Sources have confirmed to the Telegraph that the Coalition will not attempt to implement the Prime Minister’s plan for a 45p per unit minimum price.
This is still not official, but Sarah Wollaston went into full "help me, I'm melting" mode last night on Twitter so I guess she knows something. She's since appeared on television repeating the lie that alcohol costs the NHS and the police £21 billion a year to deal with. In fact, these costs are much lower than this and are amply covered by alcohol duty. Even if this were not so, minimum pricing would put a further cost on the population without raising any more tax revenue.
The shadow home office minister, Labour non-entity Diana Johnson, has accused Cameron of "weak leadership" which is a bit rich when you read her own evasive and wishy-washy statement on minimum pricing. But the former shadow home secretary, David Davis, really seems to get it...
"It won’t just hit those, it’ll hit poor people. It’ll hit people in the north. It’ll hit the pensioner having their one bottle of wine a week; it’ll hit the hard-up couple doing the same. It’s going to cost…it’s going to transfer £1billion from the public to the people who sell alcohol, and it’s not going to work.
Unusually for a politician, David understands that medics should not be lawmakers and that their evidence is suspect...
“If I wanted medical advice I’d go to a medic. This is a social policy issue: it’s much more complex than saying put the price up and we’ll stop it... The medics are not evidence. The medics are making an argument; they’re not actually presenting evidence to show that this works. I’ve not seen anywhere that this works.”
After Stanton Glanz's bollocking and the court decision on Bloomberg's soda ban, this is turning out to be a pretty good week. Plus it's No Smoking Day today and the government hasn't used it as an excuse to pass more draconian anti-smoking laws. Oh, and that crank Aseem Malhotra has been pulled up for getting his facts wrong again. Happy days.