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Saturday, March 29, 2008

U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Might Get a Little Thirsty

Alistair Darling is being banned at pubs across the United Kingdom. What has he done to become a pariah at watering holes?

Darling is the U.K.'s Chancellor of the Exchequer -- the Treasury Secretary. He presides over new taxes that will add 8 cents to the cost of a pint of beer, 26 cents for a bottle of wine and $1.10 for a bottle of spirits. The controversial tax is hated by publicans and patrons alike, especially since it is supposed to go up automatically on an annual basis during the next four years.

Andrew Little, manager of the Utopia pub in Edinburgh, decided as a gag to protest the taxes to post pictures of Chancellor Darling in his pub with the message "Barred." The joke has caught on and now bars across the U.K. are banning Darling.

Opposition Conservative leader David Cameron jumped on the grassroots tax protest during the weekly Prime Minister's questions session in Parliament for political gain noting "every pub in Britain" was moving to ban Darling. The government claims the tax hike is designed to fight binge drinking, but those opposed to the move point out taxes on cigarettes and gasoline have also recently been raised.


Des said...

Not to sure if he should barred in this way - more like being behind bars is the best place for him.

Jay Hepburn said...

In fairness, the tax of spirits hadn't increased here for over ten years so it was probably due an increase. 55p ($1.10) per bottle isn't exactly the end of the world, though looking at how supermarket prices have changed they've actually increased it by closer to £1 ($2) which is a little galling.

The idea it will cut down on binge drinking is a joke though - kids aren't suddenly going to stop drinking because it will cost a group of friends 10p each more to buy a bottle of cheap and nasty vodka...