The controversy over minimum pricing continues to rumble on. This despite the (English), government giving it the official cold shoulder. The Welsh-never the biggest fans of booze-Assembly are the latest to show interest in the idea. Meanwhile, cracks have started to appear in the trade’s opposition to it, with feisty Brewdog joining out-of-touch CAMRA in being in favour of punishing the working class.
Luckily, a lot of the opponents don’t bear much scrutiny. Well known Labour loon Keith Vaz, for example. The chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee has come out strongly in favour of minimum pricing, quoting alcohol as being a “major factor in crime.” Isn’t that what the government said about drugs at the launch of “the war on drugs.” Now some people might think he was cynically trying to hide from the failures of the government’s various law & order initiatives, but not me. I think he was misquoted. I’m sure he meant to say he was going to tackle the socio-economic, parental, and communal underlying causes of crime. And then celebrate with a pint. Anyway, his holy crown is looking tarnished, what with him writing dodgy letters trying to get his dodgy mates off.
Sadly, the apologist mouth piece of Rupert Murdoch-the Times, has also jumped on the bandwagon. Sounding more like the Old Farter, rather than the Old Thunderer, it lambasts Gordon Brown, claiming “but he knows, because Sir Liam Donaldson, his Chief Medical Officer, has told him that the statistics show overwhelmingly that putting up prices would cut the number of alcohol-related deaths - and dramatically at that.” Except that they don’t. Still, as with alcohol units, don’t let the facts get in the way.
A more measured response has come from the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR). They don’t believe in a one-size-fits-all approach and suggest banning below-cost selling would be a better option. One thing’s for sure. This one will run and run.