Thursday, 14 July 2011

Taxed to death

Sad news from Boston, Lincs that five men have been killed in an explosion on an industrial estate. Police are investigating claims that they were engaged in distilling illegal alcohol.

It’s a fact of life that, the more you increase taxes, the more incentive it creates to evade them. Obviously someone has judged that it is worthwhile taking the risk to produce illegal vodka, and these five men have paid with their lives. It wouldn’t surprise me if they were Eastern European migrant workers who would not have stood to gain significantly from the scheme.

If the anti-drink lobby have their way and push through further swingeing increases in alcohol taxes, then stories like this – and people being poisoned by moonshine – are going to become increasingly common.


  1. Yes, indeed. Any kind of prohibition - whether the real deal or the 'control' method favoured by today's anti-drink headcases - will mean more stories like this.

    It happens in countries where alcohol is illegal, severely restricted or is too costly for locals - for instance in places like Pakistan, Bangladesh and in African countries like Kenya.

    I suspect a lot of politicians would be quite happy with this state of affairs. They get their subsidised booze whilst people who can't pay have to suffer alcohol.

    It's not necessary and the solution is so simple but controlling people is more important. I bet your bottom dollar a lot of drink-related trouble would cease if there wasn't this mindset over drink.

  2. Sorry - have to suffer potentially bad or dangerous alcohol.

    (Also, distilling spirits is illegal here but those people won't care about that so everyone can wash their hands of them.)

  3. I agree with you. Legal, clean, cheap alcohol is often the lesser of available evils. It's a great pity your beer club is so short sighted.

  4. A taste of life with a 50p minimum price per unit of alcohol.

  5. Apparently reports have confirmed that the operation was being run by Poles.

  6. There are certain misguided idealists who believe you can abolish activities either by banning them outright (e.g. abortion, prostitution, US prohibibition, drugs) or by taxing them out of reach (cigarettes, alcohol). All you will do is drive them underground and end up with sad stories like this one, booze and fag cruises, back street abortionists, drug dealers, etc.

    I can see why alcohol "campaigners" might not look to the long term, as many of them are fanatics, but I expect politicians to try to consider the question of cause and effect - if we do X, then Y could ensue. The failure to take the long view simply shows how lacking most of our politicians - Tories, Lib Dems and Labour - really are. They'd rather trumpet headlines about being tough on Britain's "booze culture", even though their actions don't actually achieve their stated purposes.

  7. Excellent point.

    "I agree with you. Legal, clean, cheap alcohol is often the lesser of available evils."

    As Red Nev says, you can substitute "tobacco", "cannabis", "heroin" or anything else for "alcohol" in that context.

  8. In fact, I would go even further. I would like to see open and public advertising back again for alcoholic drinks, with real ale breweries being in the vanguard of it all but with plenty of room for the giants too (to keep Cooking Lager happy ;-)).

    I even think drugs - i.e. cannabis initially - should be advertised in the same way, through advertising on hoardings, billboards and even on TV. Though the Daily Mail lobby would call for anyone who suggested it publicly to be decapitated.

    It sounds mad, but I'd truly love it if it happened but unfortunately it'll never happen because there just isn't the trust and the sense of responsibility there.

    So fun will be axeds (wv!) instead.

  9. News reports over the weekend confirmed that all the deceased were Lithuanian nationals.


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