Decision time on cheap booze

Brave, as they used to say in Yes Minister. Very brave.

The decision to propose to put up the price of cheap alcohol comes in the same week as that to increase the price of a pack of cigarettes by 37p a week and not to cut fuel duty.

David Cameron is ignoring the conventional political advice about how to cheer up the nation's voters.

The argument about whether and how to set a minimum price for alcohol is a fascinating one involving questions of the free market, choice and public health, and was the subject of a fierce debate in Whitehall.

On my occasional Radio 4 series Decision Time I explored how government would approach the issue with former ministers John Redwood and Frank Dobson and a former senior civil servant. You can still listen to it here.

Since the programme went out in 2010 it will not reflect today's news or the latest developments in Scotland, but it does capture the core debate in, I hope, an engaging way.

Here too is my blog entry from the time.