Alcohol Pricing: Better England Free than England Sober


Libertarian Alliance News Release
Release Date: Wednesday 28th December 2011
Release Time: Immediate

Contact Details: Dr Sean Gabb, 07956 472 199, sean


The Libertarian Alliance, the radical free market and civil liberties institute, today condemns proposals to make it harder for poor people to buy alcohol. The proposals include higher taxes, compulsory minimum prices for drink, further controls on advertising, and power to close down retailers. The only disagreement between the three main parities is how far they wish to go.

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

“These measures, if adopted, 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 instructed to stop behaving like some equivalent of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and to start protecting life and property again.

“The claim that drinking makes people unhealthy is irrelevant, where not a lie. People must be regarded as responsible for their own mistakes. Anyone who bleats about increased cost to the National Health Service should consider that drinkers already pay more in taxes than the alleged cost of treating their specific illnesses.

“We oppose all controls on the availability of alcohol to adults. Better England free than England sober.”

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* That all the licensing laws should be repealed;
* That all controls on the marketing of alcohol should be repealed;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. He is the author of over a dozen books and a million words of journalism. He can be contacted for further comment on 07956 472 199 or by email at sean

His latest novel, The Churchill Memorandum , asks what England and the world have been like in 1959 if there had been no Second World War. If you like Bulldog Drummond and Biggles and the early James Bond, this will be right up your street.

Or his book, Cultural Revolution, Culture War: How Conservatives Lost England, and How to Get It Back , explains how its current ruling class has turned England into a totatlitarian police state, and how this ruling class can be overthrown and utterly destroyed.

Or another of his books, Smoking, Class and the Legitimation of Power , explains how the current “war” on smoking has nothing to do with making individuals healthy, but everything to do with enhancing the power of a totalitarian ruling class, and enriching its relevant client groups.

You can see other books by Sean Gabb here .

Extended Contact Details

The Libertarian Alliance is Britain’s most radical free market and civil liberties policy institute. It has published over 800 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

38 responses to “Alcohol Pricing: Better England Free than England Sober

  1. Agreed, good press release etc. The bansturbulary always says that they want to make alcohol more expensive so that people drink less, that’s probably nonsense, if you ask people the reverse question, would you drink more if it were cheaper, the answer is probably “no”. The upper limit on how much you drink depends on entirely personal enjoyment levels and how bad your hang overs are in the morning, both of which are entirely unaffected by the actual price paid.

  2. Alcohol restrictions, and “modesty” boards to hide women from view. I stand by my argument that we have an Ulama and a Mutaween, in secular guise. And that, indeed, the cause is much the same, as I will reveal in my forthcoming book what I haven’t started writing yet, the working title of which is “Why Liberal England Turned Into A Total Arse”.

  3. I magine the scene Sean,a senior member of the royal family crashes Mini Cooper some wrought iron totally inebriated.A polce sergeant or inspector arrives on the scene whereapon the Senior Royal says “You kow who I am now piss off”The poiceman replies “Yes Sir”.The incident is from the policeman himself and he is based in West London.The gates were repaired and the car removed in 30 minutes.
    One of the former polceman’s retired colleagues in the TSG informed me of a senior cabinet minister paralysed with drink who fell down the stairs at the College restaurant.He was helped into his car and drove the 300 metres to his bunker.Perhaps if these indescretions were revealed we would be unlikely to incurr this breathtaking tax on alcohol for the health of the Cabinet and the Royal Family.If I was as fit and healthy as these 2, that have never done a manual’s days hard labour in their lives,obviously a few units do not seem to have done these two drunkards much damageI .Tally Ho and off to Sandringham for the grouse shooting, and an evening of Stictly Come Dancing by the fireside with a drop of port and nip of scotch to warm the untensils .Please pass the port and venison dear boy ha ha ha.

  4. I have dumb question. Why does the Libertarian Alliance believes that taxes on alcohol should be reduced to the lowest level in the European Union as opposed to just be eliminated?

  5. Because we’ve often thought of ourselves as incrementalists.

  6. I like that one. Being one of the poor already hit by high price booze I find the idea of increasing it bordering on persecution.As it is, if I can afford a medium sized bottle of J D and no one else filches any, it will last me a year. Eliminate the tax and it’ll still last a year. It just won’t cut into my budget as much. Happy new year all you miserable puritanical toe rags. Today also apparently supermarkets have to start moving the fags under cover. One time this is where the dirty mags used to be to keep them away from children. Now they’re every where and it’s nudge nudge wink wink for a packet of fags. Middle class morality strikes again an it’s the poor wots gets it in the neck

  7. Well, we already have laws demadning tobacco under cover, and pictures of women under cover. Next it’ll be the booze, then the fizzy drinks, the sweets and the crisps. I expect by 2015, my local shop will consist of nothing but “modesty boards” and poor Patel trying to imply what he sells by a range of inventive euphemisms.

    “Something for the weekend, sir?”

    “Yes, I’d love a bottle of Tizer, if you have one”.

    “No no, something else perhaps?”

    “Erm, okay, pack of ready salted then please”.

