Friday, 12 March 2010

Minimum chance

If I mentioned every single demand by the anti-drink lobby for minimum alcohol pricing, this blog would contain little but. However, I couldn’t let pass without comment the call from the ten local authorities in Greater Manchester to introduce a county-wide scheme. Of course this doesn’t have a cat in hell’s chance of happening, but it’s a sad reflection on local voters that they can manage to elect such a bunch of miserable, snobbish killjoys. The massive queues for off-licences just across the border in other authorities would quickly bring such a scheme to an ignominious demise – and this would of course underline the “screw-the-poor” aspect of it, as it would be those without access to cars who were forced to buy expensive booze locally.

Nick Grant, head of legal services at Sainsbury’s, hit the nail on the head when he said to the Scottish Parliament:

If you create a market for the man or woman in the white van you’re putting the sale of alcohol into the hands of people who have no corporate responsibility whatsoever.

You would find the white van in housing estates with strong lager at a compelling price.
And, of course, as the Filthy Smoker points out on the Devil’s Kitchen blog, minimum pricing is absolutely illegal anyway under EU competition law, so all this talk about the subject is just so much hot air.


  1. Years ago, Greater Manchester pubs used to stop serving at 10:30 when pubs in Lancashire stopped at 11pm: cue a form of Wacky Races as people tore out of Greater Manchester pubs for a last pint in Lancashire. That was well worth encouraging, dozy bureaucrats.

  2. I can't help thinking that the way to counteract the anti-drink brigade is by singing and praising the virtues of quality ale rather than trying to answer the critics.

    If it is true that minimum pricing is illegal under EU law then it is yet another reason to rejoice in our membership.

  3. I can't help thinking that the way to counteract the anti-drink brigade is by singing and praising the virtues of quality ale

    But that invites the obvious response of "first they came for the (insert vilified minority group of your choice)". The point is that they pick off the weakest and least popular first. Who is going to stand up for the drinkers of Frosty Jack's and own-label economy vodka?

  4. Minimum pricing (or, more accurately, price rationing) is designed to hit the poor, who are always associated with terms like 'undeserving' and viewed by the ruling classes of this country (including 'New' Labour toffs) with extreme suspicion. While some health campaigners are undoubtedly sincere, if misguided, in calling for a minimum price, there is also another agenda of social control. This is nothing new ~ the same attitudes were common in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.

    It's just ironic that the drinking of beer was originally encouraged as a safe alternative to excessive consumption of gin.

  5. The government and quangos are really playing with fire on taxation and bans. The heroin and cocaine trade are worth $135 billion a year and look at the associated social and criminal effects. Tobacco is $500 billion and according to this World Health Organization report from 2004, 2 billion people drink, twice as many who smoke, so it must be about the same turnover.

    Prohibition in the USA was catastrophic, in Ireland where cigarettes are Eur 7.50 we now have this happening and sounds like crack or heroin dealers in Brixton, Moss Side, The Bronx or South Central Los Angeles.

    "CRIMINAL GANGS are using young people to sell smuggled tobacco door-to-door in housing estates around the State, an Oireachtas committee has heard. Benny Gilsenan, a shopkeeper in Dublin’s north inner city, said 12-14 year olds were being used to offload illegal cigarettes by criminals anxious to avoid detection by garda√≠ (police)."

    We really are heading for a social armegeddon at this rate.


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