Wednesday, 19 January 2011
Channelling Al Capone.
Minimum pricing is back, well not really, but yes really, but not quite, but it's a start.
Setting a minimum price is illegal under EU rules. It's price-fixing, which companies get hammered for all the time in this country but apparently it's okay for the Righteous to do it. Pretty much goes for anything from jaywalking to mass dehumanisation, discrimination, racism, defiling graveyards, child abuse and cannibalism, really. It's naughty unless the Righteous do it. Then it's Good.
What they've done this time is sneaky. They haven't set a minimum as such, what they've said is that shops cannot sell for less than the cost of duty plus VAT. So shops can give the stuff away as long as the customer pays duty and VAT.
Well, okay, but really this makes no difference to the Coagulation. They'll get the taxes whether we pay them or Mr. Tesco pays them. In practice, Mr. Tesco isn't going to sell below cost because that's a good way to go rapidly out of business. He is also no more likely to pay your taxes than you are to pay his. So what's it for?
Aha, here's the clever part. They aren't setting a defined minimum per unit so they aren't breaking EU rules. Once they have this 'thou shalt pay' rule in place, they can then set the duty to whatever they like. No rules broken, minimum price by the back door.
As with smoking, the entire construction is on a bed of sand, and very wet sand at that.
It'll cut crime they say. Right. So those alkies currently begging for a few quid to get some Tennent's Super are not going to get more aggressive, or turn to mugging, because they need more money than before to get the same amount of booze. Get real, Forehead Dave.
All those restrictions on tobacco have produced a thriving black market in hooky baccy and alcohol is far, far easier to produce than tobacco. Stills in the woods again, it seems, with some literally blinding moonshine of indeterminate and variable strength. Demijohns in every airing cupboard producing undefined alcohol-content wine. Beer brewed and freeze-distilled (unlike the last Prohibition, everyone has a freezer now) into especially deadly barley wine. Cut crime? Try 'will boost crime tenfold' and see how that suits you. Look at those Muslim countries where alcohol is totally banned. You can get it easily but what's in it? Nobody has a damn clue and the sellers don't care. That is what Don Shenker wants to happen here.
You can ban alcohol entirely, as the Americans once did and as many Muslim states do now. It will not make a scrap of difference other than to create a market for illegal, unregulated and possibly deadly booze. The same effect you get when you make heroin illegal. It doesn't stop the problem, it just puts the entire market into criminal hands.
Cameron, listen for God's sake. We are going to get booze and you will not stop us. You can regulate it, quality control it and tax it or you can hand it all over to the Mafia, the Tongs and Al-Qaeda and watch us get smashed anyway. You know, I think this government should look into whether Shenker, Arnott and the BMA have any links to organised crime and perhaps terrorism. They certainly seem determined to push a lot of business that way.
It'll cut binge drinking they say. Pubs closing in their thousands since the smoking ban has not stopped binge drinking. I have never seen nor heard of any pub, club or any alcohol-selling premises that is actually open 24 hours a day. It's allowed but in real life it doesn't happen. Off-sales run 10 am to 10 pm (in Scotland) and it's so strict that if you arrive at a checkout at one minute to ten and your booze doesn't go through first, the till operator is not allowed to sell it to you. Computer says no.
It won't affect binge drinking at all. Of course it won't. Shenker knows this as well as his sibling vampire the Dreadful Arnott knows that she will never abolish smoking. They have their teeth in the taxpayer's neck and as every vampire knows, you don't drink it all at once. Little sips at a time. Yes, I have Dracula on the Kindle (free book, and if you don't have a Kindle there are free Kindle programs for just about anything including iPhones).
If there was a dramatic drop in binge drinking in response to this, Shenker would find his funding drying up. What he needs is a small decline, and that's guaranteed because it's already happened anyway. He, like the Arnott, needs to keep pushing and pushing but never quite get there.
You can't escape being a binge drinker. As with the narrowing definition of obesity, binge drinking is rapidly becoming defined as drinking anything at all. Soon, walking past a display of shandy will get you registered as an alcoholic. Aimed at the wasted shirtless skinheads lying around the streets? Three pints? Do you imagine those incoherent babblers with damp trousers and melted eyes managed to get that way on three beers? This is not aimed at the troublemakers. Nothing ever is.
