Saturday, February 16, 2008

Julien's Less Than Grand Stealth Tax

I've heard of some crackpot goverment initiatives in my time, but this idea for a Smoker's Licence takes some beating. Would it deter a single person from smoking? No. Would it be a bureaucratic nightmare? Yes. Would it increase the power of the State? Yes. Would it raise £150 million? Yes. Ah, I'm beginning to understand now... It's the brainchild of the Chairman of Health England, someone called Julien Le Grand. Only someone with a name like that could come up with such utter b*******. He describes the idea as "libertarian paternalism". ROFL. Nanny Statism gone mad, more like it. I need a lie down.


Anonymous said...

just the last insane thrashings around of a dying governemnt. roll on 2009 and goodnight gordon

Anonymous said...

I'd like to be able to laugh, but its way way too sinister for that. Who in the name of F... do they think they are???

Anonymous said...

Beats me while your still surprised when this sort of cobblers is mooted.This governments only reason for existing now is try nd control our lives down to our last breath come the next election we will rid ourselves of this odious regime.

Anonymous said...

One of Cameron's first acts when elected must be to abolish these QUANGOs with their idiotic, opinionated chiefs- every last one of them.

Anonymous said...

It's a crazy idea. The real solution is to have people present proof of age when buying cigarettes. After all, it is one of the most addictive and harmful substances on sale in the UK. Some sort of 'ID card' would make the process much simpler.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't be surprised if they stuck a "Smokers declaration" on the ID card database.

Looks like the government has run out of ideas, when it can only dream up crackpot schemes like this, they will be making a national database of every citizen's health and educational records next.

Anonymous said...

Glad you picked up on this latest lunacy Iain, as Titus said, once in power DC has to rid us of these extreme left wing think-tanks/quangos pronto and it'd save a darn sight more than £150 million quid!

Anonymous said...

"You've got to get a form, a complex form - the government's good at complex forms; you have got to get a photograph. It's a little bit of a problem to actually do it [...]"

Is he suggesting that the overcomplication of forms is deliberate?

Anonymous said...

The most powerful force in getting people to give up smoking was not laws and rules but education. Sensible people realised that smoking kills. Those daft enough to smoke will continue to do so. The same with other drugs: once people fully grasp the extent to which they are killing themselves (and sometimes others) then we may see a reduction in demand.

asquith said...

Titus, if you want a government that will really stand against authoritarianism, you'd be better off with the N. Clegg than Dave from PR :)

Anonymous said...

WTF is the NEXT lunatic suggestion from Loony Labour:- a licence to breathe? a licence to have a day off work? a licence to go outside during the day? a licence to fiddle one's expenses? The sooner this lot f'ks off (along with their Libbie rimmers) the better.

The Military Wing Of The BBC said...

All these bleedin taxes on "health".

Why not have higher VAT rates on large sizes of clothes?

A sofa tax - to tax people who wear out their sofas too quickly?

A zero VAT rate on sack cloth underpants?

Anonymous said...

Well said, Titus. Every. last. quango. must. go. We can put all their "chiefs" and thousands of utterly pointless, dribbling, bossy, psychologically crippled employees on welfare. Alternatively, they could find a real job - although probably not.

DK had a typically mild piece on this yesterday and I was motivated to Google Julian LeGrand. You will be relieved to hear that he is available for media appearances and consultancy. Who could have guessed?

Here's the best bit: Under his qualifications, he writes: Languages: French. Spoken: Intermediate. Written: Basic.

So he can write "The cat sat on the mat" in French. That's it. No other languages. Just basic written French. Does this tell you something about this quangocrat's judgement and self-importance? (Also, what does it tell you about the low level of expectation he has in the educational qualifications of the people who hire him?

strapworld said...

Iain, you publish a letter from Ms Martin and then you use the language (with stars I accept) he objects to.

Cocking a snoop at him?

Little Black Sambo said...

Commenter said: "The real solution is to have people present proof of age when buying cigarettes. . . Some sort of 'ID card' would make the process much simpler."
Ah yes, I think I see where your thoughts are tending.

hatfield girl said...

All this outrage, about cigarettes, about non-domiciled tax payers, about other cultures' vile laws, about petty parliamentary corruption, (Diana's inquest was a bit of a damp squib and Poor Little Maddy has had to be taken off the front pages due to a turn in sentiment), while the European Constitution continues to be rammed through Parliament, virtually unopposed. Some scrutiny, some line.

