A survey by Which reveals that 56% of English and Scottish shoppers want supermarkets to charge 5p per plastic bag sold in order to discourage us all from using too many plastic bags. The average shopper users 120 plastic bags a year and supermarkets hand out 8 billion bags a year. Bags cost more or less nothing for a supermarket to order in bulk.
So what this survey says is that 56% of Britons would like to boost the profits of the big supermarkets by around £400 million a year by each handing over £6 a year. Admittedly this might make us all use fewer bags. Perhaps we would each hand over £3 a year and boost the profits of the supermarkets by only £200 million a year. Of course this is a poll tax, a regressive tax (albeit one where the money goes not to the state but to supermarkets) and the poor – who probably use supermarkets disproportionately more than the rich anyway) would be hit the hardest.
Of course the 56% who want to transfer this wealth could just save the planet all by themselves by making the individual choice to themselves use bags made from jute woven by Bangladeshi peasants and sold in the Oxfam catalogue when they go to Asda. Assuming that the 56% are capable of acting by themselves and without financial coercion that would more than halve plastic bag consumption. Since some of the 44% who oppose transferring cash from poor people to big corporations must also want to “save the planet” we might see plastic bag consumption really crash.
It goes without saying that it is the sort of 3rd rate busy-bodies who pack the assemblies of Wales (already done it) Scotland (planning it) and Northern Ireland (planning it) that are pioneering this legislation.
One of my blogroll heroes is a man called John Seymour, the pioneer of the self-sufficiency movement. I suspect he is a face at the top of this page few of you would have recognised. Seymour did not believe in the State forcing us to do anything. But equally he believes that we as individuals have an amazing power to change the way we interact with this planet through our own behaviour. It seems that most of our fellow citizens in Airstrip One do not share that view. Or are just too stupid to understand that.