The Sunday Telegraph reports that, in the forthcoming budget, Alistair Darling is planning to increase alcohol duties by even more than the swingeing “alcohol duty escalator”, with the potential of a staggering £8 a bottle rise in the duty on spirits. Of course, that won’t happen, but it’s not hard to see a £2 a bottle increase. I’m sure the pensioners who enjoy a nightcap of Tesco’s own brand Scotch will appreciate that. Any above-inflation duty increase will also be yet another kick in the teeth for the beleaguered pub trade. I wonder what the risible Minister for Pubs will have to say about that. Well, I don’t actually, it will be nothing.