Interesting to see that the Tories’ plans for minimum booze pricing made the top of the news agenda. It was announced on Friday in the Commons: on Fridays, the Commons is usually deserted. Only three government statements have been released on a Friday this century: the Iraq war, swine flu, and Libya.
This may have been designed to deflect media attention away from the Budget. It was ‘bought forward’, after all.
We in the guild think that Budget-wise Cameron may have been expecting an easy ride from the press barons and their rich middle-class editors, but (even though they were probably wanking in the bogs over their personal windfalls) the ‘papers won’t alienate their readers by justifying the budget’s clear discrimination against the poor and against the pensioners. The press in the UK love their championing of hard-working families and those that they see have worked hard and are saving for their pensions. After all, these folk are the targets of the advertisers that the papers need to attract.
Theresa May was a human shield for the front bench when she was wheeled out to announce this policy of making a half bottle of vodka go up from £3.80 to £4.20 like it was some kind of bloody national emergency. Cameron was in Scotland speaking to the Scottish Tories. Presumably in a very small room.
But we in the guild note the attention this policy announcement got. It looked like the Tories were saving you from maurading drunken Northern teenagers who are hellbent on puking in your garden and are costing the NHS billions. What a laugh! They’ve been supported financially by the big brewers and distillers since the year dot.
We wonder how the booze manufacturers and the Tories’ supermarket owning mates will react. The minimum pricing idea is still a long way from draft legislation, so there’s plenty of time, probably 6 months or so, for the booze lobby to put its point across.
Earlier in the week there was this “Public Health Responsibility Deal collective pledge”, the Health Secretary (Lansley) and the booze-mongers announced. So Friday’s policy ‘roll-out’ has made this, and Lansley, look stupid. He said it was the perfect example of the party of business working with business. 48 hours later his party are describing “mayhem on our streets” and “fear in our communities” like we’re in the middle of a zombie movie.
It’s enough to turn you to drink. Perhaps Peter Cruddas is free for a swift half.