Dear EU: Please do fuck off

Last week the commission demanded that the British government do away with a duty exemption worth £2,500 to small-scale producers of cider and perry.

Under the exemption, introduced in 1976, cider-makers who produce fewer than 70 hectolitres a year – about 12,000 pints – do not have to pay duty. The National Association of Cider Makers calculates that this accounts for about 80% of the UK’s 480 cider-makers.

You can take my scrumpy when you prize my cold dead liver from my corpse.

Quite seriously, fuck off.

Yes, it’s special pleading, yes it’s an exemption, yes it’s market distorting. Now fuck off and die.

48 thoughts on “Dear EU: Please do fuck off”

  1. Any we pay these people How Much? to p*ss us about like this?

    As a a west country boy I join with Tim in wishing them ill.

  2. bloke (not) in spain

    Now hang on a sec.
    As I think I’ve mentioned before, guy I know in SW France holds the family distilling license, allows him to distill a quantity of spirit. And, as far as I know, he’s allowed to sell this without paying tax (other than establishing an income tax liability?). Maybe BiF knows more on the finer details.
    OK. A hundred liters* of embalming fluid isn’t 12,000 pints of scrumpy. But there’s an awful lot of hereditary rocket fuel licenses & I shouldn’t think there’s many small scale apple juice terrorists. So it seems equivalent.
    Now I haven’t actually heard of any representatives of the French tax authorities being burnt at the stake in wine region market squares. But I’d imagine that’s what the popular response would be. So, if all’s quiet, WTF’s going on?

    *Yes well. This is France, remember..

  3. I was going to add, before BiS’ prompting, that I bet this law applies in France as well but is not enforced due to an obscure, opaquely-worded French law nobody knows about granting them exemption, and an ability to find any French authority willing to insist on payment. Unprincipled the French are, but they at least look after their own interests.

  4. Tim N-

    I remember sitting in a pub in Islington a little before the smoking ban came in, with a French friend, and her saying, “You English are so silly. You obey the law. When we don’t like a law, we just ignore it”.

  5. bloke (not) in spain

    @Tim
    Like the Nappy ordnance of 1803 I gather allows French shed manufacturers to dimension their wares in pieds? Or any of the other pre-metric measures be used without liability to prosecution.

  6. @ BiS, something like that, yes.

    @ IanB: indeed, but it’s not that the French have any greater desire to ignore the law than the British, it’s that the French cannot find people willing to enforce laws they don’t like. The French authorities are in many ways terrified of their population and in the small towns understand that they still have to live alongside those who they rule. Whereas in the UK, there is no shortage of jumped up little commissars ready and willing to enforce the most petty of laws, who still get served a pint that evening in their local pub.

  7. Tim N-

    I’m not so sure it’s a commissar problem. The enforcement actually comes from the presence in our society of a certain type of ordinary person who will report you. Yes, you have the roaming commissar. But the real danger comes from that sniffy couple a few tables away who’ll be onto the council the second they see anyone having a ciggie. That’s why we all obey, really. It’s not the government we fear, it’s our fellow citizens.

  8. bloke (not) in spain

    This, Ian, is why I’ve pretty well given up on Brit & the Brits. Ashamed to be associated with you. Can’t wait to be gone, again with no intention of returning.
    Even where they’ve taken notice of the Anti-Smoking laws – and a lot of small, out of the way bars, just ignore them – the furrin’ ingenuity in circumventing them’s to be applauded. There’s a Spanish nightclub I frequent, the “smoking room” is distinguished by one wall not quite meeting the roof & being “in” the smoking room smoking defined as being somewhere vaguely near its door.
    The local pub, here, has thoughtfully provided for, indulgers on rain drenched gale force evenings, a structure consisting of a roof & four supporting poles at the far side of the car park. For which one is to be grateful.

