Blood on the Tracks

The fallout from yesterday’s bombshell continues with Tory backbenchers queuing up to condemn their leader’s decision to impose minimum pricing for alcohol.  Philip Davies summarised it nicely: ‘It’s gesture politics of the worst kind, it’s the Nanny State running riot. It’s a tax on poorer people – it won’t affect the price David Cameron pays for a bottle of wine.” And this comes from a loyal Tory MP.

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. 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.


Curmudgeon said…
"pissed-off, piss-poor and drinking piss-water"

Yes, sums it up, really ;-(
Steve Lamond said…
"they have a better record on alcohol matters than this current lot." who brought in the beer duty escalator?!
Tyson said…
Yes, but who didn't bring in minimum pricing etc and did give us the most liberal piece of licensing legislation for a generation. No contest, really.
Curmudgeon said…
But what's to say Labour wouldn't have brought in minimum pricing had they been re-elected, given the head of steam that has built up behind it over the past couple of years?

And the Tories introduced afternoon opening in the 1980s which makes far more difference to me than staying open beyond 11 pm (which many of my local pubs don't do anyway).
Tyson said…
Surely the point is that they didn't? That remains a fact and it's rather pointless to speculate on what they might have done.

As for licensing, that's a very personal take on it. I honestly don't think there's any doubt as to which has had a bigger impact. The introduction of 24 hour licensing-even if not taken up by all-was a massive mindset change.
RedNev said…
What's to say that Labour wouldn't have brought in child labour, cock fighting and slavery?

I'm with you Tyson, and I really like the fact that my local stays open to midnight at weekends, as do the many other drinkers who are there too. That makes more difference to me than afternoon opening, as I rarely drink in the afternoon.
Cooking Lager said…
The split in the Tory party is between free market Thatcherites that do not like market rigging and older school Macmillian types that have a patronising paternalism for the working classes. Dave is of the latter, his party is of the former. This split is also behind the bigger Europe split

The Labour party have lost their traditional working class support and now have little more than contempt for their own grass roots. They used to be split among socialist and social democrat lines but it is now little more than contempt for their own.

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