An EU headache for Gordon
British shoppers will soon be able to buy cut-price alcohol and cigarettes from the Continent without leaving home, as a result of an extraordinary legal test case that threatens to blow a multi-billion pound hole in the Treasury's coffers.
The European Court of Justice is expected to rule next week that goods can be bought in other EU states and delivered to the door while only the duty levied in the country of origin is paid. This is often a fraction of that charged in Britain.
If, as appears likely, the court rubber-stamps a previous adjudication by its advocate general, shoppers will be free to use the internet or mail order companies to find the best bargains around Europe and have them shipped home for their own consumption.
Excellent news - it means the one last remaining reason to visit Europe, to stock up the cellar, will have disappeared, and that lingering thought that I ought to go over there again can be firmly dismissed.