If Cuts Look Like Biting, Break Out The Swag Bag

by Dick Puddlecote

If Cuts Look Like Biting, Break Out The Swag Bag I see that the UK tobacco control industry is proposing yet another method of stealing other people’s money to fund their non-jobs.

The UK government could raise at least £500m a year by capping the amount of profit tobacco companies can make from cigarettes, academics have said.

They are calling for state regulation similar to that used to limit the price of water.

The difference being, of course, that the water industry was built up using taxpayer funds and then transferred to private industry on the proviso that excessive profits weren’t applied. After all, water is – unlike tobacco, as anti-smokers continually parrot – an essential resource. Tobacco companies have evolved using private money and their products are a choice not a necessity.

The two products could not possibly be more different. It’s like comparing apples not even with oranges, but with monster trucks.

Dr Robert Branston, from the University of Bath, said the tobacco industry was “incredibly profitable”, with some companies making 67p in profit out of every £1 received after tobacco duties. He described that as an “incredible sum”.

It is a sum decided by willingness to pay, one of the basic principles of economic theory which has been understood for, ooh, about 500 years give or take. It’s also a principle which those on the left – with which the public health profession is overwhelmingly populated – have always despised. Mostly because the benefits their particular professions often offer tend to attract a willingness to pay level of fuck all.

This is why communist theorists, and governments which have followed their ideology, have often sought to control prices. However, they have usually done so more out of crassly misguided care for the poor, for example, rather than self-interest. Combined with incomes policy which enforces a state-sanctioned wage, they believed this would make the lot of the proud worker more affordable.

This certainly isn’t the case with the BBC reported proposal.

“The results suggest that price caps could give the UK government scope to raise tobacco taxes by approximately £500m annually without affecting the price the consumer pays,” they wrote.

The report said this was the equivalent of funding anti-tobacco smuggling measures across the UK and smoking cessation services in England twice over.

And boom! There it is. It is nothing more than a veiled plea for more cash. Not for the poor or the oppressed, or the starving in Africa – but for the tobacco control industry.

They’ve looked through a window into the big tobacco’s analogous home, seen the iPad and family silver, and think it would all look good in their new state-funded loft conversion. So they have put a call in to their mate big Dave, and his henchmen with their Everest window-busting crowbar, to come help them burgle it.

Just for added laughs, do note the way they are so considerate in thinking about the consumer. They don’t want us to pay any more than we already do with this policy, apparently. Oh no, ’cause they’re caring guys and girls, so they are. Perhaps they have forgotten their perennial calls for crippling increases in duty over and above inflation, which are specifically designed to bankrupt poor smokers into quitting whatever the real life consequences.

To end on a lighter note or two, it’s interesting that one of the lead authors of this pre-crime casing of the tobacco industry’s joint wasn’t mentioned. You see, it’s also the work of one of the biggest troughers in the tobacco control firmament, Anna Gilmore, whose name has cropped up here many many times before. She who is always on the look out for another way of boosting her income by producing studies to order, and someone about whom I was proud to have been quoted by tobacco tactics as being willing to “say anything for a grant”.

She doesn’t change her spots, does she?

The woman is so transparently compromised as a serious and objective commentator on tobacco matters that it was probably wise that BBC-published quotes were attributed to this Branston guy instead, eh?

What’s more, this isn’t even new. It’s just a rehash of the same cash grab claptrap from 2010, which I have written about before after the daft political Welshies bought it as a credible policy rather than daylight robbery for self-enrichment.

Perhaps this austerity thing has them worried. This always seems to happen with tax-spongers, doesn’t it? Faced with possible benefit cuts the most unscrupulous see no shame whatsoever in resorting to theft.93qkGhLNn4w

4 responses to “If Cuts Look Like Biting, Break Out The Swag Bag

  1. Some cities took over utilities later than others – for example Manchester took over water (and so on) very early, However, I am told, (for example) Newcastle took over utilties much later – so a lot of the basic infrastructure may have been private in origin in such cases.

    The “limit tobacco company profits” stuff is (as DP implies in this post) just a cover for a general collectivist desire to “iimit the profits” of all “big business”, A general desire to put business under government control – as with German “War Socialism” during the First World War (a policy that was returned to in 1930s Germany). The tobacco companies are just being hit as an easy target (an easy target for a movement with much broader aims – and aims that have nothing really to do with “public health”).

  2. When governments become short of money, they’ll try anything, but what a state of rediculous bureaucracy, I went to the local supermarket today to
    buy a smoking related product, the products were covered by shutters, out
    of praying eye’s, I asked the counter assistant about the price of a certain
    product, am I mad? This was her reply, I’m not allowed to tell you that anymore, if you want to know that you must read this list, I was then presented with a price list and told I am now required to find the product
    on the list, in alphabetical order, I said you can’t be serious, can you just
    open the shutter and let me look, no the reply, not allowed to do that anymore, more than my job might be worth. Anyway, so pathetic as it
    was I gave her back the list and declined the purchase. As I ponded
    on the madness I had just experienced, enlightenment took hold, did the people who drafted up this new act of insanity, take time to think of the
    poor blind man, the dyslexic, or the illiterate. Stupid Bastards!

  3. Different freedoms are connected – and sometimes in surprising ways.

    Freedom to smoke is here (in Karl Fenn’s comment) with freedom of speech.

    Even way back in the 18th century Edmund Burke was attacked for defending the use of drugs to deal with pain (he was dying of cancer – and drugs were quite legal at the time). Defending such thing in words was supposed (by some) to encourage the practice – Dugald Stuart seems to have been shocked by Burke’s words, although he was not “modern” enough to say that such words should be banned.

    And (some years before) when Burke expressed doubts about the savage punishments for sodomy – he was promptly accused of being a sodomite himself.

    “How dare you express support for freedom to smoke – you must be a secret smoker!”

    It is only a matter of time.

  4. There’s plenty of them in the NHS, even the local quack is seen having one
    in the garden of the surgery, smoking in hospitals is now an organised
    underground movement! Gone are the day’s of the smoke rooms, and
    the odd wiff of canabis.