I mentioned in my analysis of the Conservative Green Paper on Public Health that they wanted to create a Department of Public Health and used behavioural economics to make us all change our behaviours to be healthy. I pulled out some of their policies including this one:
"We will treble duty on alcopops, we will significantly increase tax on super-strength beer and we will more than double tax on super-strength cider."I pointed out that the Conservatives say they are low tax, but they were still going to use tax as part of their "behavioural economics".
This is from a party who say that they will tax us less. This is a policy that will clearly affect moderate drinkers of these beverages.
Then in this week's budget Alistair Darling did just that, he increased the tax on cider. So perhaps the Tories were right all along? Cameron certainly thought so in his response:
"Remember our tax plan for super-strength cider? When we announced it, the Chancellor's spokesman said that that was illegal. It is now official Government policy."
But then Cameron flip-flops and says:
"The Government has made a mistake. They don't understand the West Country, they don't understand this part of our country and they've got it wrong. Of course we need a higher tax on the dangerous high strength, things like White Lightning, which have as much relation to an apple as I do with Gandhi. But proper cider that people like to drink down the pub, we shouldn't be having a great tax hike on that."
Clearly the Conservatives are just that: an opposition. They oppose. That is all they do, and when the government changes its mind the Conservatives change their minds so that they still oppose the government.
Clearly the best place for the Conservatives is on the opposition benches since that is what they do best!