Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Tory Booze Tax

In case any libertarians had forgotten the dark side of the Tories, Chris Grayling has made a speech reminding you all:-

The cost of a four-pack of high-strength lager would rise by £1.33 and a large bottle of alcopop would increase by £1.50, shadow home secretary Chris Grayling said.

Firstly, there's no definition anywhere in the law for an "alcopop". Any definition will put Bacardi Breezers and Pimms & lemonade together.

He told the Conservative party conference in Manchester the tax rises would not hit "responsible drinkers".

Bullshit. More like "not hit you and your friends". I've drank Bacardi Breezers a few times. Nice refreshing drink on a summers day, and done so responsibly. I drink very strong Belgian beers and do so responsibly.

He said: "The ordinary pint in the pub will not be affected and there'll be exemptions for some local traditional products. But we'll call time on the drinks that fuel anti-social behaviour.

There's the problem, though. As soon as you start taxing one form of liquid for getting shitfaced with, people will switch to another. They might even discover that local 8% scrumpy doesn't taste bad and is normally a bit cheaper than all those branded alcopops.

Mr Grayling also pledged to ban supermarkets from selling alcohol below cost price, warning that this "fuelled Britain's binge drinking culture".

No it doesn't, and Grayling's got no evidence to back that up.

He said that under Labour's "lax" licensing system, "virtually anyone" could get a licence to sell alcohol.

Which is exactly how the licensing system should be. The only requirements for getting a license should be that you aren't going to serve kids or people who are already too drunk.

"We even have all night takeaways selling more drink to people as they stagger home from the pub," he said.

And what's wrong with that?

"We will change that. Local councils will have the power to stop town centres being taken over by pubs, clubs and off-licences."

So, you prefer ghost towns with properties falling down instead?

Look, we already have far too much retail space in town centres as it is. Kicking out the pubs won't suddenly give us lots of independent butchers, bakers and candlestick makers. You'll have the even more unsightly charity shops, empty shops and pound shops.

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