Blog: Cameron leaps aboard the (alcohol) wagon
Chris Mercer | 16 February 2012
Ever the self-publicist, prime minister David Cameron is frightened of losing moral ground over excess drinking.
Adopting his paternal, creased-brow-'concerned' demeanor, Cameron this week stood inside a National Health Service hospital (yes, we still have them) to tell the UK that he is taking all this alcohol stuff very seriously.
From Cameron's voicemail (joke), I understand that there has been some consternation within Government about the Department of Health's hands-off approach, particularly on pricing. Banning sales below the cost of duty and VAT isn't going to do much to prices and Cameron knows it.
Therefore, the Government had better be seen to be at least thinking about doing something else. Maybe it will go further, maybe it won't. What matters right now is that everyone in Government is very concerned, very concerned indeed.
You could read more into it, of course. For one, if higher pricing can be achieved via higher tax, who do you think will get the money?
Second, in this week's speech, Cameron is tackling alcohol from a public order perspective. The insinuation is: 'get as pissed as a lord in your own garden, but chuck the beer cans over the fence and we'll nail you.' Or, lock you in a "drunk tank".
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