You might think that the political party that purports to stand up for the working classes would see a golden opportunity to attack this patronising, élitist assault on the lifestyles of the poor by a bunch of public school toffs, but sadly nowadays Labour seems to have been taken over by a bunch of Islington champagne socialists who give every impression of holding the actual working classes in deep contempt. On this, and similar issues, there is nothing to choose between the major political parties, as indeed I said before the election a couple of years ago.
It also doesn’t seem to have gone down too well with many of Cameron’s natural supporters – for example this article by Graeme Archer in today’s Daily Telegraph:
Government-controlled pricing for alcohol is similarly stupid, and how depressing to see a Tory-led government introducing it. This is classic policy misdirection, from the school of Paul Daniels. There is a town-centre, Friday-night problem with drunks; it’s not a media fiction. But increasing the cost of a bottle of wine and strong-arming supermarkets to make drink more expensive for Polish builders is not going to achieve anything, other than – perish the cynical thought in my head – to increase the income of the Exchequer. Every little does not always help, Prime Minister, and I’m willing to bet a tank of petrol that after five years of making wine more expensive, the newspapers will still be able to produce photographs of drunk women in sticky heaps at the end of a night out, “having it large” in Gin Lane.And it would be richly ironic if the plan ended up being scuppered by EU competition law, as suggested in the lead story in today’s Daily Mail. Would Cameron really want to play the Eurosceptic card over minimum pricing?
A further thought that occurs to me is that, if we’re going to have minimum pricing, what is the point of High Strength Beer Duty? And what benefit will be gained from low strength relief, when even weak beer will still have to adhere to the minimum price?