  8. Minimum prices are still illegal under eurotrash law. Much as I hate the EU, they may serve as useful idiots here. Legal challenge anyone.

    (Yes Sean, I understand your point about the ruling classes using the EU but the EU statues they ignore are not widely known ones–this one is very public indeed.)

  9. Hi Sean. Does the Libertarian Alliance believe that the proper role of the State is limited to the protection of liberty and property (minarchism), or do you believe that there will be a point during this incrementalism in which the abolition of the state can happen? Thanks.

  10. In my first cabinet post as head of the War-Secretariat, I’d actually have my minitry’s executive-staff tell the Chancellor to abolish all these alcohol, tobacco and fuel taxes. But Sean does have a point, which the Political EnemyClass of GramscoStaliNazis has also understood, perhaps before we did – which is that you have to boil a frog slowly.

    Perhaps we might first merely “cut” the taxation on tobacco products and alcohol, to – say – half what it is now, did the same for petrol and diesel, and then quietly reduce it later….. Or should I say “noisily”, by lots of pre-announcements of what we are going to shortly annouce that we will announce shortly (Blair style really.) Then, if we do it incrementally, people will go along quietly and with resignation with our tax reductions, instead of rioting, looting, burning shops, stealing tellies, and occupying places in their rage at all the reduced prices of these harmless pleasures.

  11. Oh, when I am Fantasy Prime Minister, I favour the big red button approach. Some things will take years to sort out- the banking and things like that. But I would “nuke” all the Puritan laws in a single parliamentary day, with a pre-written Grand Repeal Bill. Flanked by my Chancellor Of The Exchequer (Paul Marks) and Home Secretary (David Davis) and Minister Of Culture (Dr Sean Gabb, clutching his Everyone Must Read Bloodbath In Antioch by Mr Richard Blake Bill) I will consign all the evil works of Mr Lloyd George and his ilk to the flames of history, declare a National Down Tools And Go And Have A Pint Holiday, and then we too will retire to a local hostelry for fine English Ale and entertainment provided by Miss Jiggles McPulchritude, legend of the table dance.

    That’s my plan, anyway.

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  13. I like Ian’s plan very much, specially the last bits. Can I take her home afterwards?

  14. The Grand Repeal Bill sounds a good idea. Presumable it will nominate all the various ridiculous and destructive legislations, piece by piece, that need to go? Life will be a lot simpler afterwards.

  15. I think maybe we just write “everything since 1865” on it, and add any exceptions, which would be a lot quicker than listing everything that has to go. I don’t think there’s enough paper and ink in the kingdom to do that.

  16. In scotland the minimum pricing route hovers ready to pounce but its been virtually admitted that the idea is to drive people back into the pubs. The supermarkets cheap deals have been hitting the publicans due to the extortionate prices they charge.
    4 pints of stella artois in a well known supermarket starting and ending in A = £4.99
    4 pints of stella in the local hostelrys of glasgow = £10 – £15

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  19. Wot all the previous commenters say – in spades.

  20. Whilst I wish to disassociate myself from any nutters who just want anarchy dressed up as freedom I think the boiling frog theory sits well here. By degrees the public (us) has been conditioned to accept the kind of social control we thought we gave up when we left the family home. My favourite example is people who feel they need a “danger, steep cliff” sign on Beachy Head.

    Booze causes social problems but the way to deal with it is not to penalise the responsible but to penalise the feckless and irresponsible.

    So this is about taking personal responsibility for your conduct. It is also about providing free money for the Exchequer. (There has been talk about diverting the extra revenue to the NHS, just as there was talk about using Air Passenger Tax for “green” projects.)

    The idea of applying limits on the sale of alcohol is wrong on so many levels that it hardly bears debate, but the most egregious aspect is that it is one more step down the slippery slope of total and utter intellectual capitulation to a corrupt political elite.

  21. I think that I’m fairly typical of a middle-class Englishman, and I must say that this “wowser” (to use an Australian word) attitude to everything in life is appalling.

    At every turn of the way, some undeserving little bastard from Osborne down has his hand in your pocket trying to filch money to waste. It’s nothing to do with health, it all about tax and screwing us for the last farthing in our pockets.

    At the same time this puritanism is going on, we can happily exist in a country where it is apparently quite OK to freeze 25,000 or so old folk to death each year, which is sheer hypocrisy.

    I see also that the Womens Institute is lobbying for us to be forced to wear cycle helmets, for God’s sake. Where will this interfering and meddling end, and what the hell happened to a Tory government devoted to less state rather than, as it seems, more?

  22. “what the hell happened to a Tory government devoted to less state rather than, as it seems, more?”

    That’s not normal Toryism, and the brief period of tepid Hayekian rhetoric is long over. Thatcherism was a needed and useful reaction to the post-war Attleean consensus, but it was never a return to general liberty and as I said is long over anyway.

    What’s wrong with the Tories? Well, one perspective is this; Tories have wives, and those wives are up to their necks in “good works” with organisations like the Womens Institute. Because of the nature of gender relations in the post-Victorian Anglosphere, no Tory (or indeed most men) will do anything which incurs the ire of their wife, who clings tenaciously to her pedestalised status as a superior moral arbiter. If the wives want a clampdown on drinking, that is what a Tory dutifully does. If they want titties covered up in the newsagent, that is what he does.

