Chris Snowdon on The Tobacco Products Directive:
…HMRC says the illicit tobacco market has risen by 24 per cent in the last five years. It currently amounts to £2.1 billion in lost tax revenue. Such figures are only guesstimates, however, and the black market could be even larger.
Considering the scale of the tax gap, it is surprising that HMRC does not try harder to get reliable figures. In the old days, the government collected empty cigarette packs at football matches to see how many of them came from the UK. Budget cuts put an end to that, but thanks to plain packaging the true scale of the problem could soon become obvious to anyone who frequents a beer garden.
This time next year, any cigarette pack you see that is not in plain packaging will have been bought abroad or on the black market. The same will be true of any menthol cigarette you see after 2020, not to mention all the vaping fluids and paraphernalia that are being outlawed by the EU. By necessity, Britain is becoming a nation of bootleggers. One unintended consequence of plain packaging will be that this becomes visible to all.
Unless of course the bootleg tobacco carries health warnings in Uzbeki.
…if I were an undecided wondering where to place my X, I think the thing that would swing it for me would be the marked difference in tone between the two camps — with the Remainers coming across as shrill, prickly and bitter, and the Brexiters surprisingly sunny, relaxed and optimistic.
Like Jean-Claude Juncker?
Mr. Juncker recently told a German audience he will not be campaigning in the UK for a Remain vote in the referendum because he believes “the European Commission is even more disliked in Britain than in Germany.”
Now, however, he has used an interview with French newspaper Le Monde to offer stark views on the matter, saying: “If the British leave Europe, people will have to face the consequences.”
“This isn’t a threat, but our relationship will no longer be as it is today,” warned Mr. Juncker, adding: “The UK will have to get used to being regarded as a third party state, which we won’t be handling with kid gloves.
Making it clear how those as committed to the federalising ‘European Project’ as Mr. Juncker view British eurosceptics, he described them as “deserters” who “will not be welcomed with open arms.”
Pretty much all the Remain arguments are built around fear. Fear of what might happen. As if Britain hadn’t been a sovereign state for the past 1000 years. Can’t they muster any sort of positive vision of remaining in the EU? Perhaps they can’t?
Rush Limbaugh on transgender bathrooms:
“I don’t think the culture war has been about right versus wrong for a long time. And people haven’t figured that out,” Limbaugh said. “They continue to fight it on a moral or a morality battlefield, but that’s not it at all. In fact, obliterating morality has been what the culture war is all about, not asserting it and not having it triumph.”
The point of the culture war now is an “us-versus-them framework,” he said. “And the whole point of the us-versus-them battle has been to obliterate the whole notion of morality. Just wipe it out, on the belief that nobody has the right to define it.”
No one can write laws based on morality and apply them to all because everyone’s morality differs, Limbaugh explained. “And the culture warriors believe that there is universal right and wrong only because the majorities have had the tyrannical power to use right and wrong as ways to oppress people.”
Transgender bathrooms, gay marriage, and smoking bans are all part of the same cultural war. It’s all about demolishing an existing culture, and attacking every single element of it.