Or so is minimum pricing south of the Border, according to a report in today’s Sunday Telegraph. Isn’t it fun when the wheels come off a stupid and ill-considered plan? Apparently, even Cleggy finds it a bit “illiberal”.
A well-placed coalition source said: “Minimum alcohol pricing looks dead in the water and the search has begun in Whitehall for an exit strategy which will allow the maximum amount of face saving.The odds must be shortening now on that face-saving strategy including an above-escalator duty rise in next year’s Budget. Hopefully all the useful idiots who imagined minimum pricing might help pubs will feel duly pleased with themselves when that happens. Why not just attack sky-high duties for what they are, an unreasonable imposition on all drinkers, rather than portraying a duty cut as a magic bullet for pubs?
“You have now got an alliance which includes the current Home Secretary and the minister responsible for the policy, the former health secretary, the Education Secretary and the Deputy Prime Minister. They see it as a tax on the poor.”
And it makes Salmond’s position in Scotland look increasingly untenable. How long before he retreats with his tail between his legs, no doubt blaming the English as he goes?