The pub closures are because of cheap supermarket booze, they say, Via Man Widdicombe, the Student Brewer expertly debunks this crap. If you have a set amount to spend on booze, as most of us do, you won't move to pubs when supermnarket prices rise. You'll just buy less. Personally, I like malt whisky, and some blends. I have tasted the dirt-cheap own brand blends and won't again. I don't care how cheap they get, I will not buy them, I'd rather have less of the good stuff than more of the shite. I'm not in a position to say 'Lagavulin, and hang the cost' but once in a rare while, I'll get a bottle.
I'm not rich and probably never will be but I know there are those to whom Lagavulin is an impossible dream. There are those who have to consider whether to spend a tenner on Clan MacGregor (a reasonable cheap blend, by the way). Should they be denied any taste of anything beyond a half bottle of Asda own brand firewater? Someone gave me a litre bottle of that once. Minus one small glass, which I didn't finish, it's still there.
I know people who will buy a bottle of whisky and make it last for months because to them, it is an extraordinarily expensive treat. I always decline their offers of a dram because I know how hard it is for them to afford it. I am at that point where I can afford decent whisky but balk at the price of fillet steak. I've met, at the other end of the scale, people who invite you to stately-home restaurants where there are no prices on the menu. If you have to ask, you shouldn't be there. Lucky for me I wasn't paying.
They won't be at all affected by price-per-unit because paying £100 per unit is no issue to them now. It will be some time before it affects me because paying £20-£30 for a bottle of whisky isn't too onerous, if a little limiting. For those struggling to meet Clan MacGregor prices, it will be a killing blow tomorrow. They are not binge drinkers. They are just ordinary people who like a drop of the hard stuff before bedtime. Most of them used to vote Tory, Labour, Lib Dem or SNP. Now they'd rather vote for the Church of the Militant Elvis. Which is, at least, progress.
But here we are. A first step on the antismoking - sorry, antidrinking road. It's hard to tell. The methods are exactly the same. Of course, CAMRA, being entirely composed of bearded cretins, will never notice this. As far as they are concerned, getting smokers out of their pubs was never any kind of first step to shutting them all down. It was a welcome removal of those who smoked sub-Righteous forms of tobacco. Pub closures? All down to shops selling cheaper booze, which they have done since time began and which has mysteriously never had any effect until the Ban That Dare Not Speak Its Name happened. CAMRA, time's up. Game over. You have ceased to be relevant in this fight.
Like the pub association, CAMRA are quislings who believe that by collaborating with the enemy, they will be passed over. No, CAMRA, this time they are coming for you. Three pints is now binge drinking, can you see what it is yet? CAMRA is out of the game. No further relevance to either side.
The pub association are the same. Instead of fighting the smoking ban they insisted it spread to private clubs. Now they bleat that smokers don't visit the pubs that made them unwelcome and claim it's all down to the supermarkets. Let them bleat. Let them insist on increased supermarket prices. Brewing our own is a piece of yeast piss. The pubs are no longer relevant. Let them go. We meet at Smoky-Drinky now.
As a smoker, I have seen this all before. Prepare now. Kit yourself with brewing gear and start practicing. Forget setting up a small brewery, they will all be out of business in a few years. All you will get is supermarket own brand yak's piss while those who impose this sip champagne and laugh at you. Mr. Tesco is not paying the duty and tax and is not making a loss. Who's making the loss? The supplier. Mr. Tesco does not care if a supplier goes under, there are plenty more idiots willing to try their hand. Small breweries, like small businesses, are anathema to the communism of the EU our government desires for us. Not them, just us.
Minimum pricing will not hurt the supermarkets at all. Compared to pub prices they have massive scope to pass on any extra costs and blame the government. Pub closure rates will be unaffected. Boozy bastards causing mayhem on a Saturday night will be unaffected. Smokers won't go back to the pubs now, no matter the cost difference because it was never about cost. Personally I might not ever go back even if the smoking ban were completely rescinded. I cannot get past the betrayal and abandonment of the entire pub industry. You threw me out, people, you dehumanised me and you hated me. I will not pay you money now.
Homebrew and illegal stills will flourish. Tax take will, as with all these products of the deranged mind, decline. Criminal versions of all types of booze will be on the streets and believe me, they are already in preparation. The undergound economy has always been well ahead of the one you see. These criminals care nothing for quality control or safety or age limits. They will sell methanol to five-year-olds if it makes a profit. Nasty? Very. Get used to it, because here it comes courtesy of Don Shenker and the mindless drones we call 'government'.
Just as the Dreadful Arnott has boosted underage smoking, so the Donkey Shanker is about to boost underage drinking. With exactly the same methods.
So, who is it they really work for, eh? Because they don't work for your benefit, that's for certain.
Posted by Leg-iron at 01:19