Bojo recently got into trouble for proposing we scrap the Sugar Tax on fizzy drinks, however I must say on this issue I like the cut of his gib. "The law will never make men free it is men who must make the law free". These are words Thoreau would never have thought would apply to sugary drinks (Coca Cola was still Cocaine based at this point). However they are poignant in the debate today.
As an Englishman I am currently taxed on my income, imported goods, value added, stamp duty, capital gains, and then, in death, my inheritance. Is it then fair that after a long day of work (half the profits of which the state will hoover up) I cannot sit down and enjoy a reasonably priced Coca Cola? The very notion that a tax on sugary drinks will stave off the lard bear of obesity is absurd. I for one stayed obese my entire childhood with minimal fizzy drinks. All this really does is cover up our failing in teaching kids to love sport.
No longer do children take great enjoyment from the pic and poc of leather on willow, the awkward outtake of breath as the hammer is heaved or the ferocious slapping of a squash racquet. It is little wonder most UK adults are more sedentary than a river bed. It is about time we stopped targeting those who can least afford it with oppressive taxes.
We are meant to be the party of personal freedom, of the big society and the small state not the aggressive nanny state. Indeed, we may soon see a Conservative Government introducing a similar alcohol strategy to the SNP in Scotland. Our food and drink are the best labelled and regulated in history, people deserve the choice of what to eat and drink without some excessive tax burden. Although I don't believe in Karma Jamie Oliver's recent financial woes do bring me some solace as it was this softly spoken spawn of Satan who introduced the tax in the first place.
At the end of the day it comes down to the simple notion of trust. Do we as a party trust Britons to make the right choice or do we just assume we are a nation of gluttons who will die young? Even then, in a world of 12 month roadworks, 8 taxes on a croissant and Green peace, who are we to demand people not take the comforts they can find?
The point is once we tax sugar products we are letting the government into our larder, pantries, cupboards and fridges and opening the door for an Englishman’s home to no longer be his castle.
Alex Honey (non-university member) is an undergraduate in his first year at Exeter University, and Chairman of the Exeter University Conservative Association.