Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Brown's Green Tax Grab

I'm no fan of so-called "green issues". Global warming, as it used to be called before it was found not to be and was rebranded as the more flexible, less easily debunked "climate change", has always struck me as the perfect means of parting well-meaning folks from their cash on the pretext of saving the world.

Whether the climate is changing or not, clever marketing bods have seized the opportunity to hike prices by imposing a "green premium", allowing folks to get a warm and fuzzy feeling every time they buy a low quality, high cost, allegedly environmentally friendly product. The ability to spot a mug and exploit their gullibility is basic human nature, and most people have learned to distinguish reality from marketing hype - we expect it, compensate for it and even get a kick out of "falling for it" in some cases.

It's all part of the game we play with traders. They want to sell us less for more, we want to buy more for less, and we usually arrive at some midway compromise without too much hassle. It's a great way for an economy to operate, but it's a lousy way to run a government. Unfortunately, according to the Sun, New Labour has been conning the British public out of £800 per year in extra "green taxes".

A United Nations report suggests that the social cost of Britain's greenhouse gas emissions is around $4.6 billion per year. The government estimates (and who would believe them, these days!) the figure to be £16.3 billion. But last year they raised £24.2 billion on things like fuel duty and road tax. BIG difference.

Who was Chancellor when all these taxes were being devised and implemented? Goodness, it wouldn't be the coward currently masquerading as the British Prime Minister, would it? Can we trust this bungling apology for a public servant with anything at all? Is there any scam he will not employ in his frantic attempt to balance the books before anyone figures out he's been cooking them for years?

Of course there isn't. Because, like all Labour politicians - like all politicians, come to that - they hold the electorate in contempt. Our function, from their point of view, is do what we're told and keep them in power. And, stupidly, that's exactly what we do. It's a bit like the merchant's hype in a way - we expect them to be sleazy, and get a kick out being right, as long as they don't cross the line between self-serving machinations and downright dishonesty.

But it's a disgusting state of affairs when, in the middle of an economic crisis of their own making, the government that wrecked people's pensions is caught out fiddling the levels of taxation on "green" issues. It's easy to see why they would, of course. They think the public are fooled by the scare stories of environmental collapse, they think there's a willingness to pay premium prices to stave of disaster and they want their cut.

But it's not right. The line has been crossed, there is no going back, and Gordon Brown-Trousers will have to go. The sooner the better, too!

Billy Seggars.

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