New Labour is dead. Long live New Labour.

Government needs to not introduce a minimum price on alcohol. Wishful drinking, eh?

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King Cameron: Here to relieve you of your fun
On 26 March 2012 10:38

I'm not an 'I told you so kind of guy'. Ok that's a lie. I told you so. 

While we were busy shovelling mammoth portions of turkey (or tofurkey) and mince pies into our fat gobs over Christmas, our liberty was once again being siphoned away into the cavernous black holes of the Treasury coffers. No one it seems is safe from leviathan, who systematically picks us up by the ankles, one by one, shaking us dry. 

Smokers will still be reeling from another sucker punch from HM Government, and now drinkers are about to feel the steel toed boot of the state on their necks. It's the late '90s all over again.

With taxation rising on cigarettes and an impending minimum price on alcohol, you'd think we were still living within 'the Blair rich project' - but no, we're now full swing into David Cameron's very own New Labour jaunt.

 

Supposedly booned by the 'success' of the smoking ban, Prime Minister Cameron has deduced that his legacy to Britain should involve making a Sunday afternoon barbecue more expensive than a week-long cocaine binge. Or so I'm led to believe.

The horrendous fact of the matter is that this really is just a stealth tax, as we've become so accustomed to. Government is grossly overstepping the mark in sculpting behaviour through taxation and this kind of social engineering should be rejected at every turn. And yet we sit here and take it, as if all those gin and tonics have numbed us to the outside world.

The main, galling rationale behind the move is effectively to save government money. Think about that.

The measure is being introduced ostensibly to fend off binge drinking, loutish behaviour and potential health implications. Were it not the business of the emergency services and the National Health Service, do you think government would intervene in as heinous a manner as this? Not bloody likely.

This assertion diminishes the very notion of a representative, participatory democracy. 'By the people, for the people' should indeed be the overriding rationale behind government action - leading only in areas where the people cannot fend for themselves - on issues of justice, national security and welfare for specifically the underprivileged or impoverished. Instead we have an all-enfranchising system, where the safety net has transfigured into an orthopaedic mattress, attempting to bear the load of every participant on the basis of ideology and politics. This is not empowerment - it is enslavement.

And so we find ourselves in an epoch where government is taxing its citizens not even for 'their own good' but to save its own skin - financially and politically. 

It doesn't take a genius to tell you that this new form of prohibition simply will not stick. As I've previously explained, those affected by the rise in prices in shops will find other ways to get their bargain booze - pubs, off licences and indeed more and more so, abroad and from duty free shops.

I'm sure there are enough brain cells in George Osborne's head to realise in the long term, this could indeed end up as revenue neutral as well and politically damaging, but the short term assessment that has been made is that this will be an easy immediate revenue raiser, as behavioural adjustments take time, that the authoritarians, social conservatives and New Labourites will love it, and that David Cameron can claim to be 'tackling broken Britain' as he so frequently set forth in those halcyon days of 2009. 

Bearing it all in mind, there's a very New Labour way of describing this new government policy: smash 'n' grab (or as Steve Hilton might put it, 'extra-ordinary hands-on negotiation and repatriation').

It would be idyllic to imagine that this vexatious tax on liberty would encourage the general public to realise that welfarism and government intervention is in excess, but maybe it's not too much to assert that this is a microcosm reflection of issues pertaining to tax avoidance and personal choices. Another small step towards a taxpayer revolution on these shores.

Raheem Kassam is the Executive Editor of The Commentator. He tweets at @RaheemJKassam

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