The proposal by chief medical officer Sir Liam Donaldson to impose a minimum 50p per unit of alcohol was, frankly, laughable. No wonder the PM has distanced himself from it.
Anyone who has ever been to Europe knows that availability of cheap alcohol does not necessarily produce a nation of binge-drinkers. Anyone who has ever been a student with limited resources knows that it's always easy to get hold of cheap booze - if you can't afford a bottle of wine, cider will do; and anyone who has ever been on a tight budget knows you can always find money for a drink, should you choose to do so.
If Sir Liam spoke to the police, or to the paramedics and staff of the A&E departments who treat victims of excess boozing, I'm sure they'd tell him the same thing: that the problem of binge drinking has been steadily increasing since 2006 - when 24 hour licensing laws were introduced. It's simply too late to shut that stable door, Sir Liam. But it was this Government that allowed the Shire horse to bolt.