So here comes the sugar tax. Oh, I know it’s all very worthy and is being heralded by the likes of Jamie Oliver as a breakthrough on the road to reducing obesity, but really? Is that what Georgie (piggy snake eyes) Osborne is really interested in? I hate the nanny state and the brainwashing it spews out. Salt is bad for you, fruit is good for you, sugar is bad for you, wholemeal bread is good for you, alcohol is bad for you, blah, blah, blah. Yes I know all that, but it isn’t really your bloody business.
Of course it won’t stop with sugary drinks. It’ll be cakes, biscuits, wine, even the sugar we put in our tea before long. Then it will be fat, salt (again), white bread, cheese, red meat, processed foods. In fact we will get to a stage where we can only buy government approved foodstuffs without paying extra for them. It will be lettuce and bean curd for tea again then.
Osborne is only interested in extra revenue and reduced spend pure and simple. He’s not interested in health benefits to make people better. In fact he’s making a whole lot of people’s health and wellbeing worse with the cuts and taxes he’s bringing in. Our corrupt politicians have always been good finding new ways to stealing money from people, even if it means making their lives worse not better.
None of this crap is new though. People like to play games so in the 16th century playing cards were taxed. Then in 1710, the English government dramatically raised taxes on playing cards and dice and people made their own to avoid the tax although, if they were caught, they were charged with forgery. This tax was not removed until 250 years later in 1960.
In 1660, Parliament put a tax on fireplaces. This tax led to people bricking up their fireplaces to avoid paying a tax they couldn't afford and just froze to death instead. A few years later, in 1696, light was taxed when window tax was brought in, taxing houses based on the number of windows they had. This led to many houses having very few windows in order to avoid paying the tax and you can find bricked-up windows all over the country to this day. Eventually people were building houses with so few windows that it became a health problem leading to the tax’s repeal in 1851, over 150 years later.
So, there we all were sitting around in the dark during the day and freezing our codpieces off. At least at night we could all huddle around a candle or two. But not for long; the window tax made houses dark inside so people lit their homes with candles rather than stumble around and break their necks falling over stray sedan chairs. But that was short lived because, not wishing to miss a taxing opportunity, in 1789 a tax on candles was introduced and people were forbidden from making their own candles unless they obtained a license and then paid taxes on the candles they made.
Of course (no pun there) bricking up windows cost the government money, so in the 1700’s they decided to tax the bricks the houses were made from. Builders soon realised that they could use bigger (and thus fewer bricks) to pay less tax. But the government caught on and placed a larger tax on bigger bricks. This one lasted 150 years and changed the way houses were built. Even interior design was targeted. In 1712 a tax on printed wallpaper was imposed. This led to people hanging plain wallpaper and then hand-painting their own designs on their walls.
There was still some money in peoples pockets though. So in 1784 they brought in the hat tax and to avoid this tax hat-makers stopped calling their creations ‘hats’ which led, a hundred years later, to a tax on any headwear including caps, bonnets, and bobble. The tax was repealed in 1811 and a new age of hats began. Tax is a a real fashion driver. Along with the reduction in hat wearing in 1795, and to make sure that heads were really cold (whilst they sat in the dark without a fire) they put a tax on the aromatic powders that men and women put on their wigs so people stopped wearing them altogether, apart from high court judges who were exempt.
At least those old politicians were up front about it though.They didn’t pretend to be trying to improve people’s lives through faking concern for their health. They just wanted money to build gunships. Salt was a great product to tax because consuming it (despite what we are being told by the medical profession today) is necessary for humans to survive, especially in hot climates. The good old British Parliament decreed a tax on salt throughout the Empire which killed swathes of those bally natives, gaining worldwide attention when Gandhi staged protests against it.
Back in blighty, we are the only country in the world to have a tax on televisions. If you own one, you must pay an annual fee (a television license or a tax by any other name) even if you don’t watch the BBC. Even blind people have to pay fifty percent of this tax and let’s face it most TV is crap. And of course we are still paying tax on bricks, candles, hats, wallpaper, and all the rest. It’s called VAT and applies to just about everything from digital books to tampons currently.
People used to joke about being taxed to breathe fresh air. No, that could never happen could it? But if we ever clean up all the pollution in the atmosphere to make it fresh just watch the government tax us on it… Oh, they already do don't they. It's called green tax.
And with that I am done. It's all too taxing to continue.