Well, there was certainly an echo of her Politics Home piece, in the form of the gem we keep hearing, ad nauseam, from anti-alcohol campaigners.
[...] the Sheffield study showed that minimum pricing at 50p per unit would only add an extra £12 a year to the cost for moderate drinkers.This being one tiny number in a table on page 140 of this 570 page report (the actual figure is £11.81).
Though she was hampered, for at least a while, by a certain (teetotal) esteemed blog mascot of ours. Here are a few highlights.
As a libertarian and a believer in individual freedoms, I had hoped that the country had escaped from the nanny-state health police with the end of the previous Labour Government but, sadly, I was clearly naive in that thought.(NB, this is in opposition to a fellow Tory!)
The very principle of minimum pricing goes against all my Conservative instincts and beliefs—the free market and freedom of choice.
Minimum pricing treats all drinkers the same, and penalises—financially and practically—the overwhelming majority of adults, all those people who drink alcohol responsibly and in a socially acceptable way, causing harm neither to themselves nor to others.Bravo! That dig must have been memorable too, considering this Twitter exchange between the two last night.
... people should be free to spend their own money as they so wish, without having to obtain the permission of my hon. Friend before they decide how to live their life, in particular if no one else is affected; it is their responsibility.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies produced a report on minimum pricing that found that poorer households, compared with richer households, on average pay less for a unit of off-sale alcohol. ... As a result, a minimum price of 40p or 45p per unit would have a larger impact on poorer households and virtually no impact on richer ones.
I worry where this will stop. Will my hon. Friend the Member for Totnes return to the House in a few months’ time and urge us to ban the advertising of cream cakes, pizzas, chocolate, fish and chips or curry, because they are all bad for us if eaten to excess? This is a slippery slope, and certainly not one that I am prepared to support.
Our boy also made a very sage prediction.
I will not give way, because plenty of other people want to speak and time is pressing. I will happily debate with him [Lib Dem John Pugh] in the Tea Room or at some other point, although I am the only one arguing from this perspective, I suspect.Bang on! If you read the whole debate, it was one pompous arse after another rising to honk like seals at the prospect of inflicting extra cost on every low-paid adult who enjoys alcohol, while increasing - according to the same page of the same Sheffield report Wollaston refers to - income to the off-trade by around £225m.
Where on Earth are Labour on this? Where is the outrage? Well, actually, there was one who was clever enough to have worked it out.
Eric Joyce (Falkirk, Labour): It is all very well for those who are not affected by it, but essentially [minimum pricing] is aimed at the least well-off, who may continue to spend the same amount on alcohol, or more, because it will be more expensive for them, and spend less elsewhere.And in quickly spotting Caroline Lucas's clever sleight of hand, he had this to say.
The hon. Lady has switched from white cider to wine, the implication being that people who drink moderately drink wine. In fact, she is arguing that less well-off people should pay more and middle-class people should pay the same. That identifies that the problem is only with less well-off people.Yup.
Of course, other Labour contributions were sadly ignorant of their voters' interests. Diane Abbott - despite facts showing otherwise - claimed alcohol consumption is on the up, while Valerie Vaz would have had Alcohol Concern doing backflips with this supreme example of self-righteous paternalism.
There should be a change in licensing hours and pubs should shut at 10pm again.Crikey! How does that grab you, CAMRA? You really are backing the wrong horses, you know.