I've mentioned many times that the campaign for minimum pricing of alcohol is just a further means of control. Once the feet are under your living room table, they'll be ramping the price up at every possible opportunity.
When this small snifter doesn't produce the right buzz for the righteous, and it won't, calls will go out (not from the likes of us, natch) for something further to be done and the 50p, 60p, or even 70p unit and beyond is then only a circle jerk away.Snowdon has warned you too, in many places.
There will only be calls for the minimum price to rise to 60p, 70p, 80p, and those demands will never end.And as night follows day, our government have confirmed that this will, indeed, the case. Here it is, bold as brass straddled across pages 3 and 4 of the government's statement of intentions.
The 40p unit proposal is a Trojan horse. Once it becomes law, the temperance lobby will have a powerful weapon with which to incrementally raise prices. If 69p for a can of lager is “pocket money”, is not 89p or 99p also loose change? There is no correct price for alcohol. For the temperance lobby, the answer to the question of how much a drink should cost will always be “more”.
If 50p proves ineffective, we can surely expect campaigns for a 60p, 70p and 80p unit price in the years ahead.
Given the Government’s decision to introduce a minimum unit price, the debate has been about the level at which it should be set – whether it should be 40, 45 or 50 pence – but the setting of a minimum unit price will not be a one-off event. Once a minimum price is introduced, if it is judged to be successful, the level will need to be monitored and adjusted over time. A mechanism will need to be put in place in order to do thisWe're talking here of a committee which will be entrusted to decide what the price rises should be, because you can be damn sure they won't be recommending reductions even in the very direst of recessions.
One way of setting the level would be to establish an advisory body (there are a number of these already, dealing with a range of issues) to analyse evidence and make recommendations to Government.Now, how many people who believe in self-determination and freedom of choice do you think will be included in that body?
I'll give you a clue. Take a look at previous Department of Health 'impartial' evidence-gathering.
Meanwhile, the pub industry - who have been exhaustively fighting the beer duty escalator for years now - seem utterly clueless that minimum pricing is another cute donkey which is going to kick them very hard in the future, as Pub Curmudgeon pointed out last year.
There is such a lot of waking up and coffee-sniffing to be done in this country.
UPDATE: The Department of Health has pulled the report from its website for some reason. Fortunately, it had already been picked up and reproduced elsewhere.