Wednesday, 7 April 2010

There May Be Trouble Ahead

Following on from my recent attempt at explaining a selective libertarian stance (poorly, I might add, from my perspective), and why the righteous should be resisted on every front, here is a small example of how picking and choosing state interventions with which to agree could lead to trouble further down the line.

The National Federation of Retail Newsagents (NFRN) have unveiled their election 'manifesto' and two items are rather striking.

The tobacco display ban regulations to be revisited as these disproportionately impact on independent retail micro businesses and are not evidence based
This, of course, is entirely true. The new law will have no beneficial effect on smoking prevalence amongst the young, is backed by no evidence whatsoever, and was brought in on the back of statistical manipulation by the Department of Health and deliberately misleading information from Lord Darzi.

Unfortunately for the NFRN and their members, they are unwitting victims of legislation tabled as a result of saggy-arse Donaldson's call for 'denormalisation' of smoking.

But then, the NFRN call for this.

Minimum alcohol pricing to be introduced to prevent supermarkets selling alcohol below the cost price.
Myopic? I should say so.

Our esteemed blog mascot explains.

The problem, however, as with all these matters, is that the report panders to the zealots in society who are never satisfied. I guarantee that if all the recommendations were introduced, Committee members would, within a few months at most, come back with further recommendations because the previous ones had not gone far enough. This lobby is impossible to satisfy.
Indeed. Pallying up to the righteous only encourages them, and they don't care who they harm in reaching their utopia. Loyalty carries no weight for such single-minded nutters.

The NFRN should have realised that their predicament with regard to hidden tobacco displays is a consequence of the long road which started with tobacco advertising being banned in the early 80s. Since then, one 'logical next step' after another has led to their businesses being hit.

Similarly, the end game for anti-alcohol (though they currently only whisper it in darkened rooms) is prohibition. At the very least, they will be hoping for a rationing system to forcibly restrict alcohol consumption to government guidelines and, with all three main parties quite happy to indulge them, it's an eminently feasible future policy.

And that can only possibly be damaging to those whose businesses benefit from alcohol sales ... like members of the NFRN, for example.

Divide and conquer. Works every time.


Curmudgeon said...

And minimum alcohol pricing is an entirely different issue from below-cost selling. You could still sell a bottle of Laphroaig below its cost price, but still well above the minimum price.

Also surely small corner shops are some of the principal purveyors of bottom-end booze. You see weird brands in there that would never grace the shelves of Tesco.

Anonymous said...

After one day of the election campaign, what I can't figure out is why the main 2.5 parties make such an effort to pander to single-issue pressure groups, fake charities, lobbyists ... and all other such arseholes. Haven't they worked out that the Righteous don't have as many votes as the rest of us? Why aren't they talking about what we - the voting public - want to know like how they'll balance the budget and get us out of debt; immigration; the EU; overseas wars; civil liberties ... etc.

Just asking,
Chris Oakham