There’s also been criticism over the lack of notice beforehand; with parliament only receiving two hours advance warning. And on a Friday, which are traditionally reserved for measures of pressing national urgency. And of course no one has been fooled by bringing this forward from Monday that the real reason was to deflect attention away from the so called “granny tax”.
And while Labour can’t exactly claim to be fighting the good fight-except in Scotland, where they stand alone in opposition to minimum pricing-they have a better record on alcohol matters than this current lot. The shadow home secretary, Yvette Cooper, bridled Theresa May as being a “human shield” for Cameron and Osborne.
And how did Ms May take this accusation? Not very well, apparently. She actually said-and I am not making this up-that Labour should apologise for the ‘disaster’ of the Licensing Act. A disaster? The single greatest achievement of the previous government? A piece of liberalising deregulation that any old school Tory would be proud of? I think not, madam.
Of course, there’s nothing like the scent of blood to bring the vampires out. Step forward Katherine Brown of the misleadingly named Institute of Alcohol Studies. Sounding more like a rabid dog than a scientific adviser, she spouts such nonsense as “a tsunami of alcohol harm at the moment, caused largely by the huge availability of very cheap alcohol on supermarket shelves”.
Luckily we have the liberal press to speak for reason and sense. Er...no we don’t. The Guardian, who are quite happy to pay Julie Burchill to lecture us on the use of the “chav” word, see it as justified intervention. And as for the Daily Mirror, that prohibitionist rag is only fit for wiping your arse on. They blather on about it being wrong “when cider is cheaper than water”.
So rather than all being in it together, it seems we are cast adrift alone is a leaky lifeboat. It’s enough to drive you to drink. Except that the government has announced they have strong-armed many in the industry into watering down their products. It seems we are destined to be pissed-off, piss-poor and drinking piss-water.