The government’s proposal to introduce a minimum price of 50p per unit of alcohol is regressive taxation at its worst. It is an attack on both the poor and on the middle class, the seasoned drinker and the responsible drinker. For a “Conservative-led” coalition to implement a statist, anti-market, high tax raid is counter to the historic role of the Conservative Party. The joke that only the PM and Jeremy Heywood back the policy has more than a ring of truth to it.
This week Boris entered his champion of the people mode, bashing Dave for “hitting the poorest hardest” with minimum alcohol pricing. Osborne thinks it could actually cause a drop in takings from alcohol duty, and Theresa May, who is responsible for pushing it through, is said to be “cool”. Health minister Anna “Super” Soubry – as she is ironically known by her less than enamoured colleagues – admits responsible drinkers will be hit. Ken Clarke says it won’t work, James Brokenshire agrees it penalises everybody, even the LibDem minister Jeremy Browne isn’t on board. It is also worth noting that David Davis is a particularly strong opponent.
The Cabinet is against, but the PM is steam-rolling it through. You can tell Dave what you think in the poll below…
Before Christmas the PM rejected calls for a royal commission on drugs, arguing somewhat unfeasibly that the current policy was “working”. Despite that Clegg has moved in the right direction coming out as pro-liberalisation, packing off Jeremy Browne “Sugar” to Amsterdam on an, ahem, “fact-finding mission”. Tonight a new Ipsos Mori poll shows that 53% support either the legalisation or decriminalisation of cannabis.
Two thirds want a review of all policy options, rather encouragingly that figure increases to 70% among Conservative supporters. A Portuguese-style decriminalisation of drugs is also backed by just under half of the population. Dave is resisting the British public’s freedom to party…
With Murdoch hinting that Page 3 is “so last century”, po-faced critics of boobs are campaigning with new vigour today. So much so that Guido is launching #SavePage3.
They do not speak for everyone…
The old guard laughed when newbie pollsters Survation started showing an ascendancy pattern for the UKIP vote last year, yet today a third pollster has UKIP at around 20% for the Euro elections and now they are giving Nick Clegg a kicking on the home front too. Ipsos Mori report that the party are beating the LibDems into fourth place on general election voting intentions. There is hardly cause for celebration for Ed Miliband either - 75% of Tories are satisfied with Cameron but just 53% of Labour supporters are happy with their leader. Bad news all round for the pro-EU parties.
Pollster Andrew Hawkins warns Cameron…
“…the party loses more votes than it gains as a result of the policy, and that former Conservative voters are especially less likely to return to the fold.’
Well this one has got people chatting this afternoon. Guido’s favourite figure is that more people would rather not go for a drink with either Miliband or Cameron, but the other figures are rather intriguing.
Labour are ahead, but not thanks to their leader.
Tories are behind, but it could be a lot worse without Dave.
The recent plots have been on the wrong team…
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Osborne is a Failure | Telegraph
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I’m Depressed | John Woodcock MP
Labour’s Error Filled Energy Market Analysis | ManicBeancounter
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The Truth About Richard Peppiatt | Dennis Rice
We’re All Patriots Now | Quentin Letts
Nigella on her coke use:
“I don’t have a drug problem, I have a life problem.”