Screamingly Stupid

They\’re insane:

Ministers are preparing to approve plans that would allow supermarkets to collude in alcohol price rises as part of efforts to stem Britain\’s binge drinking epidemic.

The new arrangements, which would be secured through amendments to licensing laws, will enable supermarkets to get around existing competition rules that impose hefty penalties for price collusion.

Back to this in a moment,. Look at this rather:

The price of alcohol in shops has halved in real terms in 20 years

Nope, not true. A flat, full on, out and out barefaced lie.

The cost of beer and wine has remained relatively stable, meaning in real terms it has got cheaper as income has increased.

Now that is true. It\’s the so called "affordability" of alcohol which has increased by 65% over the period, as calculated by the BMA report.

But what the BMA seem to be missing here is that this is the very point of this whole civilisation business. That as we work out how to do things better, as technology (in the very widest sense) gets better then we are able to create more out of the resources to hand. It\’s called getting richer. Incomes go up faster than prices of goods so we can all have more goods to enjoy with our incomes. It\’s the whole point of the damn enterprise…..it doesn\’t matter whether you\’re capitalist, socialist, fascist or communist,  while there may be differences in the effectiveness of each system at reaching the goal, the goal is the same: the proles getting richer.

Beef has increased in affordability, chicken, clothes, sneakers, computers, cars…just about everything except houses and taxes (both of which are controlled by government, of course) have increased in affordability over the past 20 years and as I say, this is the entire damn purpose of this society thing, to make it so.

That we live higher on the hog than did our parents and that our children may do so higher than we.

But back to the change in competition law. Utter, utter, stupidity. Supermarkets use alcohol sales and price cuts as loss leaders. That\’s actually what is being compained about in the first place. That they lose money on that to get people into the stores.

So we\’re going to ban them from doing that….or at least allow them to conspire amongst themselves to make sure that no one goes for a beggar they neighbour price cut?

All that will happen is that supermarket profits will rise; it\’s the inevitable effect of allowing such conspiracy.

So, the suggested solution to a free people exercising its will in getting blasted is that we should increase supermarket profits?

Genius, sheer bloody genius.

Can we have our country back when you morons have finished playing with it please?

6 comments on “Screamingly Stupid

  1. “The new arrangements, which would be secured through amendments to licensing laws, will enable supermarkets to get around existing competition rules that impose hefty penalties for price collusion.”

    If you are an enterprising businessman, setting up a low-price mail order wine & spirit service might be a good idea right about now…

    Of course, we can hope that Mr & Mrs Average, who manage to consume their low-priced wine or spirits at home, sensibly, and without giving in to the urge to go out with 20 of their neighbours and kick some poor sod’s head in, will give the instigators of the policy the heave-ho at the next election.

    God, I’m tired of this country and it’s nannying laws and refusal to do anything about the actual lawbreakers, on the grounds that it’s easier simply to give in and punish everyone.

  2. “God, I’m tired of this country and it’s nannying laws and refusal to do anything about the actual lawbreakers, on the grounds that it’s easier simply to give in and punish everyone.”

    Well, everyone who breaks the law is a person, so punishing all people will punish lawbreakers.

    I don’t care about alcohol taxes since I shall simply vote with my feet and use Speed Ferries to bring a car load from France every few months. Then Gordon will get zip, zero, nada, nothing from me in tax.

  3. The worst thing is, even the article makes clear that the problem is not supermarket discounting at all – it’s bizarre tax incentives, specifically taxing super-strength cider at a lower rate than normal-strength beer, combined with the lack of enforcement of existing laws.

    Sticking a few unscrupulous newsagents in jail for a couple of months when they get caught selling booze to kids would do far more to ease the problem than any of this ridiculous buggering about…

  4. Perhaps you could help me with something that seems neither obvious nor trivial. (The following is blemished by an undesirably sarcastic tone, but it is a genuine question that I’d be interested to know your answer to!)

    You’re all going ballistic because, in an evil conspiracy against the elemental purity of the British retail market, an agreement is being proposed that should halt the use of ultra-cheap alcoholic drinks as a loss-leader.

    So Mr Morrison and Mr Sainsbury will stop losing money on every 24-pack of industrial lager-style beverage etc, etc that passes through their stores. Which is a huge tragedy for us all, because getting ever-greater quantities of alcohol into the sweaty mitts of the Great British Public was the whole point of their policy.

    Oh, wait a minute, no it wasn’t. Mr Tesco and Mr Lidl had budgeted to sacrifice the money on that product in order to entice more people into their stores in order that the overall spend would be greater.

    Do you think that Mr Aldi and Mr Waitrose might still be feeling a powerful urge to carry on enticing more people in? And maybe might still budget to sacrifice money … but on a different product to achieve their strategic aim? We might call this an example of “substitution”, perhaps?

    So is the body of Adam Smith really spinning so furiously that earth tremors are rocking the UK or are we about to lose marks for forgetting to answer all parts of the question?

    Tim adds: There will indeed be substitution. But probably not as much spent on such as currently happens on booze. Why do the supermarkets preferentially choose booze to have as loss leaders? Because they know that’s the loss leader where they get the bigest bang for their bucks. If that is made off limits to them, will they spend the same budget on loss leaders they already know are less successful? I don’t think so, I think they’ll cut the loss leaders budget and profits will thus rise, for they know that they won’t be blindsided by someone using alcohol as a loss leader.

  5. “an agreement is being proposed that should halt the use of ultra-cheap alcoholic drinks as a loss-leader.”

    The word “ultra” means “beyond”. That would in this context mean “free”. Pedantry aside, why should poor people be made to pay more for their alcoholic drinks because the Government is on a roll with the tabloids whining about drink-fueled crime?

    Hey, I’ve just had an idea. Instead of punishing the innocent by State regulated alcohol pricing, how about we tackle the crime part? We could create an organisation that had the job of catching the people who do the crime (let’s call these people “criminals”). We could pass laws that said it wasn’t allowed for drunk people to buy drinks in bars, that people under 18 couldn’t buy alcohol, and that it is not permitted to become drunk in public and disorderly. We could buy smart uniforms for the people who work in this organisation so that they were marked out as “officers” and we could train them to catch the “criminals”. We could also have an independent regulator to oversee what this organisation was doing so that the “criminals” were genuinely guilty of breaking the laws.

    With my proposals, the people guilty of causing all the trouble (the aforementioned “criminals”) could be punished, and the innocent people (or “the rest of us” if you like) could cheer themselves with a beer or two when they felt particularly down after watching the latest Stalinist speeches of a miserable bastard from Scotland bansturbating on TV and imposing his puritanical hatred of joy on the entire country.

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