No cheap beer, but wine o'clock is safe
Everyone is up for tackling our boozing, so long as they keep their paws off the pinot grigio
Right-minded people hardly knew which way to go with an "isn't it awful?" stance last week, as Health Minister Leo Varadkar announced plans for legislation on setting a minimum price on alcohol. On the one hand there was: "Isn't the drinking to excess of cheap beer just awful? Thank God the Government is doing something about it." And then there was: "They're raising the price of a bottle of wine? My bottle of wine? Nanny state gone mad; isn't it awful?"
Luckily, these good and decent people had their minds put at ease pretty quickly, when it was reported that the price of a bottle of wine in an off-licence - or, as they might have it, wine merchant - might not be affected. Instead, it was what is perceived as problematic alcohol that would be affected - you know, the slabs of cans of beer and the nasty wine that supermarkets sell off at a lower cost than the duty they must pay on it to Government. It's good that the Government is clamping down on that sort of thing. Because that's bad alcohol. And it is absolutely not to be confused with the good stuff you get from the wine merchant who knows you by name and knows you like a nice bottle from the region where you holiday, and who doesn't point out that 14pc-proof wine drunk by the gobletful is fairly reckless behaviour. That's different and, phew, it's largely untouched by the proposed measures.
So, roll on wine o'clock.