In 1944, at the height of the Second World War, Winston Churchill famously defended the right of Britain’s war heroes to enjoy a pint:
“Make sure that the beer – four pints a week – goes to the troops under fire before any of the parties in the rear get a drop.“
This afternoon at the Defence Select Committee, Labour MP Madeleine Moon demanded that the alcohol subsidy providing cheaper booze for war heroes serving overseas be scrapped. Moon, who herself takes advantage of parliament’s food and drink subsidy allowing MPs to sink cheap pints on the taxpayer, says that the subsidy at military bars in army bases abroad should be removed. According to Press Association, she said she was given the “fight of my life” when she saw the prices at a base in the Falklands:
“One thing that could be done about alcohol problems in the armed forces is tackling the high level of subsidy in bars in military units – perhaps so they were the same price you would pay in town.”
Defence Minister Anna Soubry suggested she was open to the idea, saying she wanted to curb a culture of “drinking to the point of oblivion” in the armed forces. Our politicians want themselves to have a taxpayer funded subsidy for their booze, but want to deny the same perk for the soldiers they have sent to war.