The Tories have unveiled radical plans to crack down on the binge-drinking culture.How, exactly, is that ‘radical’?
They would treble taxes on alcopops and strong lagers and ciders, outlaw 'loss leader' sales in supermarkets and strip takeaways and food stores of late-night licences.
I mean, teachers were doing this when I was at school: ‘OK, no-one’s owned up to writing ‘School is rubbish!’ on the bike sheds, so you’re all staying in detention’. It’s called ‘collective punishment’.
I didn’t care much for it at school, and I don’t much care for it now…
Such tax changes would mean a four-pack of extra-strong lager such as Carlsberg Special Brew costing an extra £1.30, a bottle of powerful cider an extra £1.25 and a bottle of alcopop an extra 50p.So The Dave’s strategy for the coming election is going to be ‘Vote for me and I’ll raise taxes!’
Tory leader David Cameron believes 'serious changes' are needed amid growing evidence that the availability of cheap alcohol is wrecking people's health and fuelling violence and anti-social behaviour.Most people would regard falling prices as a good thing. But not The Dave, who is tuning in to his inner Puritan.
Alcohol-related crime is estimated to cost the economy £7billion a year, and almost half of victims of violence say their attacker had been drinking. Yet alcohol is around two-thirds cheaper in real terms than in 1980.
It seems he’s been hanging out with the wrong people, who have reinforced this view:
Mr Cameron spoke out after joining police on patrol in Hull.Yes, we have. But not by raising taxes and punishing everybody.
He said: 'Drink-related violence and crime are a massive problem. We need to look at the unbelievable availability of very cheap drink, getting three litres of cider for £1.99, at all hours of day and night. We've got to do something about this.'
I’m sure the cops did give you the impression that this is based on cheap booze, and that if you removed that, the people fighting and spewing and collapsing in the street would all go home and read the Bible instead.
But it’s just not true.
Higher prices, the party believes, will prompt youngsters and potential problem drinkers to buy less or switch to weaker products.I just love the word ‘potential’ in there. Gives you so much leeway, doesn’t it, Dave?
The tax change would mean price increases for high-strength beers in pubs and bars.You bet there would!
Though such products represent a fraction of sales, there would be concern about any rises when pubs are already closing at an alarming rate.
On supermarkets, Tory sources say the Government has made repeated threats but failed to act to stop them selling drink at below cost price as a loss leader to draw in customers.Well, of course. It must be the drink, mustn’t it?
Such promotions have been blamed by police for much of the binge-drinking and violence plaguing town centres.
It couldn’t possibly be the fact that we've raised an uneducated, amoral generation accustomed to doing exactly as they please, or that the paperwork imposed on the police means arresting a drunkard takes them out of action for hours, or that the useless justice system has a revolving door for these people, could it?
But Ministers have shied away from a ban amid fears that responsible drinkers would object to paying more when their living expenses are already hit by the recession.The fact that Labour politicians, the most corrupt, illiberal and incompetent bunch in this decade, have looked at this and said ‘Oooh, no, that’s going a bit too far’ doesn’t give you pause?
The Tories say that, if elected, they would change the law to ban loss-leader sales of alcohol.
Quoth The Dave:
'We want to encourage personal responsibility.Say what?!?
People have to be held responsible for what they do, and if they behave badly having drunk too much they should feel the weight of the law, they should be prosecuted.
Is there anything between The Dave’s ears? Other than cotton wool & the slavering desire for power?
How the hell can you say, in one breath, that you want to ‘encourage personal responsibility’ and then, in the next, bleat about how you plan to remove the demon drink that’s ‘causing’ them to do bad things, you utter, power-hungry, unprincipled cretin?
And step forward the new High Priest of the Temperance Movement to cheer you on, and urge you to even greater excesses:
Professor Ian Gilmore, a liver specialist and president of the Royal College of Physicians, said last night: 'It has become quite clear that voluntary partnerships with the drinks industry aren't sufficient, so we would welcome legislation in this area.This is the sort of NuPuritan you now have backing your plans, Cameron, and urging you on to even more illiberal legislation.
'The prices of cheap alcohol are a number one problem, but it would be insufficient just to tackle loss leaders. There is a lot of discounting going on, such as offers encouraging bulk-buying, that wouldn't be stopped.
'And tax will have to go up quite considerably if it is to change behaviour.'
Are you proud of that? Or does it really not matter, as long as you get to step through the door of Number 10 Downing Street?
The Devil has more , and a good roundup of initial reaction across the blogosphere. Which it's safe to say, isn't good.