  9. Yup, I’m with BiS here, don’t want to return for the same reasons. I was in a small bar in Eindhoven a few years back where smoking still went on. I asked how, and they cited so,e obscure bullshit about it being very small or something. Bottom line: nobody cares. In the UK there would be a campaign launched by people who would never dream of frequenting the place haranguing the police and local council, and – this is the worst bit – the campaign would be supported by half the population who would self-righteously lecture you on how much nicer it is to not smell somebody else’s smoke.

  10. And this comes back to the point I made a few days ago that, in discussions at the Libertarian Alliance blog, the general consensus is that leaving the EU won’t make Britain a more free country, and it would probably get even worse. The problems for liberty are internal. That does not mean we should not seek to leave the EU. Just that we should not expect a better country as a consequence.

  11. bloke (not) in spain

    “the French cannot find people willing to enforce laws they don’t like.”
    There’s one thing I notice in France. Inside the town boundary, most everyone observes the 50km/h speed limit. It’s not just the healthy fines. People really don’t seem to like speeding. The opposite of the race-between-the-cameras Brits & their “limits apply to everyone but me & the car I’m following”.
    More a sense of community? The tattle-telling on smoking in pubs & other trivial infringements is much more the big “I am” of getting noticed & petty dominance.

  12. Brit society is greatly improved by lots of people who dont like laws preferring to be in Spain.

  13. Well, Hallowed Be, it would seem to prefer a society of prohibition and jumped up self-appointed gauleiters to a society where everyone just lives and let’s live.

  14. bloke (not) in spain

    Indeed Hallowed Be. Eventually all the Brit society worth knowing will be living somewhere else. At which point we’re going to club together, buy an ICBM off a dodgy Russian & nuke the f**k out of it. Do the civilised world a favour. It’ll be an Islamic State by then, anyway.

  15. Was Hallowed referring to our criminal class (with tongue firmly in cheek)…

    BniS – If it carries on the same, there will be a bloody great queue. The first bit that is, though you’re probably right about the last sentence too…

  16. I don’t prefer prohibition . I do prefer police free from day to day political control. I think exemptions like this should be justifiedon the same grounds Vat thresholds are justified’ That you need a certain size to go through the paperwork and to be bothered with enforcement.
    Live and let live? Yes I go along with that but don’t think people dobbing you in for smoking in a bar is a proxy for the police state. I even like (some) scrumpy. I drink old rosie regularly at my local because the landlord is a real ale nut who changesvall of his bitters every month and if I dont get along with them I gofor that. Tim W was open that he was going against a few free market principles due to his love of the stuff. I just dont like it that much to depart from the principle. I’ll also admit to being jealous of the emigrants and the much better lives they lead with all their freedom from petty bureaucracy and rules.

  17. bloke (not) in spain

    “If it carries on the same, there will be a bloody great queue.”

    That’s what I’m worried about. Is there enough foreign to go round? At least nuked they won’t be bringing their squalling ill behaved children on holidays.

  18. “don’t think people dobbing you in for smoking in a bar is a proxy for the police state.”

    Yes it is.

    Too many prodnosed, law -sucking pricks in this country (I don’t mean you Hallowed Be–just a general observation) but that doesn’t matter if there is no law and no one to report you to.

    Too many leftists also–which is why the mainsprings of the left and its bullshit need to be destroyed. Small chance of that with leftist shite reaching their zenith tho’.

  19. The problem is that most people thinking of “police state” think in a narrow set of political and religious rights, for understandable historical reasons. This has allowed the State to curtail just about every other freedom we have, while still pretending to be a “free country” because they do not control worship and everyone gets one vote every five years. When our ancestors were considering what were essential or “natural” rights, the issues of their day were representational politics, the powers of the monarchy and the struggles between Christian factions. The issues that have arisen since are somewhat different.

  20. bloke (not) in spain

    “Too many prodnosed, law -sucking pricks in this country”
    “Too many leftists also–which is why the mainsprings of the left and its bullshit need to be destroyed.”

