Frank Field - who some in my party seem to like for reasons that almost entirely escape me - has been bouncing with glee at the prospect of a minimum price for alcohol in Merseyside:
Former welfare minister and poverty tsar Frank Field told the ECHO today: “Increasingly in many of our constituencies alcohol is a bigger social problem than drugs – particularly amongst young people.”
The Birkenhead MP added: “It is outrageous that big supermarket chains exploit the situation, selling alcohol below cost to draw in customers and increase their profits.”
I won't bother with trying to set the facts straight for Frank - like most New Puritans (and boy is Frank one of them) the facts are as nothing beside the rhetoric of "it's for the children" and "it costs the NHS". However, like the proposals a while back from the Manchester Diocese of the Church of Public Health, this is just stupid:
Merseyside is set to lead the way by introducing a minimum alcohol price tag.
The proposed 50p per unit cost is intended to stop supermarkets selling cheap booze as loss-leaders fuelling binge drinking amongst local youngsters.
Look, it's pretty simple. According to good old Google Maps it is 14.4 miles from the centre of Liverpool to Ormskirk - a journey taking 28 minutes. So you get in your car and you drive there and go back to Liverpool with your cheap booze. Or maybe the bloke up the road fills his van up with said booze and sells it on to you. Or your cousin Steve in Skelmersdale brings load over when he visits.