Gordon’s gin escapes once more

PUBLISHED: 11:28 22 March 2007 | UPDATED: 11:43 06 May 2010

THERE was a time when I took a great interest in what Gordon Brown – and, way back in the mists of history, previous chancellors – decided about tobacco tax in his sock-it-to- em Budget. It struck me that the increases he invariably imposed were savage an

THERE was a time when I took a great interest in what Gordon Brown - and, way back in the mists of history, previous chancellors - decided about tobacco tax in his sock-it-to-'em Budget.

It struck me that the increases he invariably imposed were savage and unjustified.

But now I don't care a fig. Let him jack up the cost as much as he likes, it does not matter to me any more.

A little over two years ago I finally saw sense and gave up the nicotine habit, instantly saving me a packet (excuse the pun) and, over time, making me feel much better.

Now I shudder when I think of those mornings when I would wake with a cough and splutter, my mouth tasting like a well used ashtray.

When I did puff on the weed, I detested those holier-than-thou ex-smokers who felt they had a moral duty to force us sinners to follow their path to fresh breath and well-being.

So I was determined not to be like them after I gave up. But if anyone asks, I always offer the advice that it is best to ditch the ciggies.

Now I can understand the reasoning of the man who would be king - or prime minister at least - when it comes to tobacco.

I say good for him in his latest attack on tobacco to force up the price of a packet of snouts by 11p. And cutting the VAT on nicotine patches and the like from 17.5 per cent to a lowly five per cent is wise.

Another thing he likes to do regularly - and here I don't agree with him - is push up the tax on beer and wine. It's only a penny or two a time but they all add up to make the drinking experience an expensive one.

But here's something rum. It seems amazing how often he has left the duty on spirits unchanged.

What is so special about Gordon's gin when Brown ale gets it every time?

Could it be that politicians love their spirits so much that they have an old boy agreement on not hiking up the tax on it?

Talking about politicians, I wonder if any of the local variety on North Herts District Council missed out on meetings this week because of a mechanical mishap.

Agendas and reports for committees due to be held in the next week or so are posted and arrive at our office on a Friday.

That's what happened, as usual, last week. The packet was addressed to our Hannah Gray. But this time, the address label stood well proud of the envelope.

Underneath the sticker bearing Ms Gray's name and our address were a number of others - I counted seven - and careful peeling away revealed that each bore the name of a different councillor.

Perhaps they knew about the meetings anyway and went along agenda-less. But I would advise them to get their postal labelling machine serviced.


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