'If anyone present knows a reason why these persons may not lawfully marry'
Antonia has already dissected the dreadful, self indulgent article in the Observer about the lifelong Labour voter who is getting married after more than thirty years of happy cohabitation to reduce the amount of inheritance tax that her children will have to pay. Apparently, an 'incalculable number of people' now have to pay this 'punitive' tax.
As a general principle, I'm actually in favour of more news coverage along the lines of 'rich people whine about having to pay tax, how it is all sooo unfair, and how they are being forced to go to very minor inconveniences in order to make sure that their children/pets/other chosen beneficiaries won't have to scrape by inheriting a mere £300,000+ tax free'.
The more money that gets raised through inheritance tax, the more it is easily possible to reduce tax bills of low paid workers, or improve the long term care for elderly people, or any number of good causes.
But if it is really the case that changes to inheritance tax rules have prompted a 'sudden influx of old people at registry offices all over the country', then there is a very simple and fun piece of public service and civic activism which could be performed. At any wedding where the sole purpose, as in this case, is for wealthy people to dodge inheritance tax, anyone can just turn up and raise an objection at the appropriate moment. Just a thought...