Sunday, November 23, 2008

When "free trade" doesn't mean "free trade"...

One of the greatest benefits of the EU—or, rather, the only benefit—is the Single Market, the concept of the EU being one massive free trade area.

Of course, via a comment at Tom "coward" Harris's blog, there are some instances when free trade doesn't actually mean "free trade" and that is when we want to buy things that our fucking government disagrees with. Or, at least, makes money off.
The European Parliament is clamping down on the 'booze cruise' trade.

Euro MPs want to cut the amounts of cigarettes and alcohol that can legally be brought into Britain tax-free by imposing stricter guidelines on what constitutes personal consumption.

The new definition of personal consumption would halve the amount of booze and cut the current permitted legal level of cigarettes by almost 90 per cent.

Following a knife-edge vote, the parliament approved guidelines on personal consumption of just 400 cigarettes, 200 cigarillos and 100 cigars.

This compares to guidance from UK Customs for returning travellers of 3200 cigarettes, 400 cigarillos and 200 cigars.

The parliament's position now goes forward to national governments, who need to agree it before it can become law.

Well, that won't take too fucking long as far as our government is concerned, will it? Especially since Gordon's coffers are looking a little bare, right now.
For alcohol, the European parliament says personal consumption means just five litres of spirits, 45 litres of wine and 55 litres of beer.

UK Customs defines personal consumption as ten litres of spirits, 90 litres of wine and and 110 litres of beer.

The parliament said guidelines on personal consumption were needed to avoid 'legal uncertainty and confusion' and to make sure shoppers did not use booze cruises to avoid paying excise duties.

Look, why not just be honest? This is not about avoiding 'legal uncertainty and confusion' because there is none: either we have a free trade area and we can buy what we want, from where we want within that area, or we cannot.
'Free movement in the single market cannot serve as a pretext for avoiding the payment of excise duties, particularly when these respond to public health requirements,' the parliament said by way of justification.

Translation: despite drinking and smoking being perfectly legal, we don't like you doing it so we are going to circumvent the only decent thing about this massive pile of shit that is the EU and fuck you punters roughly up the arse, lube-free, whilst we are about it.

No: I definitely hate the politicians more than the populace...


Dick Puddlecote said...

There before you DK. Four days ago in fact. ;-)

It sort of destroys the whole ethos of a Common European Market does it not?

Wouldn't it be great to save £55.8bn per year?

Mark Wadsworth said...


Anonymous said...

Weasel word alert: GUIDELINES.

The current guidelines have no legal force. You can bring in as much you like for personal consumption. Large quantities will, of course, attract the attention of the bullies in HMRC, just as photography on the streets attracts the PCSOs.

Anonymous said...


I bought five litres of spirits in the supermarket this weekend for personal consumption. Why? Because a) I like to fucking drink b) there was a special offer on vodka c) it is none of you fucking cunts' business.

Fortunately I live in an at least marginally civilised country. But if one is going to the expense of taking a trip to France to stock up on cheap booze, what is a 'reasonable level' of booze? Anything less than that which it takes to ground the suspension is the answer. Since there is a free market, one should be able to hire an 18-wheeler and fill it up with cheap Vin de Pays d'Oc if one so chooses. It is not your job to convince the commissars that it's all for you. It's their job to show otherwise (and this is begging the queation that I can't go to France and buy a load of cheap wine to sell. Why can't I?)

John Pickworth said...

I had no idea they were doing this and I'm outraged.

I've never been a fan of the EU but I've always kinda liked the European ideal, free trade, open boarders, same weights and measures etc. But I'm going off the thing pretty rapidly.

I sometimes think we'd be better off going it alone and becoming the Hong Kong of Europe - yeah okay, that's not so easy to pull off but its got to be worth a try?

Anonymous said...

so as i understand it;
my mp gets subsidised booze in the many bars in the H of C,
my mep gets as much free travel as he can eat and the subsidised opportunity to bring back a "personal allowance" effectively as often as he wants,
and I get butt-fucked and a lecture about booze and fags not being good for me,
I get revised guidelines to reduce the amount of booze and fags i can bring into the country,
I get the "walk of shame" treatment when i buy my booze and fags at the supermarket
and for good measure bogofs, happy hours and promotions are to be banned.

FlipC said...

'Free movement in the single market cannot serve as a pretext for avoiding the payment of excise duties,'

No it just highlights the anachronism that is excise duty, but we can't get rid of that can we?

Hey perhaps London should have its own excise duty, all the MPs could pop up to the conference wherever they hold it next year (I'm betting somewhere that begins with B as they don't seem to have turned over the page yet to C) and then fork out excess duty on everything they've bought and brought back in to 'the City'.

Makes about as much sense as doing it for a country.

The Filthy Smoker said...

As the late, great Chuck Heston said:

"Six words: Out of my cold, dead hand."

Dr Evil said...

The treaty of Rome says unlimited ergo what you can carry is unlimited. These muppets may try it on, but you can use EU law against them. They can't just bugger up this treaty otherwise others can bugger up the Lisbon treaty to suit themselves too.

Anonymous said...

Let's get one thing straight, the EU was never about free trade. It was and is, all about them selling and us having to buy from the European continent. Free trade stops at the Channel when going South. Remember the burning lorries full of English sheep, the boycot of beef and so on.


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