Anonymous said...

Sadly people with stupid names have no monopoly on stupid ideas. "Gordon Brown" is not a particularly stupid name but he has come up with a number of spectacularly lame ideas ...

Anonymous said...

A winning policy for the Tories would be to reverse New Labours NO SMOKING in Public and Corporate Buildings.
As well as getting majority support it would go some way to stopping the current high incidence of property fires.
My view is that smokers nerves are getting so frayed that many people are snapping at each other causing one hell of a social problem. On top of this illegal smoking and throwing the tab anywhere other than a smokeless ash tray is the root cause of these big public fires. Camden market possibly being the latest.
I wonder how many uppers and downers are being prescribed by Doctors to compensate for the lack of a nicotine take to calm these frayed nerves.

Anonymous said...

I think Iain's spelling of this pretentious prat's first name points to a subliminal wish.

Anonymous said...

Why do people assume Dave & Co. would be any different?
"Dave" attacks chocolate sellers :

"Irresponsible" marketing techniques are being used to sell chocolate and fuel Britain's obesity problem, Tory leader David Cameron has said.

Anonymous said...

You think the meddling moralistic tendencies of government were left behind in the last century? Homosexuality, pre-marital sex and cohabitation may all be no problem today but woe betide you in NuLab Britain if you want to take some calculated risks with your own body, maybe following up your cooked breakfast with a fag and a pint. The control freaks which we all know in our own lives as pains up the backside are elevated to positions of leadership in the irksome pressure groups and quangos of modern Britain. God help us all.

Anonymous said...

New Welsh Right - The problem with your post is that as long as their is an NHS, the socialists will use it control behaviour by posing as guardians of the public purse.

I do not understand the attachment you people have to this horrible organisation. There never was a place for it or a need for it. It's a horrible, nightmareish weapon of control.

BTW, I note that there are thousands of severely disabled/deformed Pakistani children born of generations of first cousin marriages who are eating up hundreds of thousands of pounds on the NHS each month. And an indigenous British woman cannot get an expensive treatment for breast cancer. Of course, she's just one vote.

DUMP THE NHS. They are using it to control your lives and your behaviour. Get rid of it! It's a millstone round your necks.

Johnny Norfolk said...

Do you remember whan Mrs T came to power. One of the first things she did was get rid of all these Quangoes. DC must do the same.

Anonymous said...

2:49 - While I do not believe in government interference in private lives or the marketing decisions made by private companies, I do feel that they should, in general, adhere to my views. And I do believe that business needs instruction and decision-making assistance from bureaucrats.

I'm also a big believer in the Sovietesque NHS, but only because people would kick up a terrible fuss if we introduced free market medical insurance and I feel people are too stupid to understand free market medicine, given that they believe all those myths about the United States. Also, my disabled son, who I haven't mentioned in quite some time now, benefits from it.

Nich Starling said...

May I introduce you to Gideon Osborne ?

Brian said...

What about angling licences or taxi licences? Are these good or bad or should everything be unregulated? How restrictive that gas fitters must be CORGI registered.

asquith said...

So, Verity, how do you think treatment of the sick should be arranged?

Anonymous said...

"I need a lie down".

Yeh, you do. This is an iniquitous idea but you are turning into a parody of yourself, Iain - and of some of your commenters on here.

Anonymous said...

Asquith writes: So,Verity, how do you think treatment of the sick should be arranged?

The poverty of that question shook me.

The treatment of the sick, Asquith, should be arranged by the people themselves, out of their own money. Just as the provision of electricity is paid for by them. And petrol. And food.

That is how things are "arranged". You want; you pay.

At the very least, the NHS monopoly should be destroyed. NI contributions should be directed by the salary-earner to whichever private health provider he nominates. The NHS could stay in the arena, although my guess is they would be beaten out by the private competition within five years.

State directed medical care is wrong.

Where I am, unless he/she has an emergency, you can usually get an appointment to see a specialist within two days - three if there's a weekend involved. Results of tests that you take to the hospital lab in the morning are ready by four p.m. If you have a prescription for an ultrascan, you can probably have it that day; or the next day at the latest.

They hand x-rays and tests to you, the customer, not a doctor. You decide whether to stick with the doctor who ordered them or go elsewhere.

In other words, you're the customer and you're in the driver's seat.

Anonymous said...

