Thursday, 25 February 2016

'Win A Cottage' Sunday Supplement Advertisement (1976)

Between 1970 and 1976 the government vastly overspent on state and private prisons and was disheartened when crime didn't rise to match the amounts being invested to control it.

Local councils were directed to encourage criminal activity but when they also failed to produce the required crime figures, the government's Office of Spurious Welfare developed a scheme to attract new offenders.

It targeted the aspirational lower-middle class by shrewdly portraying lawbreaking as an upwardly mobile activity and prison sentences as socially desirable. Pro-jail messages were subliminally printed on fake antiques, mass-produced Royal memorabilia and incorporated into newspaper Sunday supplement competitions for dream cottages in the country (see above).

Emergency laws were also made to ensure that crime would become more prevalent. One law, the so-called Passerby Criminal Indolence Law, which is still in effect today, penalises people who refrain from committing a crime when the opportunity arises, even if they could have got away with it.


  1. Excellent! Where can I get more information?

  2. I seem to recall that they also artificially inflated prisoner numbers by counting guards, catering staff, etc. as prisoners, since they were technically inside the prison. To maintain the deception, this did unfortunately mean that they were no longer allowed to go home.

  3. does one have to live in the UK to qualify for the Funniest UK Blog contest?

    1. I've no idea, I'm afraid, you'd have to ask the organisers. You don't enter yourself in the running, you're nominated by other people, so I didn't go through an application process. I live in Germany a lot of the time.

  4. No matter how many times I stepped on a crack on the sidewalk,or shared my candy with foreigners.I couldn't get arrested!No lovely cottage for us,then!Poncey gits!