David Cameron today claimed sympathies towards a ban on cheap alcohol. While this may be yet another gaffe, kneejerk statement and/or personal opinion that in no way reflects the views of the Government (this seems to happen a lot in this era of new politics), the sentiment at least proves Cameron’s true blue Tory credentials:
1) The rationale is based on spurious claims.
2) It follows a typically Daily Mail-esque agenda.
and 3) It’s tailored to punish the poor. Because, in Cameron’s mind and in the minds of most Conservatives, it’s only the poor who can not be trusted with their booze. Oh, and it’s only the poor who deserve to be punished for anything. Ever.
As speed cameras are being shut down across the country for being one of the few methods of law enforcement which do not discriminate, Cameron’s being careful to select the only restriction on the sale of alcohol which sidesteps any potential impact on the better off. A less discriminatory form of regulation would’ve been to increase VAT on all alcoholic drinks, or enforce an increase in cost dependent on the concentration. Yes, this would still sting the poor disproportionately more, but at least it sends a message to everyone who drinks in excess (and anyone who’s been to a piss up with posh people know that getting truly tanked isn’t just the reserve of the great unwashed).
As it stands, this idea is almost perfectly tuned to only affect the very poorest. Is it even pretending to do anything else? Has Cameron finally dropped that pretence? You only have to read the comments on ConservativeHome to see how the majority of Tories have accepted this in the self-righteous, detached, supercilious way in which it was intended.
(By the way, I highly recommend you follow the link to the Wikipedia article on the Bullingdon Club, of which Cameron was a former member. Maybe the binge-drinking lads and laddettes aren’t be the ones we should be worried about?)