them for sport

    That’ll help


    • No, it’s the MARS and lever-release rifles that they’re after – which are generally in full-bore calibres; .22″ semi-autos aren’t on the list (yet).

      The proposed ban on .50″ calibre rifles is more of a problem though, due to the lack of reasons given (they’re big and scary, and terrorists, and think of the children). They are big, indeed – so big that they’re bloody useless for committing crimes with. The IRA aside (who were hardly responsible, legal owners) zero recorded crimes with them, to my knowledge.


      • I see. All it says on the Home Office website is ‘Rapid Firing Rifles’, which I would’ve thought would include the semi auto. There’s no mention of calibre


        • As with all their literature, it’s badly written and vague. More details were published in the consultation documents last year (you’ll notice that the results of the consultation haven’t been published, and yet they’re pushing ahead with the original plans regardless…).


  7. Guess there will be no more pencils or nail files or other sharp pointy items.
    Perhaps all women will have to have rounded nails.
    Their long pointed nails would be considered ‘weapons of mass destruction’.


  8. In my microbrewery I use sodium hydroxide to clean the kegs once they have been cold washed. Lovely pearl NaOH crystals dissolved in 83 deg C water. It will hydrolyse just about anything and after rinsing out with more very hot water we have clean and commercially sterile kegs.
    As for vinegar/dilute acetic acid on chips, they really haven’t the most basic clue regarding simple chemistry. So much for their expensive arts-based education. If you look at drain cleaner it refers to spirits of salt. How very alchemist of them. When I was at school and a chemistry fiend, I used to buy all my dilute mineral acids from boots, plus K dichromate, K permanganate, NaOH crystals and other stuff like this such as 50 H2O2. The other day, now down the road 40 years or more, I tried to buy some glucose. I must have been speaking Martian. They hadn’t a clue. Just pointed to some boiled sweet looking things and not the large brown jar with the black screw top with Glucose on it. Of course they don’t have such an item. I used to buy jars of flowers of sulphur too. Try doing that unless you have an account with Sigma, which I do fortunately. BTW, I am setting up a little micro lab at my brewery. Any tips on sourcing good second hand equipment? I am in need to a good binocular microscope not costing the GDP of a small country. I have looked by a lot of the kit is pretty expensive.


    • There are a lot of second-hand lab equipment sellers. If you’re looking at yeast you don’t need a top spec microscope – 1000x magnification with an oil immersion lens is only needed for bacteria 🙂

      Some stuff pops up on eBay. I bought a small autoclave from there once.


      • I was going to do a bit more than just look at yeast. My specialist area is Clostridia (and oxygen tolerance) and I have a few experiments planned as well as culturing different yeast strains.


          • I suppose I would call myself an Anaeromicrobiologist based on my Ph.D research but that is far too restrictive. More like fun with anaerobic jars opened too close to bunsen burners. I was also the chemostat king and special gases warden of my department.


    • That’s in case you try to start a buffet mid-flight…

      There was a comical episode at the beginning of all this where airport security would confiscate anything remotely sharp, right down to eyebrow tweezers, and then the in-flight meal was served with metal cutlery.

      I don’t think any airline does that now.


  9. “Mr. Iron, you are under arrest for murder by stabbing”
    “Huh? Wha?”
    “You have a knife.”
    “But I’m not STABBING ANYONE with it!!!”
    “We are sorry, Mr. Iron, buy you have a knife and that is tantamount to the potential that you will be stabbing someone to death with it!”

    Sound silly? In New York when the smoking ban came in there was a private club someplace that got raided, Elliot Ness style, by The Smoking Police. Here’s the story, no longer on the web as far as I can see, but from The Agitator (preserved on Wayback):

    …As first reported in The New York Post the other day, health officials, acting on an anonymous tip, insisted last week on inspecting the office of the (Players) club’s executive director, John Martello.

    They found no one smoking. But — shades of Eliot Ness on the trail of rum runners from Canada — they came upon three ashtrays on a shelf behind a desk.

    THEY were there just to get them out of the way,” Mr. Martello said yesterday. “We had to get them out of the public eye. They were collected. Who thinks about throwing them out?”

    “I think what I was most appalled about,” he said, “was the constitutionality of them being able to come in and search my office. Unlike the police, they don’t need a search warrant. They just walked in on an anonymous tip.”

    Ms. Mullin acknowledged that “there is some discretion offered to our inspectors.”

    “If we do see stacks of ashtrays,” she said, “it is tantamount to the potential that people are permitting smoking.”

    In the first six months of the NYC smoking ban, over 200 summonses were levied on ashtrays in businesses on that basis! They also got Graydon Carter, editor of Vanity Fair for having an ashtray in a desk drawer in his private office.

    Heh… now supposedly in the USA, you need a SEARCH WARRANT to do searches like that. We have something called the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution that protects us. Somehow it doesn’t apply to the Smoking Police though: they’re above the law AND above the Constitution.

    Carter had a comment about all this: ” “Any city that allows you to keep a loaded gun in your office but not an ashtray,” he said, “is one with its priorities seriously out of whack.” ”

    – MJM, who keeps chocolate in his drawer. (And a great big sword to chop off anyone’s arm if they try to steal it!)


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