As reported here last month, the government gently floated the idea of plain packaging for alcohol during their investigations in advance of the trumpeted alcohol strategy.
The drinks industry have since removed their fingers from their ears long enough to pooh pooh it. They've listened to those nice, kind, honest upstanding MPs, you see.
Darran Britton, marketing and strategy director, Carlsberg UK, says that he will not be distracted by the discussion about plain packaging. 'The government has stated its direction within the recently published alcohol strategy,' he explains.
'This does not refer to plain packaging for alcohol. We are focusing on the areas raised in the alcohol strategy.'
This view is shared by Tim Lefroy, the Advertising Association's chief executive. 'Plain packaging didn't appear in the alcohol strategy, because there is no evidence that it will reduce harm,' he says. 'The government has since reiterated that it is not in their plans, and rightly so. The idea lacks precedent, and confuses problem drinking with branding,' he adds.Aww bless. They're still under the impression the government requires evidence, is true to its word, and cares if a pet idea is loopy or not.
I believe, however, that the most telling quote in the article contains a very significant three letter word.
Alcohol Concern, often a thorn in the side of the industry, was surprised by the proposal. Emily Robinson, its director of campaigns and fundraising, says: 'We'd like to see more action on labelling, but we haven't called for plain packaging, yet.'Give them their due, at least their anti-smoking counterparts used to fiercely deny policies which they knew full well would be vigorously pursued in due course. Alcohol Concern don't feel the need to be so coy.