I’ve always thought that Nigel Farage was a decent enough cove, a bit rough and ready, but generally rather sound. And since he has experience of the real world, his attitude towards taxation and business is generally quite sensible.
But unfortunately, I think Mr Farage has spent just a little too much time in the EU and it has started to warp his mind:
Cheap supermarket alcohol is a “big problem”, Bacon says. Farage interjects: “Generally I’m in favour of the free market, but I think the pub is such a vital element of community life that if you allow supermarkets to go on doing what they are doing there wouldn’t be anything left.
“I think we should have some degree of minimum pricing in supermarkets.”
But when it comes to pubs being “tied” to a particular “pubco”, there is a different tune to be sung:
For Bacon it’s not so much being tied to certain products that’s the problem, it’s the price levels that mean she can’t compete with the freetrade.
“I think there has to be a degree of liberalisation,” says Farage
How odd. So depending on who you are, Mr Farage will either push up the price at which you can sell drinks, or enforce competition to force the price at which you can sell drinks down. So what happens when Tesco gets into the pub business, or Punch Taverns gets into the groceries business?
And how is this pandering to a special interest group that happens to share common ground with Mr Farage a good basis for governing the rest of us? If I wanted some lobbyist-accommodating micromanager of the economy (who will always get it wrong), I’d say we already have someone who is very skilled at all of the above already in power.