Plain Packaging? No, Prime Minister!

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Wednesday
Mar212012

Day in the life

Busy day.

It began with an alarm call at 5.30 which I slept through. Instead I woke up at 6.30 when the radio by the bed sprang into life and I heard the instantly recognisable sound of the Today programme on Radio 4.

Set off by car for Birmingham at 7.15. Got caught in heavy traffic on the M6 but arrived in good time for my first meeting – at the International Conference Centre – at 9.30.

After that, another meeting – this time at the Hyatt Hotel – and then I wandered around Brindley Place (by the canal) checking out possible venues for an event during the Conservative Conference in October.

At 12.30 I was back on the road listening to George Osborne's Budget statement in the car. I can't remember the exact moment I heard that tobacco duty is to go up by eight per cent (an average of 37p per packet) but I was on the A14 at the time and my response was already in my head.

Back in Cambridge we issued this press release and within an hour Forest's reaction had appeared here – Smokers slam tobacco duty rise . I've now been quoted (online) by the Guardian, Mirror, Daily Mail and Daily Express to name a few.

It's now 5.30 and in the next hour I am doing a couple of radio interviews. I also have to collect my daughter from her ballet class and meet my son at the train station. (He's been in London on a school trip.)

I then have to drive my daughter to another dancing lesson and the BBC has just rung to ask if I will return to Cambridge (a round trip of 40 miles) to be interviewed on the BBC News Channel shortly after nine.

Meanwhile the Huffington Post wants an article on the same subject – tonight. I have asked them if tomorrow morning will do. I'm just a little bit busy at the moment.

Update: Broadcasting legend and LBC presenter James Whale to Yours Truly this evening: "I do wish you'd find a better outlet for your talents."

He's not the first radio presenter who has said this to me!

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Reader Comments (4)

The tax rise is actually slightly less than I'd expected by 3p.

At the last rise I considered either going back to the rollies or visiting white van man. In the end I changed to a cheaper brand; I'm loathe to finance the various criminal activities that a visit to WVM would mean - and thoroughly resent being put in the position of having to actually consider it - so this time I'm back to the self-made rollies.

I reckon a 12.5g pouch'll last at least a day, so that'll be around half the amount of tax I'd imagine.

Feck'em.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012 at 19:09 | Unregistered CommenterMalenfant

Societies poorest are likely to go without food to pay for cigarettes. I m sure many more are likely turn to the black market which funds terrorism as a result of such price hikes, rather than buy from a supermarket or newsagent.

Such a price hike is so very unfair, who could blame them ?

Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 0:04 | Unregistered Commentercarl

@ Malenfant.

So you know a WVM, do you? How lucky you are!

But the point is, does The Minster know that WVM exists? I doubt it. Mr Minister lives in a bubble of rectitiude.

The best thing to do is to ignore anything he and his ilke say. Just do not buy his tobacco at the price he dictates.

There is no problem at all. The sensible thing is for all non-smokers to take a trip to Belgium and buy, say, 20 sleaves, for their own use. What's the problem? Just do it!

Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 4:11 | Unregistered CommenterJunican

Beggars in Ireland are now begging for a fag instead of 'any spare change Mrs' and who can blame them when a pack here now costs 9euro 10cent.
With the 37pence english tax increase its getting to the stage where its hardly worth while going over the border for the now less than 2euro saving on a pack, so George has shot himself in the foot there.
Meanwhile the 'world leaders' who were the first country to bring in the smoking ban in europe still hold the title of Ireland being the most expensive country in europe to buy a pack of fags.
While today our PM has the hand out to Hans begging for a let up on our debt.

Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 10:27 | Unregistered Commenterann

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