It is not enough for some bureaucrats just to loaf about, coming in late, going home early, taking long lunches, and generally living the life of medieval lords and ladies. No, a few of them actually try to find work to do, usually to please their political masters, to make it look as if politicians and civil servants are in some way useful. So, in a bid to justify their taxpayer-funded index-linked pensions, the boys and girls in Britain’s Office of Fair Trading (OFT) have decided to launch an investigation into an alleged price-fixing scam amongst Britain’s three largest cigarette companies. Is there any evidence? If there is, it’s probably been written on the back of a fag packet, after some boozy Friday in Whitehall.
Did somebody forget to tell the OFT that of every £4 pounds spent on cigarettes, in the UK, £3 pounds and twenty pence goes to big fat Gordon, in the Treasury, to waste on Cabinet Office taxi fares, in the biggest monopolistic price-fixing scam of all? So the cigarette companies, those unacceptable faces of capitalism, whose golden goose profits prop up Her Majesty’s Government with billions in tax every year, are apparently manufacturing the cigarettes, getting them to the consumer, providing the retailers with a decent handling fee, and still conniving with the few pennies left to ‘rip off’ the consumer? No doubt they are also threatening rival cigarette manufacturers with menaces, if they try to ‘butt’ into their market. Maybe they have hired a few ex-Inland Revenue bottom inspectors, for the task?
However, have I got news for you, oh wondrous denizens of the OFT. Do not dig too hard and kill your golden goose. If you do, it might become a bit too obvious why it is we do live in ‘rip off’ Britain. The people ripping everyone else off are the government, and all of its agents, including the over-salaried nose-pokers in the OFT. Take another flexi-day off, for pity’s sake. Just let the rest of us get on with our lives.