And it seems that the European Court of Justice agrees with me.
Nicola Sturgeon’s plans to fix a minimum price for alcohol has suffered a huge blow after the European court’s top lawyer ruled it would infringe EU law on free trade.Let’s hope that nails the idea once and for all. Nicola Sturgeon must be looking like she’s swallowed a wasp this morning. Maybe Cameron should now throw down the gauntlet and propose devolving alcohol duty to Scotland.
In a formal opinion on Sturgeon’s flagship policy, the advocate general to the European court of justice, Yves Bot, has said fixing a legal price for all alcoholic drinks could only be justified to protect public health if no other mechanism, such as tax increases, could be found.
Bot’s opinion is expected to mean a final defeat for the Scottish government’s efforts to be the first in Europe to introduce minimum pricing – supported by leading figures in the medical profession and the police, after several years of legal battles.
Another group who won’t be happy are the prohibitionists’ useful idiots in CAMRA who deluded themselves that increasing the price of cheap lager in Tesco would bring customers flooding back to pubs to still pay four times as much. To be fair, CAMRA did drop its official support for minimum pricing a couple of years ago following a motion (co-proposed by Tandleman) rightly making the point that it put them on the wrong side of the argument.
In general, I’m no fan of the EU, but it does have its uses in standing up for free trade and fair competition.