What is it about mistletoe that attracts Druids so? The stories of old; Druids cutting it down with golden sickles, the sexual imagery of the open legged leaves and white sticky-juiced berries and youthful maidens catching its magic energies before they landed on the ground? The possible cancer treating properties and medicinal mythology? The modern day hope of being kissed at least once a year…? I bet, whatever is, terrorism isn’t on the list, or wasn’t. But last week, H.M.’s Nanny Government decided that Mistletoe was a weapon of mass destruction. More correctly, the Government made the call that Mistletoe (Viscum Album Lectin 1 (Viscumin)) ‘could be used in an act of terrorism to endanger life or cause serious harm to human health.’ And you thought the worst you could get from Mistletoe was a face-full of bad breath from the bloke at the Midwinter office party…
So where does that leave us? Are we to expect a rapid reaction force that sweeps in and cuts down every mistletoe-honoured tree in the land? As I type I can see at least eight clustered plants from my study window. Gloucestershire is very well blessed, as is the whole wes’ country, with mistletoe. I guess the anti-terrorist squads will set up a base in the area, they’ll be so busy… Pah! When laws are set that are practically unenforceable it brings the whole legislative process into disrepute! Perhaps there will be policemen clad in biological defence suits at the next Tenbury Wells Mistletoe Festival and Blessing, facing off against the Druids who attend (by invitation of the market keepers) to bless the years harvest.
The worst part of this whole ridiculous nonsense is that it’s almost impossible to argue against. Once you admit there are nasty things out there, monsters in the night, bogeymen with big sticks… it’s incumbent upon the leadership of H.M.S.Prytain to make best efforts to resist the threat. If you argue that Mistletoe is poisonous and can be made, by processing the berries, into a lethal weapon (and it can) then you have to look to all the other things out there that can likewise be thus subverted – green potatoes, shellfish, old sausage… anyone for puffer fish? Shall we legislate against Botox?
Oh, and did I tell you I have a huuuuuuuuge castor oil plant in my back garden… [sigh]