Last night's Panorama - and a great deal of the coverage elsewhere on the telly and in the newspapers - represents a triumph for the New Puritans. I had planned to take you all though the errors and omissions in the programme (once I'd watched it in its entirety without throwing stuff at the telly) but needn't bother as Chris Snowdon has done an excellent job at VGIF:
Exceptional policies like these require exceptional circumstances and Panorama spent thirty minutes telling the viewer that Britain is indeed in crisis. Enormous quantities are being drunk at exceptionally low prices, they said, therefore prices need to rise. Something must be done.
Pretty much every assumption in this narrative is wrong. Whether judged by the standard of other countries or by the standard of previous eras, this country is not in the grip of an alcohol epidemic.
Do read the rest of Chris's piece - he reminds us that we are not drinking at historically high levels, that alcohol consumption is falling and that our alcohol prices are not higher that in the past nor are our tax levels lower than elsewhere in the world.
There isn't a epidemic of drinking. That is a lie.