Wednesday 9 July 2014

Politicians: Please Lie Responsibly

I know it's not an earth-shattering revelation, but a Cabinet minister has been caught lying.

Desperately trying to justify poking her nose in where it has no business, Theresa May came out with this whopper yesterday.
But the Home Secretary Theresa May said: 'Alcohol-fuelled harm costs taxpayers £21 billion a year. It is therefore right that the alcohol industry is taking action to help reduce this burden, without penalising those that drink responsibly.'
Except it doesn't cost the taxpayer that amount at all, nor anything even close to it as Snowdon pointed out when Sarah Wollaston told this particular lie to the House in 2012.
This would be a reference to the British Cabinet Office report of 2003 which found a total social cost of around £18-20 billion. 
Of these costs, £4.7 billion were intangible costs (ie. they are hypothetical - they do not need to be paid by anyone, let alone the taxpayer). 
A further £5.5 billion were lost productivity costs which, again, do not represent a bill that needs to be paid. 
A further £5.1 billion were private costs related to crime which, once again, do not need to be recouped through the tax system, and the author of the report stressed repeatedly that these costs were at the absolute top end of any realistic estimate. 
The only costs which can be considered as "to the taxpayer" are £1.7 billion in healthcare and £2.2 billion in crime and punishment, but since the exchequer receives £9 billion a year in alcohol duty, that hardly makes a compelling case for a compensatory sin tax, does it?
Indeed. And it also doesn't make much of a case for a Tory-led government to applaud choice being restricted for the entire population, on the back of selective lies and a booze epidemic that quite simply isn't happening.

As he has admirably done before, our esteemed blog knight Philip Davies stuck up for common sense over puritanical finger-wagging from his own party, but what good will this petty tinkering do anyway? As was discovered when nicotine was reduced in tobacco, smokers simply smoked more to achieve the same level in their blood. So why would drinkers not react in the same way? Drinkers will self-administer just as smokers do and will simply drink more wine to reach their preferred level of intoxication - whether that be mild, merry, wobbly, shit-faced or comatose.

What I find far more worrying from a societal perspective, is why politicians are so lethally addicted to binge-lying in order to interfere in our personal choices. Perhaps we need a pressure group to wean them off this damaging behaviour by urging them to lie responsibly with a view to quitting the filthy habit altogether.

H/T RooBeeDoo via Frank Davis


Geoff Cliff said...

They cannot quit the filthy habit of lying; it is in the nature of politicians, an addiction, if you like, that they cannot resist however hard they fight it. But, of course, they don't. For, if they stopped lying, they could never be elected!

chrissnowdon said...

The temperance lobby knows that the £21 billion isn't a cost to the taxpayer and they are usually careful to imply that is while not explicitly saying that it is. Politicians, however, are simply too stupid to know the difference.

Pro Patria said...

I would have thought it obvious to most of reasonable itntelligence,the Commons has become a self seeking professional clique composed of
rubber stampers for unelected interests and unseen lobbies.
Most are elected by less than 25% of their constituents and in many aspects do not reflect the popular will . On issues like pubs,alcohol and tobacco they
are totally remote from the general population they depend on the drip feed of
half truths from poll puppets.and bed sharers.
Even now ,on the child abuse scandal ,the draw bridge is on way it's up.
The Commons will destroy the England we all thought would last for ever.
Pro Patria (Pro Tempora)

Ivan_Denisovich said...

May is trying to claim that her form of social engineering is better than the other side's. What she and the authoritarian parasites opposite cannot get into their thick skulls is that we want neither. We despise them and their petty ridiculous tribal warfare. We no longer believe anything they say and we know that the people supplying them with information are disingenuous. At least those who are clever enough not to lie outright are. It is increasingly difficult to distinguish between the Conservatives and Tony Blair's Labour. Plain packs will be the clincher that should finally convince the few remaining faithful that Cameron's government is illiberal and very intellectually challenged. Only a fool and a coward would allow himself to be bullied into anything with such dreadful long term consequences for non-existent gain.

Dioclese said...

About as reasonable an estimate as the £100million that the Tour de Farce was going to bring in?...

truckerlyn said...

The Commons will destroy the England we all thought would last for ever.

They already have, and the damage done is irreparable! Sadly.

Andy said...

Hey Geoff, perhaps we could tax lying? After all it's a sin, and we know how much they like their sin taxes. At the current rate of lying we should put quite a dint into the National debt in a matter of months...

Imagine it, £5 per lie (let's call it a fibbing surcharge). With conference season coming up, and then an election campaign..... The treasury will be delighted.

truckerlyn said...

Missive just sent to MP!