Boycott Tesco’s!

In Association with the Libertarian International

Release Date: Friday 21st May 2010
Release Time: Immediate

Contact Details:
Dr Sean Gabb, 07956 472 199,

For other contact and link details, see the foot of this message
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The Libertarian Alliance, the radical free market and civil liberties institute, today calls for a boycott of Tesco’s because of its support for plans to stop the poor from drinking. [The company has welcomed a promise by the Coalition Government to ban shops in England and Wales from selling alcohol at below cost price.]

Speaking today in London, Dr Sean Gabb, Director of the Libertarian Alliance, comments:

“The Government’s proposal, and the welcome given it by Tesco’s, amount to an attack on the poor. The ruling class politicians who continually whine about alcohol will not be affected by minimum pricing or the abolition of special offers. I might add that none of them can be affected by such laws. Income aside, anyone who lies his way into Parliament can look forward to round the clock drinking in the Palace of Westminster of untaxed alcohol.

“But the measures will hurt poor people, for whom alcohol will become cripplingly expensive and hard to find. They have the same right to drink as the rest of us. Bearing in mind the problems willed on them by our exploitative ruling class, they often have a greater need to drink.

“The claim that drinking ’causes’ public disorder is nonsense. Alcohol does not run about the streets. People do. If people are making nuisances of themselves, the police should be reminded that they are no longer New Labour’s equivalent of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and told to start protecting life and property again.

“But, going back to Tesco’s, this is also another attempt by a joint stock limited liability corporation – which has no right to exist – to limit competition and raise profits. We have no doubt the Company will use the good publicity got from supporting this wicked policy to win planning permission appeals to build more superstores. The incidental misery into which millions of our poorest fellow citizens will be thrown never crosses their privileged, high-salaried minds.

“On behalf of the Libertarian Alliance, I call on all progressive people of good will to boycott Tesco until it stops supporting this attack on the poor and on free competition.

“Drinking is not just for the rich.”

The Libertarian Alliance believes:

* That all the licensing laws should be repealed;
* That all controls on the marketing of alcohol should be repealed;
* That alcohol taxes should be reduced to the same level as the lowest in the European Union, and that there should be no increase in other taxes;
* That not a penny of the taxpayers’ money should be given to any organisation arguing against the above.


Note(s) to Editors

Dr Sean Gabb is the Director of the Libertarian Alliance. His book, Cultural Revolution, Culture War: How Conservatives Lost England, and How to Get It Back, may be downloaded for free from It may also be bought. His other books are available from Hampden Press at can be contacted for further comment on 07956 472 199 or by email at

Extended Contact Details:

The Libertarian Alliance is Britain’s most radical free market and civil liberties policy institute. It has published over 700 articles, pamphlets and books in support of freedom and against statism in all its forms. These are freely available at

Our postal address is

The Libertarian Alliance
Suite 35
2 Lansdowne Row
Tel: 07956 472 199

Associated Organisations

The Libertarian International – – is a sister organisation to the Libertarian Alliance. Its mission is to coordinate various initiatives in the defence of individual liberty throughout the world.

Sean Gabb’s personal website – – contains about a million words of writings on themes interesting to libertarians and conservatives.

Hampden Press –– the publishing house of the Libertarian Alliance.

Liberalia – – maintained by by LA Executive member Christian Michel, Liberalia publishes in-depth papers in French and English on libertarianism and free enterprise. It is a prime source of documentation on these issues for students and scholars.

17 responses to “Boycott Tesco’s!

  1. Tony Hollick

    The thought crossed my mind, that Tesco needs planning permits for all those costly new stores they want to be able to build…


  2. Christopher Houseman

    A fine example of corporatism in action. If Tesco is really so concerned about the (alleged) social effects of cheap booze, why doesn’t it raise its prices unilaterally?

    But no, in order to “protect” corporate profits and avoid being criminalized as a member of a cartel (by fixing prices voluntarily in collaboration with other supermarkets), a new law is needed.

    And what of Holyrood’s idea of a floor price for a unit of alcohol? If that idea gets implemented across the UK, the “booze cruise” will take off with a vengeance (go short on off-licence chains, long on the ferry companies).

