After having shown some positive signs of actually being prepared to stand up for the rights of adults to drink alcohol responsibly, CAMRA now seems to have slid back into the delusion that appeasing the anti-alcohol lobby might prove beneficial to pubs. Now, I’m not particularly bothered about 35p a unit minimum pricing, but it is wishful thinking to believe that if you make off-trade drinks a bit more expensive it will actually tempt people back into pubs, where it will still be much dearer.
And I was dismayed to see even qualified support being given in the leader column of July’s What’s Brewing to the Scottish proposal to raise the minimum purchase age in the off-trade to 21. Now that’s going to look really good when you’re trying to recruit young people, isn’t it?
Historically, the anti-alcohol lobby have tended to turn their spotlight on pubs and give the off-trade a relatively easy ride. The fact that the off-trade has now become an easy target does not mean that they have become any more convinced about the desirability of pubs. In reality, they loathe both with a vengeance and are happy to do anything that will restrict the ability of adults to drink alcohol, full stop.