Wednesday, 21 December 2011

The parliamentary beer group should be supporting brewers not calling for minimum pricing


I’ve just returned from the bottle bank in the village (something the council tried to tell us we didn’t need but that’s a different story) where I deposited the remnants of Sunday’s Christmas party. No I didn’t count the bottles except to note that fourteen people can get through quite a deal of booze in half-a-dozen hours – even when at least four weren’t drinking at they are either teetotal or driving.

However, according to the allegedly Conservative Member of Parliament for Burton, Andrew Griffiths, this is “irresponsible”. Not because of how much we drank but because we didn’t drink in a pub:

Mr Griffiths, chairman of the parliamentary beer group, which lobbies the Government to support the brewing industry, believes cheap drink prices in supermarkets are encouraging irresponsible drinking and destroying community pubs.

Note the sponsor of this MP – the brewing industry doesn’t give a flying fig where its beer is consumed. Except for the fact that the main promoters of the parliamentary beer group* are either the pub groups or brewers like Greene King that are mostly interested in their pubs (and, given the amount of Old Speckled Hen sold at discounted prices in supermarkets are a bunch of hypocrites).

If Mr Griffiths thinks that minimum pricing will do anything for beer sales he is the most complete idiot of an MP. Not only is there little or no evidence that minimum pricing reduces the impact of alcohol abuse but its main effect is to extract more cash from the purchasers of cheaper drinks – which is mighty fine if you’re one of those sort of drinks manufacturers (I won’t credit them with the honourable title of brewer).

That the pub industry, through its lobbying efforts, it trying to get legislation to fix the market is revolting enough (and sadly for them won’t work) but when this is achieved through collaboration with the parliamentary voice of the temperance movement, Sarah Wollaston, it is doubly revolting.

When is the drinks industry – and those who claim to advocate for it like Andrew Griffiths – going to realise that people like Sarah Wollaston, Alcohol Concern and the other priests of the Church of Public Health are not its friend. These people are dedicated to the “denormalisation” of drink, to temperance and even to prohibition.

And they must be stopped.

*£5050 received from each of the following: AB InBev, Carlsberg UK, Enterprise Inns, Molson Coors, Mitchells & Butlers (registered July 2011) and Diageo plc, Punch Partnerships Ltd (August 2011) and Greene King, Heineken UK and Marston’s (registered September 2011).


1 comment:

Curmudgeon said...

Yes, absolutely spot on.

And what is most incredible of all is that Wollaston is actually nominally a "Conservative"...