It looks like Dodgy Dave is going to keep on sidestepping questions over the influence of Lizard of Oz Crosby on his decisions not to bring in plain packaging of cigarettes or up the price of cheap alcohol. He insists Lynton didn’t ‘lobby’ him on anything. Nonetheless, it looks highly suspicious that Cameron has dropped not one but TWO policies that would have hurt the wallets of Crosby’s clients.
When you add in the sudden enthusiasm for fracking and the Chancellor’s generosity towards more of those clients it begins to look like the PM is bang to rights guilty. You can’t help wondering if there’s been some promise of future funding from some of these big name Crosby clients. After all its not that long ago that the Tories enjoyed significant gifts from the likes of Imperial Tobacco and others – until Liam Fox pissed them off as shadow health minister in 2004 and they took off in a huff. And these big Tobacco guys have very recently been giving money to right wing think tanks such as the Adam Smith Institute and the Institute for Economic Affairs – as near as you can get to the Tories without actually putting the party name on the cheque.
Before he changed his mind about alcohol pricing – or had it changed for him – Cameron was pushing the policy in the usual Tory way by complaining that middle class families like his (!!!??) ‘who drank responsibly’ were having to pay more for food from supermarkets who increased food prices to pay for discounts on alcohol. Tut tut. But now it seems he’s happy to pay more for his food and just as happy to do nothing at all about binge drinking – not that I’m convinced the minimum pricing plan would have had much effect anyway. What does bother me is the amazing hypocrisy of the man who can just as easily go on TV one minute and moralise about the poor drinking and smoking themselves into oblivion (wonder why they do that, Dave?) using evidence from all over the place to justify the policy and the next minute apparently say there needs to be more research. How does he expect us to believe anything he says again? Not that many of us did anyway…..
Here’s Dave downing a pint in a ‘responsible’ middle class way. But is he the responsible drinker he says he is? He’s quick to pontificate about the great unwashed masses getting slaughtered every Friday night and staggering around our high streets but here’s a few reasons to wonder about his relationship with the demon drink. Remember, he was a member of that elite drinking and rioting outfit, the Bullingdon Club who traditionally get slaughtered and stagger about the street and smash up restaurants and what have you….
Maybe all Crosby had to do to ‘nudge’ Dave in the desired direction was buy him a pint….or three !