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Leading Article: False prophets

THESE ARE worrying times. And not just because Nostradamus is thought to have predicted that the world would end this week. For, even if humankind survives the next few days, we must still prepare to face terrible and cataclysmic occurrences. Companies will go bankrupt, jobs will disappear in their thousands, airports will close, ferries will be mothballed. Or is it just that the sayings of the travel industry during its long, boring and duplicitous campaign to save duty-free shopping were as bogus and rooted in reality as those of the 16th-century French astrologer?

We are told by the purveyors of duty-free that they will simply keep their low prices and pay the extra cost of the duties from their profits. How high those profits must have been! Now, despite our government's gullibility in fighting - and failing - to save duty-free, it looks as though we will all be winners: customers and exchequer alike.