Thursday, 15 March 2012

Mascot Watch 16 - Fighting The Fake Tory ... Again

Despite the cuddly picture appended to the piece, our esteemed mascot has again been snarling at fake Tory Sarah Wollaston over her absurd and illiberal minimum alcohol pricing proposals, this time at the Centre for Policy Studies website.

It's becoming quite a regular event, for previous episodes see here and here.

Wollaston regurgitates the usual lame justifications - and the £20bn cost lie - including this self-defeating nonsense.
I'm backing minimum pricing because it works and would save lives without hitting those on low incomes.
I think you can see the contradiction there, but our Phil explains it for those, like Wollaston, who seem to think making things more expensive doesn't affect people with not a lot of money.
Sarah tries to have the argument both ways, either the price rises are such that they will barely make a difference to the family budget, or they are large enough that they will deter people from buying alcohol and combat binge drinking. If the former is true, then why impose a nominal price rise which will only serve to exact a further toll on the family budget – given every study has shown that only extreme price rises would deter the heaviest drinkers? Or if the latter is true and alcohol would become much less affordable, then a minimum unit price is opportunistic and is going to hit those on the lowest incomes the most. Either way it simply cannot be argued that a minimum unit price would be both effective whilst at the same time being non-regressive - and I maintain it would be neither!
Well, quite.

You can read both sides of the debate, along with rebuttals, here, with comments welcome. And if you're on Facebook, you might like to back our guy up in this poll.


Simon Cooke said...

Left a comment earlier - seems awfully quiet! And I wasn't rude about Dr W either.  Just left a thank you to her from the mafia :)

Jay said...

Voted. Penny for the guy who can work out my full name.  There's only 22 votes so far... I might be the only Jay...

Jay said...

So far, the only person/group that wants to introduce minimum pricing is Alcohol Concern Wales.  Checked out their FB page. Lo and behold, ACW is friends with ASH Wales.  Why am I not surprised.

Lyn Ladds said...

Left a comment too.  Simon Cooke, how long was it before your comment was on the page?  I know I can be paranoid, but I often wonder if comments get lost in cyberspace when they don't appear soon after posting and there is no comment about said comment being 'checked out first'.

Only name I mentioned was Philip Davies when I said that sadly the likes of him are few and far between.  Other than that I was not very flattering about politicians in general!

I did make the point however that if they stopped wasting money on all this nannying and looked at one of the main causes of binge drinking - ie lack of job/career prospects for the young, in particular - and actually tried to do something about it, it would at least be money much better spent!

It occurred to me that either a large number of politicians, MP's in particular, either have no brains whatsoever or they leave them in a bucket by their back door when they leave for 'work' each day!

Jay said...

It's not their brains, it's the system.  It encourages self-interest, and corruption (some in Parliament might call this compromise), and toeing the party line.  Far too many MPs think they are above everyone else, that they are special (notably that moron in Labour who got into fight at the pub in Westminster -- "you can't touch me, I'm an MP!"  What a twat!). Far too few give a flying damn about their constituents. 

Our only hope is to vote all of them out.  All of them, at every election.  We cannot allow anyone to become a career politician, even the ones we like and did well.  You get one term.  It's supposed to be public service. Right?  So, you do it for a short time and then you move on.  Because why should we pay people to screw us over?

Nevertheless, it's all a game.  It's a debate club.  It's a joke.  They know it. We know it.  So why we do play along with it?  I guess the answer is because we're stupid.

Lyn Ladds said...

Viva la Revolution?

Jay said...

"It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds." - Samuel Adams

Junican said...

I like that quote Jay. That's what we are, innit?

JonathanBagley said...

I too left a comment. Pointed out that a person consuming 21 units a week via perfectly drinkable table wine would pay over £100 a year extra - quite a lot for those on a low income. 

Jay said...

I don't know if my comment on the debate will make it through. It's a bit... confrontational:

First, let's call out minimum pricing for what it really is: an unnecessary money-grab by the government to bring in more revenue so that it attempt to replenish its depleted coffers and so it can give taxpayer money away to special interest groups like Alcohol Concern and probably ASH.

