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Martin Bell, on how he maintained his journalistic integrity and avoided arguing a case:
"I didn't even do it in colourful language. I avoided using adjectives most of the time, because your pictures are your adjectives. I stopped using verbs towards the end."
Coming soon: Newspaper reports composed entirely of prepositions and nouns!

Malcolm McVicker (sp?) on tuition fees, after the Institute of Physics has announced it's offering a thousand pounds a year to new undergraduates:
"I have a basic problem in that if you want to discourage people from smoking, you put the price of cigarettes up. If you want to discourage people from drinking too much, you put the price of alcohol up. How come the argument works the other way around in higher education?"
The answer, of course, is that the argument doesn't work to start with. They put up the price of fags and booze on a regular basis, but it doesn't seem to have slowed anyone down just yet. Whoops.

Why Jenny Tonge said she could empathise with suicide bombers:
"We have to try to understand, and I do not accept that it gives any sort of green light to anyone. In fact, it may do the reverse. We have to understand what is going on, and what makes people that desperate, before we can pursue the peace process."
I think I agree with her on that.
 
 
 
 
 
 
It's McVicar (he's our pro-vice chancellor and we're very proud of him for making such noise, though I agree with you that that strategy hasn't exactly worked for either alcohol or cigarettes).
That's because he's talking about price. Which is very different to cost.

Work out how to increase the cost, and you'll deter more people. Making people pay a bit more, however, isn't going to work magic.
Drifting away from my original point somewhat, but doesn't, say, lung cancer ensure that the cost of smoking is already pretty damn high?
That's a potential drawback, not a cost.
...

You're just messing with me here, aren't you? :-p

(OK, I give up: What's a cost?)
Ewwwww. Broken url.
Oops, sorry. Which one?
Jenny Tonge
Ah, got it. Fixed now - thanks.
They put up the price of fags and booze on a regular basis, but it doesn't seem to have slowed anyone down just yet.

Except of course, many people are getting their supply elsewhere.
I'm sure they are. I'm not sure they're a significant group compared to everyone who just grins and bears it, mind...
Estimated £2.5bn in tax revenuebu tobacco smuggling. The Tobacco Alliance says the treasury admits tobacco smuggling costs them £3.5bn a year but I'm not inclined to trust anything they say.
Estimated £2.5bn in tax revenuebu tobacco smuggling.

...Which represents about a quarter of packets bought being smuggled. Admittedly that's higher than I thought, but it's still not that high. And more relevantly, smuggling is apparently not caused by increasing the tax on cigarettes, so the original argument still isn't valid.
Dude, don't talk valid arguments to me. You're comparing a physically addictive substance to education. :P

And I'm not sure of the precise difference between duty and tax.
What? No I'm not. The guy on the radio did, and I'm pointing out how silly it was.
... shush, I only got up an hour and a half ago. Anyway, had he picked different non-addictive products his comparison would be fine. Fags and booze and the like don't have regular demand curves. Not sure whether education does.
As I recall, there was a study done about this, which worked by collecting all the discarded fag packets dropped during football matches. Of these, IIRC, about a third were smuggled imports.
Anal economics point: tobacco and alcohol are inelastic goods. Because they're addictive a change in price won't alter the demand that much. This is one of the reason why addictive drugs tend to be priced pretty highly; you can hike the price as much as you like and addicts will still have to pay it. Putting up the price of alcohol/tobacco just might discourage a few people from taking them up, but it won't discourage those who already smoke/drink.

I'm sure someone somewhere has done a study on the relative price elasticity of education compared to addictive substances.

Oh, and word to Jenny Tonge.
Putting up the price of alcohol/tobacco just might discourage a few people from taking them up, but it won't discourage those who already smoke/drink.

Well...yes.

I'm sure someone somewhere has done a study on the relative price elasticity of education compared to addictive substances.

Just one more degree. One more term. One more exam. I can take it!
Price elasticity is a really valuable lesson.

Similar products for such pricing are:

Petrol/gasoline
Food (especially staples)
Anime (oh, I guess that's only me *g*)

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Actually, that does bring up a more serious point: there's a very similar demand curve for some luxury goods - where higher price not only increases their demand, but profitability is no longer tied to volume of sale.

Take diamonds for example - it drives me utterly mad that people pay so much for scraps of carbon; only marginally rarer than hydrogen in our bloody universe.
And more relevantly, smuggling is apparently not caused by increasing the tax on cigarettes,

Your own link says:

"Approximately one third of internationally traded cigarettes (350 billion per year) are eventually sold illegally with the avoidance of duty."

You may be referring to this:

"Cutting tobacco tax cannot solve the problem of smuggling. Even if all countries levelled exactly the same level of taxes and had identical prices, smuggling would still continue at a large scale."

But as the link later mentions: this is a factor of enforcement as much as anything else.

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To your starting argument "that the argument doesn't work to start with. They put up the price of fags and booze on a regular basis, but it doesn't seem to have slowed anyone down just yet."

You are actually incorrect in part:

Higher per unit costs can work, but they aren't high enough yet to make discernible change yet. My guesstimate would be a price of around 10 quid per cigarette will begin to have a noticeable effect.

Moreover, there needs to be far higher enforcement of existing duty laws for there to be a decently successful crackdown on smuggling - and have a serious look at ramping up all the laws and enforcement if there is an increase in duty as well.

Then there are the particulars of tobbacco addiction (physical with extensive social reinforcement given a psychological dimension), and that the hardest costs of use/abuse aren't felt for decades.

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Still, a very important model for what one might expect from a properly decriminialised cannabis policy. Terribly difficult to get a product that has always been varying degrees of black market out into the open - the incentives are going to be limited for existing retaillers; though high for wholesalers and producers (largely: more fluid revenue; not having to bother with difficult/expensive laundering operations and cash-based transactions; even if they have to start paying taxes like a legit business).
I am decidedly unorthodox in my view about this:

As a military tool, for people who do not have the technology to compete evenly, is entirely a legitimate military tool, even a tool for political impact.

That is entirely apart from groups like Hamas who are using said tool for aims that are entirely apart from the best interests of Palestinians or Israelis. (or for Colombians, Sri Lankans, Americans, and Muslims for that matter).

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Thus, 'suicide bombing' is every bit a legitimate (and undesirable) military tool as a nuclear bomb.
(Deleted comment)
Hello! Yes, Blindness is fantastic. I have All The Names and The Stone Raft sitting around waiting to be read somewhere...

Other reviews I write will likely as not be posted to instant_fanzine as here. But I'll also post to this journal to make sure people know about it. ;)

(Oh, and I won't be offended if you defriend me after a week or two. Not that I want you to defriend me, either...It's just, well, you know how people can be about the whole friending/defriending thing. Basically it almost never bothers me either way, so on the off-chance you would have worried about it, don't!)