May 092009

Occasionally after work, Mr Smug Git and I repair to the local watering-hole and, lubricated by a pair of pints, proceed to sequester the pub’s copy of the Sun and roundly take the piss until (a) we run out of beer money, or (b) he has to get on the train back home.

Yesterday, most unusually considering the front pages of all the other newspapers in Christendom, the Sun carried no mention on its own front page of MPs’ expenses. Instead, the top stories were something to do with footballers being rude to referees, and this:

DD-Day: THE SUN’S campaign to axe the Marks & Spencer bra tax ended in a stunning victory last night.

‘We boobed,’ say Marks & Spencer. ‘In these times of economic trouble, we won’t charge £2 extra for Bras of Unusual Size.’

The Sun’s ‘Hands Off Our Boobs’ campaign, which I managed to miss entirely whilst it was being waged, appears to have championed a bizarre cause, but now that I think of it, hurrah for the Sun!

Because, for what is not a particularly complicated or cloth-intensive garment, the simple brassiere is one of the most expensive pieces of women’s couture. A rapid search of the M&S website ‘by price’ reveals that the most inexpensive bra they offer at the moment comes in at £8. (If one desires the matching knickers, it’s a further £3.) By contrast, one can purchase two tops for the same price, at £4 apiece.

Good on the Sun, I feel, for ensuring that large-busted women are not penalised by a £2 extra charge. It is bad enough that women fork out for these ridiculous apparatus anyway; those blessed (by nature or surgery) with generous chests shouldn’t have to pay even more for what is, let’s face it, two little triangles of cloth connected by a bit of cheap elastic and wire.

Somehow, however, I doubt the Sun will espouse the other women’s cause that is truly outrageous: the blatantly sexist charging of VAT, however reduced, on menstrual items that only women need – but not, let us remember, on things like Jaffa Cakes.

Tell you what, Ms. Harman: instead of championing economically stupid plans that actually hurt women (over-generous maternity leave, flexible working hours, shoehorning females into top banking positions a la affirmative action, etc), why don’t you take a page out of the Sun’s book and get this tampax tax eliminated?

  2 Responses to “Sol Invictus”

  1. I do not understand the fuss about M&S bras.

    If you buy something in a larger size, which (obviously) uses more material in its manufacture, why on earth would you not expect it to cost more?

    And btw VAT has nothing to do with Harriet Harman, or any other member of the provincial government; VAT is a matter for the Supreme Government in Brussels, so you are addressing the wrong outfit entirely.

  2. Well, Andrew, I suppose because, in the world of clothing, the size 0 dress costs the same as the size 18 dress, and the 28in.-waist trousers cost the same as the 38in.-waist trousers. Have you never noticed this before?

    As for VAT, it was certainly my impression that provincial governments have some control over how much it is and what it is applied to; VAT charges vary enormously across the EU, and I seem to recall Alistair Darling fiddling with it last autumn. So I reckon Harman, even if she can’t alter the tampax tax herself, could put pressure where pressure is needed.

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