Sunday, January 17, 2010

Drink: spelling it out

Venturing around the high walls that mark the territory of The Englishman, I discovered this little article in which Andy "spiv" Burnham lays out his plans for all the disobedient little boys and girls of Britain.
Minimum prices for alcoholic drinks would be set by the Government under radical plans being drawn up to cut Britain’s growing binge-drinking problem.

The scheme could see the starting cost of drinks fixed at between 40p and 50p per alcoholic unit – leading to a six-pack of lager costing about £6 and a bottle of wine costing £4.50. Cheap bottles of cider could quadruple in price.

The crackdown will mark the culmination of a scheme, overseen by Andy Burnham, the Health Secretary, to cut alcohol abuse. Tackling the problem will be a major plank of the party’s manifesto.

The scheme could prevent thousands of deaths and hospital admissions every year, it is claimed. It would be one of the first such schemes in the world.

However, it would represent a marked change in policy for the Gordon Brown and the Government who have previously been opposed to setting alcohol prices. Labour has traditionally favoured liberalising alcohol laws – such as allowing 24-hour drinking.

Um... I hate to butt in here—especially to defend the Labour government—but they did not allow or even support "24-hour drinking": they relaxed the licensing laws that allowed pubs and clubs to be open for 24 hours if they so wished. That does not mean that the government supports individuals drinking for 24 hours (although, if that's what they want to do, who cares?—as long as they harm* no one but themselves).

Naturally, the eeeeevil booze companies cannot be allowed to profit off the back of the Labour government's meddling.
A levy could also be imposed on the drinks industry to stop them making windfall profits from the higher prices introduced under the scheme. The money raised would be earmarked for public health campaigns warning of the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption.

Oh, for fuck's sake...

As has been pointed out innumerable times, what the government is proposing is illegal under EU law—the Greeks tried it with cigarettes and got slapped like bitches.

But the idea that the money raised would somehow go towards "public health campaigns" is just as much a lie as the claim that your NICs payments actually go into an insurance fund.

But even if this money were "earmarked" in this way, that would also be barking insanity—as Timmy clearly explains.
And the other thing is that hypothecation of taxes is a very bad idea indeed. We may or may not want to spend £100 million on public health campaigns about booze. We may or may not wish to raise the tax on booze. But there’s absolutely no connection whatsoever between the amount we can raise by taxing booze and the amount we want to spend on public health campaigns.

Essentially what this amounts to is an untouchable revenue stream for the likes of Alcohol Concern and all the other puritans. No longer do they have to argue their case for getting money ahead of freezing pensioners or the starving in the third world. They get their money as of right.

And of course, the last thing any such bureaucracy will even try to do is solve the problem: the incentive is to keep exisiting on ever larger budgets, not actually do anything.

No, it’s not just the cretinism of raising alcohol prices (looking across Europe there are countries with lower prices and less drunkenness, places with higher and just as many problems with binge drinking), they’ve also managed to come up with the worst possible method of doing it. Illegal and creating an independent bureaucracy with no financial oversight.

Never mind, my friends, this moronic bunch of bansturbators will keep on trying—despite the fact that their entire campaign is based on a series of not even well-concealed lies. And the cunts concerned have quite merrily spelled out just what they have in store for us... [Emphasis mine.]
Speaking to The Daily Telegraph last night, Mr Burnham said that he wanted public backing for the radical scheme.

He compared the emerging alcohol policy to that involving tobacco – which led to a sharp increase in cigarette prices and a ban on smoking in public places.

Mr Burnham hopes that there will be support from the Conservatives for the move which is increasingly regarded as crucial to cut binge-drinking.

David Cameron has advocated a ban on supermarkets selling alcohol below cost-price but it is not clear whether the Tories will go further and back minimum pricing. They have previously expressed concern that it may be unduly draconian.

It is understood that ministers are working on a “staged process” to introduce minimum pricing. Initially, the drinks industry will have to increase warnings on alcohol cans and bottles. Supermarkets and other retailers will then be banned from selling alcohol at “below cost” – the wholesale price of drinks – if they refuse to do so voluntarily.

The minimum price will then be introduced as the third and final phase of the scheme. It is being introduced in this way to “bring the public along” as alcohol prices are steadily increased.

You'll note that last sentence about "alcohol prices" being "steadily increased", I hope? Regular readers may, of course, recall that my colleague, The Filthy Smoker, predicted precisely this at the beginning of the year, illustrating his point with a number of scarily accurate spoof articles.
If you don't think any of this sounds remotely plausible, I have some magic beans I'd like to sell you. The slippery slope has already begun. You might recall that the original idea was to set the minimum price at 40p. This has since increased to 50p, and the public health bastards are already campaigning for it to rise to 60p.

If these fucks are calling for a higher unit price now, when the idea is in its infancy, what do you think they'll be demanding a few years down the road?

And at 60p, the idea that minimum pricing only affects plebs and alcoholics starts to look very shaky indeed.

Once brought in, the minimum price of alcohol will go up and up as sure as night follows day. As ever with these duplicitous, prohibitionist scum-fucks, there is no point trying to appease them. They've been given every opportunity to show good faith over the years and have responded with nothing but lie after systematic lie. How much you pay for your drink is between you and the brewery. The government, the quacks and Alcohol fucking Concern can keep their filthy, thieving hands off.