    Except one isn’t ‘tother.The left are rather more careless about laws. The law-sucking pricks are mostly small ‘c’ conservatives, often masquerading as Lib Dims or even Labour, staking out & defending turf. Getting rid of the left won’t make the slightest difference

  21. By coincidence I am devoting today’s pre-lunch session to reviewing a batch of local ciders. All are by small mom and pop producers from Devon and Somerset. I suspect £2,500 equates to the price most of them paid for the rusting van that transports their produce to market.

  22. Hey. I’m all for less intrusion.Still, to the extent the syereotype is true, I’d rather the uk way of doing it by the rules in the knowledge they will be enforced. Than the other ‘freeer’ way of being fairly confident that it won’t be enforced because your cousin is the local police chief or you let the mayor graze his goats on your pasture. Because you see then its freeer for some than for others.

  23. The problem is that the British way is that it’s not free for anybody, and we’re getting steadily worse in this regard.

  24. I get the feeling that modern Britons would do Communism very “well”, insofar as they would go at it with a bloody-mindedness sheerer than the Germans. As a result, a large degree of the things that made life vaguely livable in the Eastern blok, such as the black market and the odd bit of bribery, would be totally eliminated.

    IIRC Bill Bryson commented similarly in respect to the penchant for queuing and the “mustn’t grumble” attitude.

  25. Robert Tombs (The English And Their History) argues that for over 1,000 years the English have had a predisposition to obey the law, and to require their rulers to obey it. Since that gave us and the world the Industrial Revolution that lifted humanity out of permanent near starvation, we should judge that to be a Good Thing.
    The EU is of course the cause of the current withdrawal of consent by the English governed from their governors, since the latter have given their law making powers to a bunch of crooks in Brussels who are above our laws.
    So B(n)iS’s solution annihilates the wrong target: 4 Topol-Ms on Brussels (and arguably another 4 on Berlin) would resolve the problem in a trice. And with the EU now at de facto war with the RF, we may well get the job done for free.

  26. Why is it “an infringement of free market principles” to oppose this duty on small producers? what is “free market” about the government taxing the fuck out of a product?

  27. bloke (not) in spain

    @Hallowed Be
    The trouble with the UK, playing by the rules, is the rules are laws & those with better lawyers get a better interpretation of those laws. Further, those who can afford the best lawyers get the laws written to suit them. See regulatory capture.

    “your cousin is the local police chief or you let the mayor graze his goats on your pasture.” is another way of saying “the more your stake in the community”. Which is how more informal systems run. The more you’re part of & a value to your community, the more it is in the interest of your community to serve your needs. Of course, the community will tend to serve best the one with the most wonga. But…see above.

  28. Well done the French, and the Germans, for electing officials that must stick up for their interests, however we could do with fewer lectures on being Good Europeans. The Germans and French are piss-poor Europeans.

    And no, the British would not make good Communists, as the sort of leadership that requires makes us all giggle. Queuing is not Communism, rather it may be our single greatest contribution to Civilisation.

  29. Rob: special treatment. The exemption doesnt apply to mead producers only to those apple growers frm Ambridge. Get rid of exemption or get rid of the tax for all producers.
    Bnis. Informality or the law. One or the other.

  30. bloke (not) in spain

    Hallowed Be
    It’s knowing law’s only necessary when informality fails. UK’s got little left of one & too damned much of the other.

  31. bloke (not) in spain

    “Queuing is not Communism, rather it may be our single greatest contribution to Civilisation.”

    You really reckon no-one queued before the Brits. They were probably queuing outside the performers gate at the Colosseum.
    “Aw Dad! how long Dad?”
    “Be patient Joseph. Not long now. And there may be lions!”

  32. @ Jack C
    No, you are quite correct that queuing is not Communism. It was *a consequence of Communism* in Eastern Europe. On my first visit to Eastern Europe, not too long after the fall of the Berlin Wall, I found that one had to queue to *enter* a self-service supermarket.

  33. So Much for Subtlety

    bloke (not) in spain – “The trouble with the UK, playing by the rules, is the rules are laws & those with better lawyers get a better interpretation of those laws. Further, those who can afford the best lawyers get the laws written to suit them. See regulatory capture.”

