Saturday, 24 March 2012

Screw the poor

Well, pretty much everything that could be said about the government’s minimum alcohol pricing plans has already been said, for example by Chris Snowdon and Brew Wales. 40p a unit may not seem all that much, when 4x440ml cans of Carling are already £4.29 in Tesco (61p a unit), but inevitably, once the principle has been established, there will be a constant clamour from the anti-drink lobby for further increases. How long before we see a “minimum price escalator”?

You might think that the political party that purports to stand up for the working classes would see a golden opportunity to attack this patronising, élitist assault on the lifestyles of the poor by a bunch of public school toffs, but sadly nowadays Labour seems to have been taken over by a bunch of Islington champagne socialists who give every impression of holding the actual working classes in deep contempt. On this, and similar issues, there is nothing to choose between the major political parties, as indeed I said before the election a couple of years ago.

It also doesn’t seem to have gone down too well with many of Cameron’s natural supporters – for example this article by Graeme Archer in today’s Daily Telegraph:
Government-controlled pricing for alcohol is similarly stupid, and how depressing to see a Tory-led government introducing it. This is classic policy misdirection, from the school of Paul Daniels. There is a town-centre, Friday-night problem with drunks; it’s not a media fiction. But increasing the cost of a bottle of wine and strong-arming supermarkets to make drink more expensive for Polish builders is not going to achieve anything, other than – perish the cynical thought in my head – to increase the income of the Exchequer. Every little does not always help, Prime Minister, and I’m willing to bet a tank of petrol that after five years of making wine more expensive, the newspapers will still be able to produce photographs of drunk women in sticky heaps at the end of a night out, “having it large” in Gin Lane.
And it would be richly ironic if the plan ended up being scuppered by EU competition law, as suggested in the lead story in today’s Daily Mail. Would Cameron really want to play the Eurosceptic card over minimum pricing?

A further thought that occurs to me is that, if we’re going to have minimum pricing, what is the point of High Strength Beer Duty? And what benefit will be gained from low strength relief, when even weak beer will still have to adhere to the minimum price?


  1. More disconnected,disjointed and misinformed thinking from this administration.

    Disconnected from the electorate - the people they are there to serve (not rule)

    Disjointed - as evinced by your piece

    Misinformed - or at least very selective in their choice of expert opinion concerning alchohol (consumption, health harm/benefits, correlation with anti-social/violent behaviour)

    Or am I missing something? Could it be that they really just don't give a flying f%*k about anything but the vested interests that they represent and from whom they will derive more "power", influence and wealth?

    What a complete shower the Coalitionistas are ... in fact most of the "political class".

    No wonder so many people in this country just want to get smashed out of their minds!

  2. And of course there won't be any unintended consequences, will there?

  3. The GP who represents Truro would like to see 50p/unit duty - not minimum price, duty. That would add something like £2.70 to a bottle of wine.

    I had assumed she and her ilk were fringe nutters in the Tory party, but obviously, they're being taken seriously and represent them.

  4. Do you mean Dr Sarah Wollaston who represents Totnes? She gives every impression of being a commie masquerading in Tory colours. Whatever Tory colours are nowadays...

  5. I think it was her that, when Cameron promised to sort out the scandal of the cost of problem drinking in February said "these figures show that cheap alcohol is anything but" . Well, now she's nearer to being proved right of course.

  6. Sarah Wollaston is my MP, for my sins. I wrote to her re this minimum pricing explaining that it would clearly dent my already bare wallet and she replied stating amongst other things that 'she wants to reduce deaths and violent crime from harmful alcohol
    As she is a G.P. and admits she drinks 'harmful' alcohol she somewhat scores an own goal.
    Either way, you can complain all you want, they are not listening and none of them has since 1997. What a miserable Country this is becoming.

  7. I agree with most of what you've written, Curmudgeon, but using the word "socialist" when talking about the Labour Party is rather quaint. I'd describe them nowadays as being a cross between Social and Christian Democrats.

  8. No, I used the term "champagne socialist" which is a contradiction in terms ;-)

  9. Alongside free market inclinations the Tories have long had a sense of Victorian paternalism to the working classes.

    We will see which side wins.


Comments, especially on older posts, may require prior approval by the blog owner. See here for details of my comment policy.

Please register an account to comment. To combat persistent trolling, unregistered comments are liable to be deleted unless I recognise the author. If you intend to make more than the occasional comment using an unregistered ID, you will need to tell me something about yourself.