    It is worth observing the incredibly high incidence of men who have spent a couple of decades married to one of these women suddenly declaring he is gay.

  23. A terrifying analysis. I would hate to think that our futures are to be presided over by a bunch of amazonian Jezebels, who look like Margaret Rutherford “en charactere”, but without the old girl’s brains, beauty, wit and sense of fair play.

    Re: your last paragraph, how would you define Huhne, with his “swing” to the formerly gay Trimingham?

  24. Well, I dunno, I do general theories not specific relationship analysis, heh.

    I’m basically suggesting that one can understand a great deal about how our politicians act if you consider that gender relations in our ruling class are modelled on this-


  25. Get rid of taxes on alcohol? Surely we should be getting rid of prices on alcohol? Sorry, I thought you said ‘libertarian’. My mistake.

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  28. If our country wasn’t such a shit place to live these days, people would not drink so much.
    Who can blame the young for wanting to drink themselves into oblivion?
    They are given an education, which while free, leaves them unable to speak or write their own language properly. They are encouraged to get themselves into massive amounts of debt with further education while any potential jobs are given to immigrants. They can expect a life of survitude to the state and dodgy landlords, they will receive a poor pension, poor health care, poor services, yet be expected to pay high leves of tax.
    Leave the booze tax alone, it is already far too high, as is fuel tax.

    When will we see a solution to a problem which does not involve raising taxes?

  29. If there was an English-Revolutionary-Liberalist government in power, we would abolish all supertaxes on (a) Alcoholic drinks, (b) motor and transport fuels of all kinds, (c) Heating fuels of all kinds including gases, and on coal. I don’t know if coal carries any extra hypertaxes but it wouldn’t surprise me one little bit if it does. If it does, we’ll abolish them anyway. If not, then not. Oh and we’d de-tax tobacco entirely too.

    VAT might have to wait till we’d paid down some of Gordon Brown’s and Blair’s debts, so that we can safely repudiate and denounce the rest, and refuse to pay it with total impunity. Then we can abolish VAT.

    To get retribution, there must be punishment. All the repellent GramscoStaliNazis that brought about the frightful state of affairs we live in, will find themselves living in really quite exciting places, very “green” in many many senses perhaps, except that of temperatures: hot, or perhaps cold – we shall provide bpth….where, unlike the Gulags they themselves built or failed to execrate, there will be no buildings whatsoever, nor pipes, nor wires, and no materials to make any.

  30. Just to be a bit more serious for a mo, I think an essential “first 100 days” reform would be the total abolition of Attlee’s land nationalisation via the Town And Country Interfering Acts. We would probably have to replace it with some kind of extremely simple zoning law, if we had to. But the absolute minimum.

    It would allow the price of property, and rents, to fall precipitously to a market level, thus rapidly putting much more money in the pockets of the less well off. And I think that’s important, because a Libertarian government is going to have to implement policies from the “bottom up”, which will make vast swathes of the electorate feel rapidly more wealthy.

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  34. Talking of boiling frogs; coming home from work last night we passed lots of pubs, social clubs and the like. It was cold and wet, yet outside of each of these venues were groups of people huddled together trying to enjoy a night out yet having to keep popping outside for a smoke. No doubt inside would be the non-smoking friends/partners wondering when the party will resume. I know how all this ends-“what say we get some cans and go back to mine”. Result-fed up people bowed into submission, and another pub goes to the wall. And the increase in alcohol will help because?

  35. Aye. I walked past my local and it looked more like an impromptu street demonstration. It’s very sad.

    However much I analyse and understand the tricks that have been played upon us by our masters, and how we are controlled, it still fills me with sadness that we are all so cowed now that we dutifully put up with this.

    Part of the problem is that the British are generally extremely good at putting up with things, and we default to that whenever the government imposes stupidity upon us. Instead of challenging absurdly high tarriffs, we smuggle. Instead of challenging licensing laws, we develop an informal “lock in” system. And so on. It means we put up with virtually anything, however ghastly, that the Parliament dumps on us.

    Protest is almost exclusively the demesne of a small, state collected cabal of professionals, and has been since the Victorian Era. Only the “politically correct” are allowed into that cabal, and then they do these demonstrations, just for show, with speakers organised and printed banners all the same, and everyone pretends that that is “the people” expressing some spontaneous will, when in fact the same half dozen people are ultimately coordinating it all.

    So often, I just feel a sense of total hopelessness. Or helplessness. I occassionally have these fantasies where I start off standing on a table in a tavern rabble rousing, and then the people spontaneously rise up, or something, but it’ll never happen. Not in a country where I can’t even thumb a nose to the authorities by lighting up a cigarette.

    I don’t know what’ll become of us, I really don’t. But I never imagine it’s going to be something good.

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  37. Why do you include the “to adults” proviso? Are you in favour of the laws forbidding the sale of (and now the repeated public consumption of) alcohol by young people?