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Thursday, 27 October 2011

"Why don't they believe us?" whinges minister

Public health minister Anne Milton has bemoaned the fact that, despite government warnings, some people still continue to drink above the level they say is good for us.  She also said that, despite the incidence of problem drinking, there was not currently any evidence available to justify altering the recommended safe limits.  By alter she presumably means lower - no, Anne, you don't fiddle figures that lack credibility at their current levels.  She recognises that many people simply don't believe government warnings.  I wonder why that is Anne?  Perhaps it's because politicians sometimes lie to us.  We remember the weapons of mass destruction and the dodgy dossier, which politicians of all parties fell for, but, strangely enough, rather less of the general public did; or more recently, Theresa May's conference lies about the cat and the immigrant.  On top of that, the simple truth is that most drinkers can't believe the recommended alcohol levels, especially since one of those involved in setting them admitted a couple of years ago that the figures were more or less plucked out of the air - more deceit.

In one respect, she shows some sense of reality by recognising that a minimum price for alcohol - favoured by her Labour shadow, Diane Abbott (the Lefty who sent her kid to private school) and the nanny statist Scottish National Party - is probably illegal, but steers straight back on track with her support for manipulating the market by the use of alcohol duty, such as the recent increase in duty on strong beer and reduction on weak beer that I discussed here.  I can think we can therefore safely assume that the beer tax escalator is likely to stay.

But undeniable hypocrisy comes into play when she looks at her colleagues.  She acknowledges that MPs were "susceptible" to "risky behaviour" like excessive drinking because of their anti-social hours and the time they spend away from family, but says she does not believe that any of Parliament's many bars should be shut down in a bid to make them more sober.  And no mention at all of ending the taxpayers' subsidy of the prices they pay in those bars.  With such double standards, Anne, is it really surprising that we find believing you and your mates so hard?

The original article is here.

1 comment:

  1. The fact that she is saying that High Strength Beer Duty works strongly suggests that an extension of the principle is on the cards in future. And, given that there is very little mass-market beer in the 5.0-7.5% strength band, the odds would be that the cut-off point would be at 4.5% or even 4.0%.

    I also haven't seen any evidence so far of the established beers over 7.5% having their strength cut, although obviously they cost more now.

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