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Does Cameron have a secret deal with the EU to get his alcohol strategy off the ground?

Ban it! Ban it all! You are not trusted to make the ‘right’ choices.

Whilst Cameron’s ramblings have been covered at length, I have not seen is anything on why exactly he seems to be so sure that the minimum pricing initiative will not get kicked out when it gets to the EU.

Theresa May seems pretty sure that a challenge would be a non-starter as in this Telegraph snippet :

“We’ve based our assumptions on a unit price of 40p. Obviously we are consulting on it.

“This is aimed at… dealing with this culture which means that some people think that a good night out is actually pre-loading, so drinking at home, getting drunk at home on cheap alcohol, going out, drinking some more, and then causing problems and mayhem in our town centres.

“What we do want to do is to affect the cheapest end of alcohol where those sorts of offers enable people to really do this pre-loading. So many people now just get drunk before they go out, that’s what causes the problems in our town centres.”

She added that “deep discounting” in supermarkets was also a problem.

“One of the things that we will be looking at, if it we think it is right to ban these [discounts]… obviously it would be possible for the Government to legislate on this”.

She dismissed concerns other ministers have raised that such a ban would be illegal.

And, reading through the various reports, they all seem pretty damn sure if will not be an issue.

Whilst the intelligence of our government can be questioned on a daily basis, I doubt they will have launched into this major offensive without testing the waters somewhere.

My guess here is that it has already been cleared by the EU Commission as part of a deal with Cameron to not rock the boat any more after his non-veto veto pantomine perfromance.

The other possibility, of course, is that he has finally grown a pair and wants this to get slapped down by the EU so he can make some grand “sovereign decisions” (see Spain in an earlier post) and tell the EU to stick it. The would actually require somethign to grow in the first place and, unfortunately, I can’t see any of these forelock tugging, kowtowing fuckers doing anything of the sort.

Interestingly, there is one good bit to come out of this strategy announcement and that is an appearance on the BBC website, finally, by the new face of righteous bansturbation, Eric Appleby who took over from the slimy Don Shenker at Alcohol Concern :

Doesn’t he look like a cheerful fucker?

Interestingly, he has a wonderful record of working in the state funded world of fake charities and mostly likely has a degree in shroud waving as well :

Eric Appleby is an experienced independent consultant specialising in work with the voluntary sector, but drawing on experience that encompasses the public, voluntary and private sectors.  He has held senior positions in the key voluntary sector bodies, including serving three terms as Chair of the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations (ACEVO) and in 2000 won the Charity Awards overall award for Excellence in Charity Management.

As an aside, have a quick google of the term Don Shenker because my favourite result is still number one!

One thing you can be sure of when it comes to more taxes and more opportunities to remove our money for our own good is that Labour will jump in and immediately start spending the proceeds of the price rise on more interfering initiatives to poke, probe and prod us to live how they want :

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said the Labour Party supported the idea of a minimum unit price, subject to debate about where it should be set to ensure it worked.

“The government needs to make sure it does not just create a cash windfall for the supermarkets, instead of lowering prices of other goods or supporting better prevention and treatment of alcohol abuse to cut crime further and save lives,” she said.

As for where this leads next, The Adam Smith Institute blog has an excellent piece which nails the bansturbators strategy exactly :

The “evidence-based” arguments made for minimum alcohol pricing are, in fact, based on distortion and bad science. The policy is paternalistic, indiscriminate, and only hits people who are frugal or on lower incomes. Slippery slope arguments are common, for good reason. But they’re especially appropriate here.

The idea behind minimum alcohol pricing is that all drinks must cost at least a certain amount per unit of alcohol in them. The figure being used right now is 40p per unit. On that 40p figure, the price of cans of (say) Becks would go up to at least £1, bottles of wine up to about £3.70, and so on.

If that sounds harmless, it’s because the temperance lobby have a clever strategy. Most people won’t oppose the principle of minimum alcohol pricing at such a low price level, because it won’t affect what they like to drink. But once the principle of minimum alcohol pricing is in place, the minimum price will climb inexorably upward.

The politics of this are straightforward but effective: target the most marginal, “problem” group – in this case, binge drinkers – with a low minimum price to pass an apparently-trivial law.

Once it’s in place, raising the minimum price is like boiling a frog. Bring the heat up slowly and steadily and, before people know it, they’ll be in boiling water. It’s what happened with cigarette duties: now taxes account for over 80% of the price of a packet of fags.

The justifications for this are completely, utterly bogus. Britain does not have a drinking problem: as ASI fellow Chris Snowdon has pointed out, we drink less today than ten years ago, less than a hundred years ago, and far less than we did before that.

Today’s anti-alcohol “health campaigners” are more akin to the American Prohibitionists. For them, the state is the ultimate weapon with which to impose morality on the masses.

And this, really, is why I hate minimum alcohol pricing so much. It’s puritanical fascism. That fear that someone, somewhere, may be having fun can finally be eliminated using the power and violence of the state.

Finally, for me, the worst part of today’s announcement is this one line :

Ministers said last night they had agreed a deal with major supermarkets and alcohol firms to reduce the alcohol content of some brands.

Shady, backroom deals without recourse to legislation or debate, most likely conducted under the threat of a big stick if they refuse to play ball. If I were one of these manufacturers I would greet these nameless “ministers” with a cheery fuck off!

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