Cigarettes, now alcohol


At what point do we start making gin at home? Not too long if Sir Liam Donaldson has anything to do with it. The architect of the smoking ban is going to suggest that the government institutes a minimum price for alcohol. His plan: no drinks will be sold for less than 50 pence per unit of alcohol. It would of course fail to meet its aims and is a slippery slope towards prohibition.

Despite the BBC taking a clear line in favour of the move, the government it seems will not institute such an unpopular policy so close to a general election. James Purnell, Work and Pensions Secretary, has already come out in opposition, stating that ministers have no intention of going ahead with something that would punish the responsible majority of drinkers.

At some point though, cheap alcohol will be scrapped. As a Department of Health spokeswoman stated: "We have not ruled out taking action on very cheap alcohol - it's clearly linked to people drinking more and the subsequent harm to their health." The socialistic stance of the Department of Health will live on in the next government (no matter who wins) and alcohol will continue to be on the public health agenda, especially with Scotland's plans.

The most disturbing thing to come out of this nonsense is the fact the Liberal Democrat Culture, Media and Sport spokesman Don Foster has come out as a fan of plan, saying, “The Liberal Democrats have long argued that the ridiculously cheap below-cost price of alcohol in some of our supermarkets and off-licenses is a key contributor to the problem of binge drinking...We welcome Sir Liam’s intervention and hope that the Government will act." It is clearly time for Clegg to decide what it means to be a Liberal Democrat; he needs his ‘Clause IV’ moment, arguing for true liberalism in economic and social policy.