The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) and the Society for Independent Brewers (SIBA) have responded by agreeing to make joint representations to the Treasury - yet again. While ministers have repeatedly argued that they cannot remove the escalator because they need the revenue for schools and hospitals (funny how they always mention schools and hospitals and never wars and nuclear weapons, isn't it?), in fact their obstinate refusal to move on this is more because of the moral panic about alcohol being deliberately stoked up by fake charities such as Alcohol Concern (fake because it's funded almost entirely out of our taxes). They don't want to be judged as soft on alcohol seeing that it is increasingly associated, in the manner of Pavlov's dogs, with anti-social behaviour and disorder.
This government set up the current system of e-petitions; to dismiss in such an offhand manner the concerns of more than 100,000 drinkers and the associations representing the industry shows the level of their respect for public opinion. Perhaps they're calculating that there aren't too many votes in scrapping the escalator. A lobby of Parliament is planned for 12 December. I've been on enough lobbies of Parliament not to hold my breath about that, but it's got to be done: in our democracy, failure to protest is interpreted as agreement. I consequently hope to be on the lobby.