    Perhaps we’ll even be able to enjoy the prospect of Scotch whisky exports being illegally reimported back into Scotland – that would be a turn up for the books!

  3. Should you wish to boycott Tesco’s, cut your cost of living, and support a fellow libertarian all at the same time (wow! that’s what I call multitasking) – try the attached link.

    Here endeth ye shameless commercial plug :)

  4. I am getting nearer and nearer to publishing my anonymously-collated treatise, culled from many men’s efforts down the years, about home-production of alcoholic beverages, some of them very tasty, in industrial quantities.

    As it is illegal to sell alcohol currently without a “license” from a “magistrate”, I will not be furnishing any details or recommendations as to marketing the stuff.

    But I forsee large profits going to, in time, accrue to those who know how to make this stuff, safely, reliably, to high strength and without accidentally including methanol.

    The Political Enemy-Class will only have brought this outcome upon itself.

  5. Stonyground

    The really neat thing about alcohol is that it is really easy to make it yourself. Somewhere in my private library I have a recipe for something called ‘Wheat Whisky’. It is not a distilled beverage but it is bloody strong and costs next to sod all to make. If any of these laws get passed I am considering producing the stuff on an industrial scale and giving it away with the recipe stuck to the bottle.

  6. It’s called “barley wine”, and used to be quite common, sold bottled, about 10%+, in pubs in the North and Midlands. Now, I expect it’s not allowed.

  7. I had a similar thought to Tony Hollick. There will several planning appeals from Tesco on the desk of Eric Pickles, new local government Secretary of State. He can expect several calls from Tesco’s lobbyists.

  8. Tony Hollick

    And brown envelopes….


  9. Paul Robinson

    David, if you’d like to indulge in some “home production of alcohol”, just pop down to your local Tesco. Grimsby Tesco has a fairly sizable “homebrew” section (something I haven’t seen anywhere for ages), so perhaps Terry Leahy is hedging his bets.

    If he is compelled to increase the price of alcohol, he can say to the poorest customers, “never mind, we can help you brew your own”. So much for crusade against “binge” drinking!

  10. Paul Robinson

    I suggest that we all tell our Doctors to “mind their own business” when they ask us how much we drink. I had rather hoped that with the (probably temporary) demise of NuLab, we would get a respite from this sort of thing.

  11. I have great respect and admiration for Dr Sean Gabb political writings and analyses. He’s got a profound insight how politics works and knows all its vagaries and perversities . He is a brilliant writer and speaker whom I enjoy reading and listening to .
    But I am afraid that this time he has been led astray by his doctrine and the need to be consistent preevailed over curiosity – or knowledge – on how alcohol (and drugs whose relegalisation he advocates ) affects and destroys the human brain.
    True, I am no doctor myself but I have always been curious about that issue . And all things considered I’d rather follow common medical sense than a political doctrine which is based on ignorance of some basic facts .
    Now , to be brief , what we call alcohol is technically C2H5OH or ethanol , a agent which behaves insidiously in many ways but its most deadly effect is on the brain . And it does it over red cells in blood . Red cells which transport oxygen to body cells , including first of all our most sensitive brain cells . Now red cells when left alone repell each other and flow individually in blood . In the brain capillaries through which they flow are so narrow that only individual red cells can get through . And here comes our intoxicating agent ! Ethanol washes away the outer layer of a red cell which sudenly instead of repuslive action attracts other red cells and forms clusters of red cells . But clusters can’t get through capillaries and so brain cells don’t get oxygen they need . They slowly stop functioning properly and after some time die . The visible result of this process ( it can be observed with an electronic microscope looking into the eye of somebody who has drunk ) are various behavioral disturbances which we can observe in every individual who drinks alcohol – blurred speech, motion disturbances , irrational, inconsistent thinking etc. and they are all due to this nasty effect of ethanol to form clusters of red cells .
    But this is not the end of this sad story . When brain cells die of asphyxia and decay a danger of infection in the brain emerges . But infection in the brain means death . How does the organism defend itself against this mortal peril ? It pumps as much liquid from the body as possible to the brain to wash away the dead cells . They get first to the kidneys and then are removed with urinine out of organism . Speaking bluntly , being drunk means pissing with one’s own brain cells .
    Now has anybody -including Dr Sean Gabb – ever wondered why hangover is accompanied by thirst ? Logically speaking, there shouldn’t be any thirst after consumption of so much liquid , should it ? But as so much liquid is pumped into the brain to get rid of dead brain cells there must be deficit of liquid in other parts of the body . Hence this thirst of the hangover. This is also the reason why headache is concommitant to thirst . As so much liquid is pumped into our head the pressure rises there dramatically and it is this pressure on the brain that causes headache .
    In short , alcohol is a nasty harmful drug that for people’s own health should be exposed and banned . And its action doesn’t depend at all on where it is hidden – in wine , beer , vodka, whisky , cognac … Everywhere it is C2H5OH that has the same universal effect on the red cells as described above .
    Now putting this hard and ominous medical fact into a doctrinal and class framework as Dr Sean Gabb does writing e.g.
    “But the measures will hurt poor people, for whom alcohol will become cripplingly expensive and hard to find. They have the same right to drink as the rest of us. ” is a total vagary or at least a gross misunderstanding and misuse of the libertarian argument . No doubt , it looks consistent with doctrine as a whole but runs conter to verifiable knowlegde . Now what do we want ? Consistency or truth ?

