David Cameron is planning a miserable minimum price policy or alcohol in England. The minimum price would be accompanied by an aggressive moral campaign and a more draconian approach to curtailing the sale of alcohol in shops, pubs and
The Prime Minister has ordered officials to develop a scheme in England to stop the sale of alcohol at below 40p to 50p a unit in shops and supermarkets.
Ministers could copy Scottish proposals, which would ban the sale of alcohol below 45p a unit, or bring in a more expensive and bureaucratic system of taxes based on the number of alcohol units contained in the drink.
Both options would cost drinkers and the economy an estimated extra £ 700 million a year, with any extra tax revenue potentially going to the NHS.
The Daily Telegraph understands that the Prime Minister personally ordered the radical big bang approach, which will be included in the Government's forthcoming alcohol strategy. It was due for release next month, but has now been delayed
From bans on songs and leafleting to war against gossipy tabloids, 2011 was a bad year for free speech.
If one had to pick an image to sum up the British attitude towards free speech in 2011, it would have to be the three monkeys in the Japanese proverb who see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil . This year, we were treated like a nation
of chimps, who had to be protected from certain words and images - for our own good, of course. Here are the Top 10 most annoying erosions of free speech in the UK this year.
Tenants of council flats in Brighton have been sent letters telling them not to put wreaths or other Christmas decorations on their front doors.
The council claims decorations are a potential fire hazard but residents say the decision is Scrooge-like.
The worst that is going to happen is you are going to get concussion from a paper chain landing on your head, said resident Stephan Bennett.
All we are trying to do is keep people safe, said spokesprat Michael Meik.
We are not being Scrooge, claimed Brighton and Hove City Council fire safety adviser Ebeneezer Meik... [BUT] ... If we go round to a housing block and find there are any sort of Christmas decorations we will be asking
people to take them down.
We live in an age of hair-trigger horror, in which anyone saying boo to a goose can expect to face an instant firestorm on Twitter and demands for their arrest on animal cruelty charges.
In the latest example parents have been told the song twinkle, twinkle little star may cause offence to the deaf.
Apparently, the sign, which resembles a diamond shape when made with forefingers and thumbs, is used in official sign language to represent female genitalia.
A christmas performance by Sure Start toddler group came to the attention of ever-vigilant officials at the City of York Council. Jill Hodges, assistant director of education, said this was a sensible decision taken to prevent deaf children or
deaf parents being offended .
It goes without saying that there are currently no deaf children or parents attending the play group, at Acomb, North Yorkshire. Naturally, there hasn't been a single complaint. And it isn't right anyway. The strictly accurate sign for female
genitalia is an inverted diamond held in front of the crotch. While singing Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, the children hold their hands high above their heads.
A Manchester United fan was told by police she faced legal action unless she removed part of a car sticker which teased Manchester City.
Sarah Webb-Lee had a sticker on the rear window of her car which read: On the first day God created United then completely fucked up and created City.
A local councillor passed on to police a complaint they had received from a resident about the wording of the joke and a police officer was sent to the motorist's home.
Mrs Webb-Lee and her City-supporting husband Graham were informed that the sticker was supposedly offensive under the much abused Section 5 of the Public Order Act. They were asked to either remove it or some of the letters within the swear word,
and they did the latter.
Mrs Webb-Lee told the Manchester Evening News: I couldn't believe it when the police turned up. We don't have many rights left but freedom of speech is worth hanging on to. I won't take it down. It's just a bit of banter and you hear worse on
the terraces. I see lots of things about United and take it on the chin.
Inspector Stephen Gilbertson said: We received a complaint about the language contained in a car sticker that, by law, is offensive.
Police insist they had every right to stop an innocent 78-year-old who was taking photographs in Norwich city centre but have refused to say why his actions were deemed suspicious .
A security guard had approached retired university professor Howard Temperley after he was seen taking pictures of people doing Christmas shopping. Howard, who was using a compact camera, told the Norwich Evening News: No sooner had I begun
taking pictures than a security man was at my elbow asking me what I was doing. I said I was taking pictures of happy shoppers.
Howard planned to turn his photos into computer-generated sketches for Christmas cards.
After leaving the shopping centre police stopped him in nearby St Stephen's Street. Officers reportedly allowed Howard to continue on his way - but only after recording his name, address and date of birth and checking his details with the force's
Chapelfield Shopping Centre managers defended the move, saying that the building and its immediate surroundings were private property. In a statement, the centre's marketing manager Sheridan Smith told AP: Our security team will always
challenge members of the public taking photographs in and around the centre, especially if the photographer is photographing the building itself or groups of shoppers who are obviously not friends or family of the photographer.
The Coalition has finally unveiled its alcohol minimum price regime in a statement to Parliament.
The minimum price for vodka will be fixed at £10.71 a litre, whisky at £8 for a 70cl bottle, cider at 40p a litre and 38p per 440ml can of lager or beer.
The minimum price will be based on the rate of duty plus VAT, not on the cost of producing the drinks. Thankfully shops will only have to raise the price for a small number of products.
Miserable campaigners were somewhat disappointed. Professor Ian Gilmore, chairman of the UK Health Alliance, said: To bring in a measure that we know in practice will have no effect at all on the health of this nation I think is disappointing.
It's a step in the right direction, but I have to say it's an extremely small step. It'll have no impact whatsoever on the vast majority of cheap drinks sold, for example, in supermarkets.
Camra, the Campaign for Real Ale with self interest at heart, said the price levels were too low to help the struggling pub industry. Chief executive Mike Benner said: The decision means pubs will continue to close as they are undercut by
supermarkets selling canned beers at pocket-money prices.
A driver has been convicted of a supposed criminal offence for flashing his headlights at oncoming motorists to warn them of a police speed trap ahead.
Michael Thompson believed he was doing his civic duty by alerting drivers on the opposite side of a dual carriageway.
Thompson was pulled up. He claimed the officer involved was a Rambo character who was acting like Judge Dredd in using the law unnecessarily.
When stopped by a police officer Thompson disagreed with the suggestion that he was perverting the course of justice and was then allegedly told: I was going to let you off with a caution - but I'm not now.
Thompson denied the bollox charge of wilfully obstructing a policewoman in the execution of her duty on July 21 last year, but was convicted after a trial at Grimsby Magistrates' Court. He ended up £440 out of pocket after being fined £175,
ordered to pay £250 costs and a £15 victims' surcharge.
One solicitor at court criticised the decision to prosecute as a ridiculous waste of taxpayers money' and said the defendant, who represented himself, should be praised for his actions.