Unfortunately, of course, they won't.

Once again, you have been warned.

* By "harm" I mean that they do not initiate force or fraud against someone else's life, liberty or property. It's just that harm is a wee bit shorter.


Davy said...

Spot on post!

The state is beginning to get very open about it's intentions to basically loot everybody as fast as possible. I mean stuff like this is becoming so out in the open despite pretty much 0% of the non politically connected class agreeing with it.

Even if you believe in democracy (I don't) who really believes that's how things are run anyway? Government gets the extra money? HAHAHAHAHAH

JuliaM said...

Oh, DK, you're going to love this one:

Mark M said...

"the last thing any such bureaucracy will even try to do is solve the problem"

Absolutely. It's the 'Sir Humphrey' problem. If I give someone a £100 million pound per annum quango to cut binge drinking, do you think they actually cut it, or will they look busy, achieve nothing and keep on drawing the £100m per year?

We need to get rid of as many quangos as possible, and where we must have them they then their members should be paid a meagre basic salary and have most of their payments performance related.

Mitch said...

Pubs are dying now, what will it be like with this fuckwittery in place?.
Im sure something along these lines happened in the old USSR through shortages and the poor just drank other sorts of alcohol and died in droves.
I will just brew my own again fuck their money.
Beer,wine anything you like tax free and nearly free.

Anonymous said...

Trouble is we have three main parties, all composed of scumbags like Burnham. First job, close all bars in the halls of Westminster and stop selling the b'stards subsidised booze. Let's face it, the poorer sections of society don't get much pleasure these days and they are not the villains in this.


Dick Puddlecote said...

"Tackling the problem will be a major plank of the party’s manifesto."

A bit more downward pressure on their core vote then. When was it Labour first came up with the idea that constantly bashing the poor was a good policy for a socialist party?

Pat said...

Sounds like home brew is going to make a comeback.

The Filthy Smoker said...

All supported by the pub industry and the Real Ale Twats, to draw people back into the pubs which have been knackered by the smoking ban - the smoking ban that was supported by the pub industry and the Real Ale Twats. Not great at seeing the bigger picture, these cunts, are they?

It must be said that the one person who doesn't seem at all keen on this idea is, to his credit, Gorden Brown.

Anonymous said...

Part of the problem here is allowing the statists to define the terms in the debate. The key phrase used when going after corporations' money is "windfall profits". This term has gone from meaning "an unexpected gain" to "more than we believe to be their fair share". Someone needs to force Andy Burnham to explain how these profits are a "windfall" or shut the fuck up until he has a firm grasp on the English language.

James Higham said...

The state is beginning to get very open about it's intentions to basically loot everybody as fast as possible.

A commenter said this above. What he means by the state is one thing but the state now means the EU in collusion with Labour and the Cameron-Clarkes.

The only way to stop this is for the fragmented real conservatives who believe in this nation to move together and the start of that is to be out of the EU state.

That is the first and central move which has to be made by all demanding a say in this.

We can piss around talking of what Brown did today or what excise is on that but unless we cut to the core and excise the real problem, we're in deep.

steward said...

I thought the sales of alcohol were falling, certainly the figures I saw a little while ago seemed to give that impression and anecdotal stories of pubs always being full would lead one to think so. Perhaps some one with proper access to the figures could calculate the average of alcohol consumption now and compare it back over the years.

manicbeancounter said...

So this is how the government intends to eliminate the structural deficit. An supposedly egalitarian government is deliberately impose a highly regressive tax on the poor.
Will it work?
Not if we follow the basic supply and demand economics of Alfred Marshall. Demand tends to be inelastic with respect to price if there is no close substitute. A rise in price will lead to people adjusting their expenditure. So spend less new clothes and toys for the children, less on holidays, and less on cars. If Andy Burnham is unsure, he should consult the Treasury.
Further, if you want to really drive down consumption, you need to jack up the price substantially. The conjestion charge was effective in this - for the two years that it took for people to adjust their expenditures.

AD627 said...

It is well worth reading the book advertised in DK's worthy causes column on the RHS of the page, Christopher Snowdon's Velvet Glove, Iron Fist—A History Of Anti-Smoking.

It sets put in gruesome detail how government and lobby groups set about stigmatising and exploiting a popular activity, how they exaggerate or manufacture scientific evidence against it and how they use the taxes extracted from that activity to create a self-perpetuating cycle of funding for further lobbying.

Martin Kearns said...

24 hour drinking? That's strictly for women and kids.

It's the 72 hour drinking that really fucks me up.

Vicola said...

Well in the face of this, I'm going to have another crack at the sloe gin and home made brew. Frankly the last lot was far more likely to kill someone outright than having a few glasses of Pinot Grigio a night but hey ho, that's the way it goes. I'm not paying a tenner for a decent bottle only to watch most of the cash go to the government's "We've pissed all the money up the wall" fund. I'd rather take it out of the bank in used fivers and have me a bonfire in the garden. Why why why can't they just fuck off and leave me and my habits the hell alone?

Ἕκτωρ said...

There already is a minimum price for booze. For a 5% pint of beer it's £0.47 plus VAT on top of that tax at 17.5% making it £0.55, by my calculations.

For a bottle of wine it's £1.89 (between 5.5% and 15%).

For a 70cl bottle of 40% spirits it's £7.45.

See here: