I'm sure you will all join me in wishing those in charge the best of health and safety for the new year. I think local authorities should be given overrule rights to apply common sense when law and order borders on the stupid side. I've saved up a few examples.

In the spring the town hall informed Kaz Iqbal that his nice new unit (a 27sq m kiosk) on a main road in Manchester required a disabled toilet. It's required on all new buildings erected since 2006. The inspector did tell him, in the end, that he could get away with just a sign explaining why there was no disabled toilet (well, duh, the only room was outside!) and apologising for the omission.

In the summer I had a conversation with Tom Durber, who runs a c-store of the same name, also in Manchester. What a nonsense the ID business is, he says. He has a 19-year-old in the army, but the local pubs and clubs refuse the Citizen Card as proof "because anyone can get those off the internet".

So when his youngest son, 17 and 6ft 2in, goes out with his brother, he doesn't bother with ID and gets into the aforementioned pubs and clubs no problem.

Tom works on a Challenge 21 basis, but when his TSO asked why he wasn't working on a Challenge 25 policy, he got sent away with a flea in his ear.

And in the autumn Mark Wilson, who trades in Nottingham, had a bash at red tape. "This week our local Trading Standards Office is holding a meeting about underage issues and they say it's imperative we attend. The trouble is the baddies won't attend. They seem untouchable."

But before we get to the new year, which I hope will bring peace and prosperity for us all, I'd like to wish you the best of season's greetings. Some of you tell me that Christmastime in your neighbourhood is frantic; others say it all goes quiet. May it live up to expectations.

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