Gallimaufry - Like all communists, you appear to find it hard to differentiate between the provider and the customer. In a free society, the customer does not have to have a licence to buy.

Anonymous said...


You may or may not be right in one sense. But you can not get away from the stark reality that a vote for the Lib/Dems is a vote for another 5 years of FASCIST Labour.

Unless you personally live in a Labour/Lib/Dem marginal.

It really is as simple as that.

If you really want to help make sure that our alternative is at least a partially classical liberal or libertarian one. I suggest you join the Conservative Party and help us get an at least half libertarian Conservative leader.

David Cameron is on record in claiming that he is a libertarian.( as has Boris Johnson) However I am not even sure if he knows what one is. Never mind whether or not he intends to follow its almost uniquely British and American way of thinking.

If David Cameron proves himself to be a lying too faced piece of ruling class proverbial s..t. LIKE BROWN and BLAIR clearly are, right down to their shoe laces.

Which he may very well prove to be.

I personally will turn on him quicker then a very rich mans divorced wife. Possibly before his first six months are up.

Atlas shrugged and hoped for the best. Because hope will be soon about all many of us will have left.g

Anonymous said...

Verity you dont understand so I will help you to.

I made a big mistake watching the BBC news about lunchtime today.

The main story which took up 2/3 of the program reported the GOVERNMENTS proposed GP surgery changes.

The pressure on the British people to accept our new FASCIST reality is truly overpowering.

In my opinion we have had a FASCIST revolution of this country. A ruling class takeover of every single arm of the British establishment. And I do mean EVERY SINGLE ONE including the royal family.

Who I believe are as much behind our new Neo-Marxist come Neo-Fascist state then Gordon Brown or Tony Blair. Which is saying much indeed.

Atlas shrugged and then checked the curtains.

Anonymous said...

anything that f***s up smokers is ok with me, hangings to good for the bastards!

If the Tories, (they won't) were ever to reverse any of the anti-smoking legislation, they would suffer the loss of votes of the non-smoking majority.

Anonymous said...

According to today's Times: 'Holders of permits could also have to get a declaration signed by their GP that their health was not at “massive risk” from their habit before the licence was issued.'

That's 25 million additional GP visits each year.

asquith said...

Anonymous at 5:47, I will not vote Conservative because the party is still full of extremists. And most of the Cameroons don't really believe in moderation, it's just a strategy. I do quite like Cameron (I don't really mean it when I insult him) but I don't believe for one minute that he has decontaminated the party. He will never succeed, because it's basically impossible.

Behind Cameron would be people like Hague, Fox, Davis- and, yes, Iain Dale- who are going along with him but are not modernisers at heart. I have no wish to be governed by them.

Naturally I don't like this government either, because they are socially authoritarian. But I am truly equidistant between the Labour and Conservative parties.

I can see where the UKIPers who won't vote Conservative are coming from. Why support a party whose ideas you don't support?

asquith said...

Anonymous at 6:26, I agree that smokers are unpopular, and I myself dislike smoking. But that doesn't justify repressing them. I would not have introduced the smoking ban, and this idea of a smoking license is a sick joke to me.

The government are going for smokers because smokers are unpopular, but if we ever set a precedent for authoritarianism then anything could happen. That's why I didn't believe in banning fox hunting. Roy Jenkins held a similar view.

@molesworth_1 said...

a few points arising from the comments...

i)the probable reason for the
'tobacco purchasing permit' would
be so that people can be charged
for or refused treatment on the
NHS for smoking-related diseases

ii)there is already a proposal for
a database of everyone's
educational records through
'unique learner numbers' (I kid
you not), facilitating on-line,
tamper-proof CVs

iii) weren't QUANGO's a Tory idea?

Anonymous said...

The indoor smoking ban in public places is supported by the majority - those who persist with the idea that it isn't are deluded. There is no way Call me Dave will go back on it. It's shameful that our party was for so many years held sway by the smoking lobby - the idea that the 'right' to smoke outweighs everyone else's right to fresh air is ludicrous.

As for the substantive point, the solution to smoking is:

1) Licence vendors of cigarettes. Remove the licence from vendors who sell to those underage.

2) Raise the age limit for buying cigarettes by one year each year, thus doing away with legal smoking within the lifetimes of today's children (which will also gradually wean HMG off its own addiction to tobacco tax).

3) Treat illegal (ab)use of tobacco as the drug abuse that it is.

