In recent times the Daily Telegraph has become the chosen vehicle for adherents to the Church of Public Health to peddle their myths and lies. And now they're upping the game by claiming that the Prime Minister has ordered that minimum pricing or unit-based taxation in included in the forthcoming "alcohol strategy".
The Prime Minister has ordered officials to develop a scheme in England to stop the sale of alcohol at below 40p to 50p a unit in shops and supermarkets. Ministers could copy Scottish proposals, which would ban the sale of alcohol below 45p a unit, or bring in a more sophisticated system of taxes based on the number of alcohol units contained in the drink.
Apparently Mr Cameron is taken in by lies:
Mr Cameron is thought to have opted for a “big bang” approach to the alcohol problem after noting the success of the ban on smoking in public places.
In public health terms the smoking ban has been at best a damp squib and at worst has halted the decline in smoking by forcing smokers into private "drinky-smoky" places where they don't face the sniffy opprobrium of non-smokers.
The idea of minimum pricing is peddled to us with claims that the only people who would pay the cost are either chronic alcoholics with bottles of White Lightning or unpleasant wall-perched chavs with cans of lager. The rest of us - sensible drinkers all - will not even notice.
The worst thing about all this is that those street drinkers and hooded youths will do one of three things - change to a different drink, buy illegally smuggled booze or drink moonshine. And they'll still end up in hospital with liver problems.
What is truly offensive about this is that people who need help - care and appropriate medical treatment - are to be taxed rather than treated. And leading the charge is a doctor:
“Most health experts feel that changing pricing is the most effective way of achieving results,”
Those "health experts" are, to use a technical term, talking out of their respective bottoms. The most effective way is to treat the person not the product, to reduce harm not to eliminate the possibility of harm and to recognise that drinking is integral to our culture not a sin to be punished.