A Rant About Tampon Tax

November 2, 2015
That's Not News

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Because pictures of me in my garden were just too frivolous to bear, here’s a preview of this week’s column on tampons (other sanitary products are available and are also subject to the arse hole luxury tax. FYI alcoholic jelly shots are exempt from that same tax, not a luxury you see…)


Do you remember that time at school, aged around 10 or 11, when the painfully awkward teacher pulled you and all the other girls aside to give you that rite of passage life choice: menstruation or….not? Where were you? Bad day to miss, my friend.

As an aside: In my mind this fictitious ritual happened in the style of Michael Palin dishing out crucifixions in the Life of Brian.

‘Menstruation?’

‘Er, no, it’s freedom actually.’

Sadly, and how the hell has it become necessary to say this out loud, menstruation is not a choice, not an option, not something that half of the world can just bin off if they don’t fancy it. Month in, month out women are paying luxury tax on the absolute necessity of putting foreign objects in and about their nether regions. Nether regions? Did I just become the most British person that ever there was? Not to worry ladies, I read somewhere you can get a nice, tasty, (maybe absorbent? Try it) kangaroo steak exempt from that additional tax. Wins all round. And, your man can be clean shaven without paying the luxury tax on his razor blades so there’s that too.

Last week our MPs, the men and women we elect to do right by us all, decided that it wasn’t worth going to Europe to tackle this issue that only affects half of the population. And the logistics of the taxation were ‘a bit difficult’ for the PM to give a direct answer to in response to a very direct question. British politics: reassuringly farcical.

Aside from the fact that it is fundamentally wrong to tax something that allows half of the people to carry on about their daily business unfettered by biology and that the removal of the tax might only save pennies for us all, there are some very real, very hard decisions being made by women all over the country about whether they can afford that dignity. And it is a dignity, a right, NOT a luxury. Have a little humanity.

We may well be being charged the ‘lowest tax permissible under EU regulations’ but the whole things is still a bit of a balls up really isn’t it? Ha.  And it’s the job of those lauding it around Parliament to challenge the absurdity of a tax, be it 75%, 25% or ‘just’ 5%, on something so unquestionably necessary.  Perhaps the loss of dosh from cutting the tampon tax could be balanced out by levying an Utter Cretin Tax? The revenue from that could cover free tampons for life the whole world over. Charlie dreamt up a whole list of alternative taxes – all of which are more palatable that this one.

Basic human rights aside, saying ‘oh, it’ll be a bit tricky to challenge it in Europe’ has hacked off gazillions of hormonal women. Good luck with that Westminster, there aren’t enough Twixes in the universe to make up for it.

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