It's not only Putin who can defeat the UK government, supermarkets can as well. Years ago legislation was enacted to impose a 5p charge on the shoppers of England for each plastic bag given out by shops with more than 250 employees, and it came into effect by ministerial order yesterday.
The money is supposed to go to "good causes" although rather mysteriously the order does not actually mention that.
Was there squealing and whining from the big supermarkets? No, there was a suspicious silence as they plotted to defeat the purpose of the government. Before "bag" day we heard little from the big shops; they didn't inform their customers of their plans or advise any preparations.
And lo, on charging day we see what they have been planning. We were expecting to have to pay 5p for each of those ultra-thin semi-useless bags. But no, they are gone, no-longer available in any form and for his or her 5p the customer gets a multi-use bag and the promise of endless more multi-use bags for free as and when the first wears out.
The contribution to "good causes" will likely be 20p per shopper, in total, ever. And since it looks like the government was planning to keep the "good causes" money anyway, tough.
However anyone still determined to get their bag for free should note Schedule 2 section 2(1)(f) of the order, which stipulates that if you slip a live goldfish into the bag then you get the bag for free!