  12. Spencer Whitlock

    I trust the Libertarian Alliance will take the above on board, and come out in support of an alcohol ban in its next press release.

  13. Paul Robinson

    I don’t doubt any of the science above, but it is nobody’s business but mine, how much or how little alcohol I choose to consume. Conversely, it is none of MY business how much or how little alcohol ANYONE ELSE chooses to consume.

  14. Hi, Paul !
    You are right as far as the matter of principle is concerned . I am in favour of it too , although I can hardly imagine anyone in their senses knowingly choosing their own brain cell decay .
    But even disregarding this difficulty the question arises whether the consequences of the choice made here affect only me and not directly or indirectly other people around me ? If I lived far away from society in a desert , nobody would be affacted except myself by various behavioral disturbances caused by shortage of oxygen in my brain cells . But we are highly social beings and hence if something goes wrong with my brain due to C2H5OH it is also my family , my children, my neighbours , strangers whom I meet that can be as much affected I am . I admit this is a major dilemma for anybody who is for the principle of free choice . I solve this dilemma for myself by giving up freedom that harms me and others . Free choice at the expense of rationality is a very bad choice , I guess .

  15. Paul Robinson

    “But even disregarding this difficulty the question arises whether the consequences of the choice made here affect only me and not directly or indirectly other people around me ?”

    If your choice adversely affects other people, and I am thinking of the rather unbecoming scenes in our town centres at the weekends, surely it is the job of the police to lock up those who misbehave? I’m not sure that the old charge of being drunk and disorderly is ever used these days – it should be. A weekend in the cells followed by a heavy fine from the magistrate, would surely cause all but the stupidest to consider their actions.

    As regards my own alcohol consumption, I came to the conclusion many years ago, that the resultant pain wasn’t worth the (somewhat dubious) pleasure of “having a skinful”!

  16. “surely it is the job of the police to lock up those who misbehave? I’m not sure that the old charge of being drunk and disorderly is ever used these days – it should be. ” I agree and would like to add that Aristotle thought that those who break a law while being drunk should be punished doubly – for breaking the law and for being drunk at the time of the action . For me it is not such a bad idea if we bear in mind what is invoved physiologically in alcoholic intoxication . But nowadays being drunk while doing something unsocial seems to be an attenuating rather than aggravating circumstance .
    Anyway , punishing people for disorderly behaviour while drunk is by far not all that can or should be done . A wider campaign to spread the scientific evidence on alcohol’s destructive effects on the brain ought to be simultaneously launched to help people realize what they are doing to themselves when they empty another glas of wine or another can of beer . In the last analysis it is not fear of fines and police but common sense and rationality that we want to guide people’s behaviour , don’t we ?
    I myself have never drunk any alcohol . When I was younger I found alcohol instinctively repulsive without being able to explain exactly why . I just relied on my ituition which luckily kept me out of harm’s way .