Job done.

P.S. Mr. Atlas Shrugged - are you still prattling on about giant machines that lizards use to control the climate in order to run the world? Putz.

Anonymous said...

verity - Not sure if you are still tuned in, but I think there is something you need to be aware.

Those of us who have lived in New Labour land for a while realise that this is never going to happen.

It is all what is known in the parlance as a 'kite-flying exercise'.

It works like this. Say someone deep in the bowels of New Labour has been to see the film 'The Lives of Others'. Sorry, I don't know the German title, and I appreciate it may not be your bag. But they have a sudden burst of 'Ostalgie' and think a bit of Stasi-Style control over the herd would help life in Britain tremendously.

So they decide they are going to introduce compulsory registration for blogging. A junior minister goes to the PM and says 'We think it would be a great idea to make people pay an annual fee for the right to blog'.

PM explodes - 'You buffoons - You can't introduce an idea like that on an unsuspecting public - even the brainwashed, brow-beaten sheep that they are will go absolutely ballistic !'

So the junior ministers have to consult with the Nu Labour senior commissars who tell that they can introduce it, but have to warm up the electorate with a bit of 'kite flying'..

So one of the suitably moronic geeks on the payroll writes think - tank speak wonkery for the select Leftie papers about how they are going to make blogging illegal..

Cue a small atomic explosion in the blogosphere, huge tsunami of right wing indignation about removal of right to free speech, nanny state interference and the like.. until, until - yes, they realise it is all a load of tosh, as it has no firm commitment from Government...

However, PM then announces that everyone who wants to blog will have to register, but that, get this.. 'Because, I, Gordon Brown, am so committed to 'free speech' your first year's blogging permit will be ABSOLUTELY FREE - That's it, zip, zilch, nada - so don't say I don't ever give you anything!'

And the people go hooray - as their rights to blog are preserved since Gordon Brown has come riding over the hill to the rescue with his cavalry...

You see, I am absolutely sure that for the next, ooh, 2 years at least, you will not have to PAY for a permit to allow you to smoke..

Anonymous said...

5:58 - Anonymous, I understand only too well. That is why I got the hell out when Blair slithered onto dry land.

What is astounding is, the British let it happen. Blair and Cambpell bullied and threatened and Blair and Campbell won. Once the British press prided itself on being the freest in the world and the most outspoken and daring.

But they were frightened to print one word that might have been understood to be anti-islamic during the Motoon pretended islamic outrage. Even France published a picture of one of the cartoons as, of course, did Denmark. As did Jordan. As did Mexico. But not Britain. To me, that said it all.

Frankly, I don't see any hope. Cameron isn't as bullying as Blair - although I believe he has his moments; but he is a "go along to get along" kind of fellow and doesn't believe in anything - especially rocking any boats. He's also a Europhile.

I would agree with you, by the way, that the Royal Family has been taken over, which is why I have started advocating doing away with them. This Queen has not served us well. She has shown no courage. She is experienced enough in politics and with prime ministers to have know what a viperish, destructive spirit Blair was/is and she could have dismissed the government. After all, the military answers to the Crown, so she could have done what she liked. But she didn't. She read out his destructive, traitorous speeches in Parliament.

Asquith - you say Davis and Hague are "not modernisers at heart". What do you think needs "modernising"? It's a very odd statement to make.

Anonymous said...

The idiot should be Julienned grand style.
I suppose his next brainstorm will be a tax on applying for an application to buy cigarettes. What a prat.
A country which can produce such pathetic crapcrawlers as LeGrand is a country well worth avoiding unless you export him to Darfur.

Anonymous said...

The Queen has not served her country. She goes around the world attending dinners in Commonwealth countries - to what purpose, one wonders - and did not take care of business in the land of her birth. Oz and Kiwiland will become republics. Two years max for Oz, I would guess.

I doubt whether Singapore or Malaysia give a toss either way.

Canada, I think will stay in the Commonwealth of its own free will, although the urge will diminish with all the millions of immigrants they have attracted.

For the Africans, staying will pay off. Nothing to do with loyalty. Meal ticket.

So the producers - save Canada - will bugger off. We should follow the lead of our robust, pioneering cousins. Leave the Commonwealth, or the Queen will be head of state of a cesspit of corrupt African generational non-contributors ... and a debased, degraded, corrupt Britain. LBJ's Great Society, but with ermine.

