Firms could buy and sell permits to make alcoholic drinks or fatty foods under plans being put to Tory leaders.
The system would work along the same lines as carbon trading schemes aimed at tackling pollution.
The proposal, to be put forward at a Conservative summit on social responsibility, comes from an advisory group set up by leader David Cameron.
The advisers say companies that act responsibly could be rewarded by having less government regulation.
Riiiight. Erm... I think that one of my commentators summed it up rather nicely, to be honest, in response to this piece of lunacy being parroted by Nick Robinson.
Robinson, if you buy into this 'permits for alcohol & fatty foods production' nonsense you're a bigger fool than I thought you were. Unlike the highly contentious case of CO2 there is no argument that the production of either causes any harm whatsoever. The dangers are in the overindulgence in these substances by individuals. That's their problem, not ours.
A permit trading system implies Government licensing and by extension a restriction on the granting of those licences or the permits would accrue no value - there would be no market. Very simple supply & demand economics.
Assenting to a system like this sets a precedent for a Government to assume licensing powers over any and every legitimate activity of its people. If you have bothered to read any history you will realise that it would effectively return us to the mediaeval guild system. What's next? A licence to mill grain or dye [wool]. They wouldn't even need to draft legislation—just translate it from the original Latin.
This is protectionist stupidity of the worst kind and is very far from ensuring smaller government; that the Tories should even consider this sort of thing shows just how far gone they are. Still, Davey's doing a great job from your humble Devil's point of view: having read that article, the redoubtable Haddock BDA has just joined UKIP.
Perhaps it's time for UKIP to send Cameron some more flowers?