A minimum price for booze? That’s just middle class puritanism

David Cameron has labelled the British culture of drunkenness a “scandal”, and the Daily Mail has described binge drinking as “creating a generation of aggressive and out-of-control women”.

If the scaremongers are to be believed, Britain is sinking into a bog of alcoholism of the sort depicted by William Hogarth in the 18th century.

Not only is it apparently unsafe to walk the streets on a Saturday night without being accosted by the human debris of our binge-drinking culture, but the medical treatment of those facing the long-term consequences of hitting the sauce is said to be slowly bankrupting the NHS. Continue reading

A tax on the drinking classes

I am not a champagne socialist. But that is solely because I do not actually like the stuff. Otherwise, I fully endorse the maxim of the late Christopher Hitchens that cheap booze is a false economy. Give me Glenmorangie, or give me death.

It is a pretty fair bet that David Cameron thinks along the same lines as the Hitch. The assumption has to be that £4.15 Tesco’s red has not been the vino da tavola of choice among the Chipping Norton set this festive season. There is a reason why fancy schmancy wine from Bordeaux is called Cru Bourgeois and not Cru Prolétarienne. Continue reading