    That is the problem with modern Britain and the slow decline of the liberal state. Not a problem with British culture or general law-abiding tendencies. The other European countries have this in spades – and much worse. Do rape laws apply in France? Not if you are Roman Polanski and have friends in high places.

    “The more you’re part of & a value to your community, the more it is in the interest of your community to serve your needs. Of course, the community will tend to serve best the one with the most wonga. But…see above.”

    Sure. So good news for the local squire. Bad news for any Jews who happen to have survived WW2. Britain used to be a country of laws. Rich people even observed them. Admittedly that gave us the Profumo scandal – small minded bigots. The European tradition of ignoring the rules gave them Berlusconi. And Mitterrand. I am not sure Britain got off worse in that deal. Small minded puritans are a pain. But they provide a lot of social benefits to the rest of us. We just need to make sure we have a small watchman State so that they cannot run every little aspect of our lives for us. Just as it means Berlusconi doesn’t need to become Prime Minister to ensure he is not prosecuted on trumped up corruption charges.

  34. “Yes, it’s special pleading, yes it’s an exemption, yes it’s market distorting.”

    Normally I’d try to make some point about how we’d all be better off without this distortion and how you should look at the ‘bigger picture’.

    But I’m just laughing at the chutzpah of the *EU* asking for this.

  35. So Much for Subtlety

    bloke (not) in spain – “It’s knowing law’s only necessary when informality fails. UK’s got little left of one & too damned much of the other.”

    Actually the law is not necessary when informality fails. It is a consequence of informality failing. The proper solution is to strengthen informal rules. All the idiocies we have about date rape and child abuse is because the social norms about how boys and girls should court (not to mention the concept of courting) has gone. Where social norms have vanished, laws need to take their place.

    Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites; in proportion as their love to justice is above their rapacity; in proportion as their soundness and sobriety of understanding is above their vanity and presumption; in proportion as they are more disposed to listen to the counsels of the wise and good, in preference to the flattery of knaves. Society cannot exist unless a controlling power upon will and appetite he placed somewhere, and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.

    — Edmund Burke

    But yes, too much law, too little social norms. What is the solution? Not the European approach which, in France anyway, is even more laws. It is to restore those social norms. But we can no longer be free.

    bloke (not) in spain – “You really reckon no-one queued before the Brits. They were probably queuing outside the performers gate at the Colosseum.”

    I reckon that no one queued before the Brits. It is an incredibly rare form of behaviour outside the UK and its White colonies. I don’t think anyone else does it. Maybe the Japanese picked it up from us, maybe it comes to them naturally too. I don’t know. But between those two off shore islands, you do not find a lot of queueing.

    “Be patient Joseph. Not long now. And there may be lions!”

    People called Joseph probably did not queue for the lions so much as wait for them. They were on the wrong side of the stands, so to speak, weren’t they?

  36. People smoke in our village pub – dope, occasionally. You just have to get off the beaten track a bit.

  37. I know queuing wasn’t invented in Britain B(n)iS, however Britain is famous for it.

    Britons are a bit supine to be sure, and passive-aggressive as regards Europe. Still, at least we weren’t mug enough to join the Euro. How’s that working out for Spain?

    Meanwhile, if we’re talking sweeping generalisations, the spoilt brats of Germany could do with a raspberry or two, and the French ought to stop playing the needy battered wife before it’s wine and food culture disappears entirely down the toilet.

  38. A common exercise for novice computer programmers is to model queuing. The exercise allows the programmer to observe randomness and the effects of dislocations (when somebody jumps the queue or when an event takes unexpected time).

    When people jump the queue, the queue runs more slowly for most people. It usually turns out slower for the queue jumper. Orderly queuing works best.

    When you are stuck in a queue on the motorway, which is the best lane to be in? It depends but the odds are that middle lanes suffer from more dislocations.

  39. But they won’t f o and d, will they?

    They don’t need to take any notice of you or me, or anybody else. It goes with that “unelected” thing.

    How lucky we are to be part of the EU.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *