I don't always see eye-to-eye with Simon Heffer, as he is basically a conservative while I would regard myself as more of a libertarian, however he often talks a lot of sense, as in this piece about the effects of the rise in beer duty (you'll need to scroll down the page a bit).
But the real killer of the boozer is going to be the Government's rapacious accelerator on alcohol taxes, which, as with petrol, means they will rise faster than the rate of inflation for years ahead. It is rubbish to say this is about targeting binge-drinking louts and loutettes: it is about milking respectable people who indulge in one of life's few pleasures. Not enough has been made of this outrage in last week's Budget. The easiest response for brewers is to close pubs and concentrate their activities on supplying the anti-social supermarket trade: I, and many others who like to go to a pub, would rather they organised themselves to wage war on the Government instead. The cynicism and dishonesty of the assault on middle-class drinking habits is disgusting even by Labour's standards: toast its failure today.