Tuesday, 5 April 2011
So Cigarettes and alcohol go up again in the budget - in tobacco's case a whopping 7% rise means paying £7 for a deck of 20 is a not unusual occurrence in the shops. Of course, our paternal big brother who always knows best has been telling us for years that this is to offset the costs to the precious 'sacred cow' of the NHS in terms of liver failure, lung cancer and what have you. However, I distinctly remember a buget 10 years ago where the price of cigarettes went up to around £4 for 20 when we were told the increased duty would pay for these expenses. Makes you wonder why the state never got off the escalator. The suspicion that the real intent was of course to change people's behaviour is clear, and there was just the faintest hint of his before the budget when Dave boasted about the reduction in the number of smokers nationally. It is of course no business of the state to use taxation to change a person's lawful behaviour patterns, and part of me wishes a government would actually have the balls to follow through its statist instincts and propose banning tobacco and alcoholic drink of all kinds. Then we could finally have an honest discussion about the kind of country we want to live in. Meanwhile, here's one for all those with private medical insurance - as your filthy drinking and smoking habits cost the NHS the square root of nothing, keep all your receipts for cigarettes, whiskey whatever and at the end of the financial year, write to your local HMRC asking for some kind of rebate. After all, it's your medical insurance, paid for out of your own pocket that is picking up the tab. £20 says their reply will be an admission that the it was never about money it was about behaviour control. Wouldn't it be nice to see the bullies and control freaks being honest with us about their agenda for once?