Well, it’s all kicked off today with the government announcing a consultation on a 45p per unit minimum alcohol price. There’s little to say that hasn’t been said before, but if you read nothing else, read this article by Chris Snowdon on Six reasons to reject minimum alcohol pricing.
Also well worth reading is this post on Heresy Corner in which the author sees it as a personal obsession of Cameron’s even though he knows it is bad politics. This quotation is a classic.
The Minimum Price, while long demanded by the health lobby (which seems to believe that reducing the chance of early death is the only goal worth striving for in life) is only being forced on England because it is Cameron's personal obsession. Cameron has a regrettable tendency - it's the most irritating thing about him - to go off on moral crusades. He likes to ride a high horse, even though it usually turns out to have been lent to him by the husband of Rebekah Brooks.And see this from Jackart too.
You might think this offered an open goal to the Labour Party who could portray it as a snobbish move by public school toffs to curb the pleasures of the working man. But the problem is that Labour are just as keen on it as the Tories, if not more so. It has been said that the British Labour Party owes more to Methodism than to Marx, and in the sense of their general puritanical tendencies there is much truth in that. They have always seemed to think that the working man would be much better off attending an improving lecture at the Mechanics’ Institute than down the pub or the bookie’s, or on the beach at Benidorm.
Labour now seems to be dominated by privileged Hampstead socialists who look down on the actual working classes of this country with profound contempt. As someone brilliantly put it, within one generation in the eyes of the Labour Party the working class went from "the salt of the Earth to the scum of the Earth". Whereas once you had the noble Stakhanovite coal miner, now you have white van man. So not much hope of any effective opposition from that quarter.
Edit: and here’s a blogpost on Why Labour should oppose minimum alcohol pricing. I’d be very surprised if they did, though.
I tend to think Jackart’s prediction in the post linked to above is very likely:
This policy will be declared illegal under European law as the Scottish experiment is shot down. Cameron will use that as a pretext to drop a policy in which he's invested, but on which the rest of the Cabinet is less less keen. He will use it, like the votes for prisoners, as something on which he will "stand up to Europe". We will still hear the confident assertions medical/political complex go unchallenged on the Today program.And the risk is then that they will seek to replicate the policy through the duty system, which would at least be legally watertight. All you self-proclaimed pub-lovers who signed the duty escalator position, but still think minimum pricing might have something to be said for it, be very careful what you wish for.