The Home Office have stated that they are predicting a "just over 3%" reduction in sales if a 45p unit price is adopted. Of course, this is based on shoddy policy-based evidence commissioned from Sheffield University specifically for the government's purposes, but let's ignore that for now.
Here is how alcohol consumption is trending according to statistics on alcohol sold per capita.
From 11.5 litres per head in 2004 to 10.0 litres per head in 2011, consumption is already falling by a thimbleful below 2% every year.
So, say minimum pricing was installed tomorrow and there was a 3% reduction in consumption for the following year, would the Home Office claim that it was a success? I think we know the answer, don't we? Cos they is lying bastards.
But wait! The government has also been trumpeting the success of their responsibility deal, which they announced as having taken one billion alcohol units out of the marketplace. What percentage does that represent? Coalition MP Norman Lamb has helpfully provided us with the answer.
"One of the consequences of the responsibility deal is that by 2015, 1 billion units of alcohol - about 2% - will be taken out of the market, and that will help some problem drinkers significantly."That's, presumably, an extra 2% on top of the ongoing 2% trend, yes?
But then, as we are constantly told, there is this 'epidemic' of drunkenness which for some strange reason isn't borne out by official statistics. Perhaps there is an imminent increase in wild, crazy alcohol consumption to come.
Well no, apparently not. You see, the independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has predicted that consumption will continue to diminish right through to 2018 [opens in Excel, table 2.11] An 'epidemic' that has been declining for best part of a decade and is predicted to carry on spiralling downwards for another five years is not particularly scary, I'd venture.
Still, let's crunch the figures anyway.
My little iPhone calculator here says that - based on average strengths of beer, wine and spirits - we're talking another reduction in consumption of about 2.4 billion units by five years time. If one billion is 2%, that's another 4.8% or a percentage point per year, give or take.
Therefore, to achieve the fabled 3% reduction solely through minimum alcohol pricing, there would have to be a reduction in consumption in excess of 8% - or thereabouts - in the year after it is made law if minimum pricing is to be hailed as a success.
No, of course it won't happen. The current decline - which has been evident for at least seven years now - will be held up as proof positive that minimum alcohol pricing has worked. The minority who favour it (mostly public-funded health lobbyists) may even throw in a heart attack miracle or two as well, they like that kind of junk stat.
We've seen it all before, haven't we?
But more importantly, what's the point? If alcohol consumption is already falling; if it is predicted to carry on falling by the OBR; and if the responsibility deal is working as intended (despite alarmists saying it wouldn't, by the way), why the need for a deeply divisive policy whose design will undoubtedly take money from the less well off and give it to the not-so less well off?
It does beg the question, doesn't it? Is this a class thing?