Letter: Beer from France flows through Dover

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The Independent Online
Sir: Siza Agha (letters, 23 May) provides helpful precision on the legal position of smuggling beer across the Channel. He does not, however, explain how it is that, with all the draconian powers he describes, customs officers at Dover still stand by while massive loads of beer are dragged under their noses. If the effect of the Single European Act is to stay the hand of officers at the very point where smuggling is most obvious, even greater power to intervene at a later point is of precious little use in practice.

Your other correspondent, D. B. Whitehouse, asks why we shouldn't buy British beer in Calais. I can think of several reasons. First, because while it would benefit the French treasury it will cost British taxpayers dear. Second, because it is taking business from British off-licences and other stores. Third and most important, because it is closing pubs, the traditional place where the British have consumed their ale for centuries (and a big employer, taxpayer and tourist attraction to boot).

Finally, because it's absurd. Taking beer to France and back before drinking it is worthy of Lewis Carroll.

Yours faithfully,

ALAN MEALE

Chairman

Parliamentary Beer Club

London, WC2

24 May

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