She never spoke up for us against Tony Snakehips. She never demurred at the trashy speeches he gave her to speak. She obeyed his headline grabbing advice when Diana snuffed it when she should have gone with her conservative instincts. But she was frightened of Tony Blair, as all of Britain, including our "robust" press, was.

But only Elizabeth had the power to do something about him - like sack him - and she didn't. I appreciate that she's old, but she has allowed this to drizzle on for 11 years of our nation's life.

Anonymous said...

Verity: from your various contributions:

a. HM should have kicked Blair and gang out...
b. ...but didn't so HM must go
c. the military answer to HM
d. UK must leave the Commonwealth

So, put all these together and we seem to end up with some sort of military coup d'etat, which, if my understanding of Commonwealth procedures is accurate will automatically ressult in option d above. Have a coup and get kicked out of the Commonwealth (a la Pakistan, Fiji etc).

Trebles all round!!

Anonymous said...

"Only someone with a name like that could come up with such utter b*******."

So, gratuitous insults are fine when they come from you or Tory Boy commenters but not when you/they get a taste of your/their own medicine.

A bit like 'Labour sleaze, bad; Tory sleaxe, no comment'.

Anonymous said...

nomad - but things will improve for verity when Prince Charles takes over - he may well adopt a more, how can I put it, interventionist approach.

Pull down some of the crappy buildings, ban GM foods and so on.

And then become 'Defender of Faith', rather than 'Fidei Defensor' - and then outsource the handling of the policy on religion and climate change to the EU so that he can have a quieter life.

Trebles all round indeed !!!

Anonymous said...

Another bonkers proposal: pay children to eat healthily.

As a lifelong non-smoker I have to take Anon to task for the idiotic assertion that 'hanging is too good for smokers' - I would have had a lot less trouble with that statement had it been targeted at the anti-smoking brigade.

Anonymous said...

John Sandell said:

"According to today's Times: 'Holders of permits could also have to get a declaration signed by their GP that their health was not at “massive risk” from their habit before the licence was issued.'

That's 25 million additional GP visits each year."

Apart from the waste of GP's time, which doctor in their right mind is going to sign something that can eventually get them sued. "But your honour, my GP attested that my health was not at massive risk...."

Basically it's the old socialist trick of 'you can have anything you like, what a pity that it isn't available'. Just like the NHS is a fake for most patients, because large parts of it merely go through the motions instead of actually working (to wit: today's scandal of ambulances being abused as holding spaces for A&E patients in order to cook the targets.

Anonymous said...

10:23 - I cannot figure out your cloudy post - not that I devoted more than about 15 seconds to doing so. But so people don't get the wrong idea:

1. I do not like Charles and I do not want to see him king.

2. I don't like the Queen, either and think she has brought royalty into disrepute through her cowardice in not removing Blair. She didn't have to send him to the Tower to have his head cut off (sigh); all she had to do was dismiss the government.

3. I actively loathe the Dianesque William.

4. I actively loathe the NHS and think it should be killed off.

5. I am for cutting the public sector by at least 50% and putting them on welfare as that will be cheaper, and also easier on the nerves.

6. Nomad: As the Commonwealth is rather pointless, being in or out of it will make no difference to Britain. In any event, the time is looming for a new organisation called The Anglosphere.

Even the Queen can't be bothered with the Commonwealth any more. She made another gigantic error of judgement when she did not sent a senior member of the Royal Family to Sir Edmund Hillary's funeral.

In fact, when has this woman judged anything right?

7. David Cameron is Tony Blair Lite and I cannot stand him. There is absolutely no hope of recovery while this man "leads", so to speak, the Conservatives. No one likes him.

asquith said...

Ever thought about giving up, Verity? :)

Anonymous said...

Verity: Agree with you that being in or out of the C'wealth will not make much difference to the UK - except in terms of saving hundreds of millions of our hard earned pounds that are spent on generally useless and unproductive "aid" programmes to corrupt and venal overseas C'wealth governments and countries. We could also get rid of the Secretariat building in St James's and send all the so-called diplomats packing. Perhaps Harare would make a suitable setting...

Also agree with you about (careless/deliberate?) failure to properly represent the UK at Sir EH's funeral. The NZ-ers rightly regarded that as a huge and unwarranted snub to a great and very brave man. Purely by coincidence I happened to be at the Edmund Hilary Centre at Mt Cook on the day he died. Glum faces all round.