In the last couple of decades there has been a great deal of legislation affecting and in the main restricting our reenactment hobby.
You may think that you cannot influence this, or you may simply leave it to your society’s organising body or NARES to speak on your behalf.
When I used to serve on various reenactment committees I had a subscription to Hansard, the daily record of every word spoken in the UK parliamentary sessions. On a daily basis I would search for keywords and read the surrounding discussions. I often wrote to my MP with views, questions and suggestions.
But I have found a more user-friendly tool. If you subscribe to http://www.theyworkforyou.com you can automatically receive an e-mail when keywords are spoken, or you can follow your local MP to see what he/she said and how he/she has voted.
I currently have an alert for my MP and for the keywords “shotgun”, “firearm”, “sword”, “knife” and “explosive”.
It is also useful as a route to taking part in public enquiries.
During the public consultation period before legislation relating to storage of gunpowder and other explosives was introduced I, as a registered powder store owner and Powder Officer for the UK Napoleonic Association was obviously very interested.
I received from the Home Office a consultation document of several hundred pages with the title: “Storage and Handling of Explosives”.
With a couple of hours in flight on a business trip I took the opportunity to peruse the document and make notes.
When arriving at our destination I found that the two passengers who had been seated next to me were headed for the same factory, so we shared a taxi.
En route, one of them asked me: “What was that you were reading on the ‘plane?”. I explained, and he said: “Thank God! We had decided that if you went to the toilet we would call a steward!”
I never even thought I might be considered a potential terrorist, but a lesson learned about how easily one’s activities can be misinterpreted.