Saturday, March 24, 2012

Take your pick

Either it isn't or it is against EU law. Take your pick. On the face of it, any attempt to impose minimum pricing, unless authorised by EU law, is a restriction on the free movement of goods and could be regarded breaching EU law – especially if it had a discriminatory effect on other EU member states.

However, while those issues have to be tested on the facts of the case, there is a "get out of jail free card", in that the UK can invoke "public health" as justification. It might have to prove the case, but it is for the commission in the first instance to decide. And this is far from a done deal.

The Daily Mail headline illustrated by The Boiling Frog, therefore, may be a little optimistic – or misleading, even. But it all helps to sow dissent, and that much is welcome. Let's see the paper do a job on VAT as well, and we might get somewhere.