I can’t say I’ve been the greatest fan of Health Secretary Andrew Lansley since his appointment last year – far too much of a Nanny Stater for me (although no worse in that respect than his predecessor). However, he came out with some surprisingly blunt common sense last week on the subject of minimum alcohol pricing:
He said that there were “big problems” with the idea, which he said would penalise the poor, fall foul of EU competition laws, and do little to tackle the kind of dangerous drinking seen in town and city centres on Friday and Saturday nights.Roll on the day when this misguided, illiberal and élitist policy comes before the courts and gets struck down. I really do look forward to seeing the egg plastered over that face of that smug, sanctimonious git Salmond.
Lansley’s government colleague Chloe Smith was speaking on similar lines last week. Interestingly, in that debate, some backbenchers “condemned Tesco for marketing tactics that encouraged shoppers to buy from English stores when minimum pricing for alcohol is introduced in Scotland.” You do have to wonder what else Tesco are supposed to do. It would undoubtedly be illegal for them to stop Scottish people buying from English stores, and I doubt whether it would need much if any publicity for canny Scots to realise they can get a bargain in Carlisle Tesco.