It’s common knowledge, if you make something too expensive that the public wants or desires, then they’ll look for an alternative source. It happened with cigarettes, it’s happening (again) with booze. Back in the times of the Napoleonic war (and indeed well before that) the government put a high duty on various products, most notably tea and brandy. As a result, smuggling reached almost epidemic proportions particularly on the southern coast of England and it’s estimated that few people were actually enjoying legal brandy duty paid other than the odd few customs agents, even then it’s likely that they were involved to some degree in the racket. The rise in gin consumption also comes from this time when it became as cheap to make your own (highly toxic in some cases) product and sell it on to whoever would pay. Again although there were attempts to clamp down on it, the entire distribution network was run from top to bottom by those in authority so those who opposed it were never going to stop it. It’s noticeable that it never occurred to any in the government (who weren’t financing the operation) to reduce the duty and increase their take, though I suspect that those who were making a fortune off the trade would have prevented it, so lucrative was the trade.
Not that any lessons seem to have been learned yet…
Fake vodka discovered in York has been found to contain chloroform.
The product, called Drop Vodka, had been found on sale by officers from the City of York Council’s Food and Safety Unit.
Trading Standards is trying to track down the supplier of the vodka, which is diluted with water and has a lower alcohol volume than many legal brands.
Chloroform has long been used for its anaesthetic properties and prolonged used can heighten the risk of cancer.
Usual scare tactics, though I reckon most people have twigged that just about anything can give you cancer these days, particularly if the government wants you to stop using it. That said, the reason fake vodka is on sale is obvious, the government have priced it via various fake charities and pseudo health awareness groups into an area where organised crime see an opportunity to make a profit and without having to take a van into France. If the duty on vodka was lower and the price lower, then you wouldn’t get fake vodka, seems obvious to me, obvious to everyone else, though the government response is as it was back in the 1800’s, doomed attempts to shut it down or stop it. Prohibition simply does not work, it drives the law abiding into the hands of the criminal elements in our society and quality control goes out of the window.
Seems all the ad campaigns and the attempts to make us live “healthier” lifestyles founder against the rock of public needs and desires. We want to enjoy a drink, some of us want to enjoy tobacco products, others various mind/mood altering chemicals and all that prohibition does is drive more people away into the hands of those who will supply what they want and the government lose money because of it.
If they left it alone, left us alone and only took a small cut in taxation and duty, they’d make a fortune, but no, as ever the new puritans seek to control us and they find willing accomplices in our idiot politicians.