Gordon Plans to Water the Workers’ Beer

As sterling plummets against all currencies (apart from the Pakistani Rupee) Guido’s thoughts turn nostalgically to Jim Callaghan, a former Chancellor who became Prime Minister in 1976 and presided over a sterling crisis (what crisis?). He once sung a little ditty to the Labour Party conference that seems appropriate this morning –

I am the man, the very fat man,
That waters the workers’ beer
I am the man, the very fat man,
That waters the workers’ beer
And what do I care if it makes them ill,
If it makes them terribly queer
I’ve a car, a yacht, and an aeroplane,
And I waters the workers’ beer

The relevance of this is that the government is briefing that Gordon Brown will take personal charge of a package of measures to create a “cultural shift” away from the epidemic of binge drinking. Does the PM think this the priority issue facing the country or is it just Stalinist control-freakery?

There is to be a Downing Street summit. According to the Indy “Ministers are also contemplating moves to raise the tax on the most potent beers and mixers associated with binge drinking by putting duty on units of alcohol. Mr Brown is also being urged by Labour MPs to force supermarkets to raise the minimum price of drink to reduce the attraction of cheap alcohol.” Yes, Gordon’s the man, the tax man, that taxes the workers’ beer…




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