This is entirely unacceptable. We are being taxed to death. Enough already.

Perhaps the Government would care to exercise a little financial prudence and stop spending money on things we don't need. 

Do note, we citizens are being left with far too few options here, and we are growing restless.  We are angrier by the day.  Must we vote all of the MPs out of office for being utterly incompetent?  We pay your salaries; we elect you to office to act for us, not to legislate and tax our lifestyles out of existence against our wishes.  Keep this in mind. We have far more power over you than you might think, MPs.  Do not tempt us.

You do NOT solve problems by throwing more money at something (e.g. the failed war on drugs); you definitely do not solve anything by taking more money from taxpayers.  

Jay said...

Aye. But how to galvanise us?  It's all well and good to type out how angry we are, but to actually take action?  Real action?  Leg-Iron already said that smokers just have a fag and then calm down.  So until they take tobacco away from us, we're fucking doomed. 

Which is sad...

Junican said...

What action, Jay? Are you prepared to do an 'Emily Pankhurst' and sacrifice your life for 'the cause'? Silly question, I know, but apposite. Who is going to take 'real action'? What is 'real action' anyway?

Going back to basics, there are two horror scenarios.

First, the Smoking Ban. (On the grounds, essentially, that it militates against our RIGHT of 'Freedom of Assembly').

Secondly, the willingness of MPs to vote out of existence our ancient rights of assembly with our peers.

These two ideas may seem to be the same, but they are not. The reason that they are not the same is that the SECOND is an absolute, whereas the first could, within reason, be justified.

The arguments that I have outlined could be taken further. It is a matter of the greatest sadness that debates in the House of Commons fail miserably to address the important matters.

Above all, it is the freedom to meet together, wherever people wish, without Government interference of any kind. Only in the most serious of circumstances should our freedom of assembly be curtailed - SHS is not a sufficiently serious circumstance.

ASH ET AL have managed to create a horror situation regarding SHS which is untrue. Thus, it is incumbent upon MPs to expose the untruths and enforce the disbandment of this viscious, illegal organisation and restore our freedom of assembly.  

THAT is the critical thing.   


Jay said...

Ha ha.  Smokers' Franchise League...  Hunger strikes here we come! 

Real action can be simple and non-violent civil disobedience.  In the spirit of freedom of assembly, for instance, I would propose "Smoke-Ins."  Yes, I know some pubs do lock-ins and what not, but that's all hush-hush in the same way that speak-easys were during prohibition in America.  A smoke-in would be deliberate, publicised civil disobedience.  There would be consequences (fines, arrests, possible jail time) for the smokers and the pub owners.  But those consequences could lead to opportunities to change the system and the laws.

I'm not saying we need to Arnie-Terminator on these people, although if anyone knows any killer robots from the future, do let me know...  :)

Mudplugger said...

Minimum pricing does not particularly benefit the government, it all goes into the pockets of their pals in the drinks industry.  Remember, they are not proposing extra taxes (which would all go to the Treasury), it's just a free price increase for Diagio and the rest.

OK, some marginal VAT would accrue, but most of it goes straight to the bottom-line of the big alco-corps.  It's nothing to do with health or even taxes, it's just rigging the market for Gideon's pals.

Jay said...

Link, please, to show who gets the money.  I've been searching and have come up with squat.  Ta.

Mudplugger said...

No link needed Jay, just read the words.

All they are proposing is minimum pricing - they are not suggesting achieving that by any increase in taxation, either Excise Duty or VAT.   They will just tell retailers the lowest price they can charge for alcohol.

That means no extra tax revenue, it just sends the extra dosh into the tills of Tesco and the corporate funds of Diagio etc.  What they then choose to do with that extra profit (party donation perhaps ?) is up to them.

It is simply an interference in the free market which any Conservative or Libertarian should find wholly offensive.

I thought we had finished with Nanny legislation when we got rid of the last lot but it seems that (Philip Mascot Davis apart) this bunch are intent of continuing that offensive policy - such as hidden tobacco displays, plain packaging etc. - it's all just more Nanny-bollocks and they should be ashamed (but, lacking any conscience, they won't be).