Things about which, embarrassingly for them, they haven't a scooby.
Consider this from yesterday's edition of BBC Radio 4's You and Yours programme. The subject was the illicit trade in tobacco (about 5 minutes long from 12:57 in). Talking to a Liverpudlian who exclusively buys his supplies from white van man at the local pub - saving around £2.50 per pack - the BBC interviewer asked about the effects of Osborne's 37p tax hike in the budget.
BBC: Does the rise in duty, then, have any effect on how much you are smoking?This, of course, is basic economics. If you charge too much, and there is a grey or black market in the same product, you will inevitably increase demand in illicit supply. Additionally, if a tax is seen as unfair, it will be begrudged and often avoided. There isn't an economist on the planet who would contest that.
Geezer: Makes you more likely to go round the pub, really. The dearer things get, the cheaper you want to get hold of them.
BBC: Don't you feel guilty at all? Shouldn't you be paying tax like everyone else?
Geezer: Not really, because other countries in the EU are paying less. I think there's a lot of tax on the likes of cigarettes and booze. I don't feel guilty at all about going elsewhere. No.
Tobacco control do, though. You see, they're the experts on everything. They've already re-designed the laws of physics and chemistry to advance their agenda, why not the principles of economics too?
Joy (shome mistake, shurely?) Townsend of the London School of Health and Tropical Medicine (who just happens to have been on the editorial board of ASH's state-funded production, Beyond Smoking Kills) was quizzed immediately after this clear evidence that tax rises encourage the illicit trade.
Can you guess what happens next? You got it.
BBC: There must be a tipping point where you are forcing poorer people to buy their cigarettes without paying duty.Common sense be damned; human nature begone; Laffer Curve cower in the corner. Joy said let there be bullshit and, lo, there was bullshit. The Church of Public Health hath pronounced.
Joyless: Well, it's very interesting because [...] the tobacco companies always say that. If the tax goes up, this is going to increase smuggling. And they say it, it's one of their many deceits as it's not true.
Before this gem of idiocy disappears from the Beeb forever, do go listen if you are able as it's a work of art. Watch out, too, for the guy from the Liverpool Alcohol and Tobacco Unit who seems to think that plain packaging has already been implemented.
Perhaps he has received a memo we aren't allowed to see.