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And there was I thinking that Customs & Excise exists purely to farm taxes....

But how wrong I was in dismissing customs (1), douanes, zollbeamter (2) etc, judging from this comment by EU Taxation and Customs Commissar László Kovács:

"without efficient customs control at the EU's external borders, the Single Market would never have been possible".

Erm, no, László. The single market would have been possible without customs controls, just as it is possible for there to be a single market in London without goons in peaked caps stationed at the outer borough boundaries.

(1) I know it is HMRC these days, but my point is about border taxation, not general taxation, and 'customs exists' as a headline jarred. A lot.

(2). A somewhat odd German teacher at my alma mater insisted that the way to impress the ladies was to declare 'Ich bin ein zollbeamter'. The phrase stuck, although having tried the line on a few frauleinen, it has never been that effective.

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Blogger Blue Eyes said... 2:15 pm


Anonymous verity said... 3:49 pm

God, I hate them.  

Blogger Nick Drew said... 6:14 pm

there is a terrible German joke about ein zollbeamter, but being typically German it is not for a family blog

perhaps this is what your teacher had in mind  

Blogger Tuscan Tony said... 7:22 pm

Michael Bentine was there over 40 years ago, with a skit about a crop that grew only under woven blankets; when mature, it was harvested but had only one possible use - in the manufacture of said crop-sheltering blankets.

So it its with much, if not most, of gummint.  

Anonymous nomad said... 6:24 am

Suggest next time you try: Ich bin ein Hamburger. If she says: Yup, I'm feeling a bit peckish now you come to mention it... you know you will be home and dry! Guaranteed.  

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