It's not nice, but close your eyes and imagine you're Alistair Darling.

You've got a choice. In the trial by media firing squad, you can face accusations of either failing to back a totemic national industry, or accelerating the epidemic of binge drinking that's supposedly sluicing over our streets like so much warm vomit.

Irish finance minister Brian Lenihan this week made the bold move of slashing duty on alcohol to prop up the country's drinks trade. He even warned that if the cut worth about 10p a pint isn't passed on to consumers, he's going to reverse it. Can you see that happening here in the UK?

Lenihan's Budget - which, incidentally, also reversed last year's 0.5% VAT hike - may not totally stem the tide of shoppers to Northern Ireland to cash in on the weak pound, but it's refreshing to see the embattled trade get some backing from a government for once not in thrall to the anti-drinking brigade.

With the UK facing the mother of all hangovers after this year's splurge in borrowing, a bit of Dutch courage would probably have done our own Chancellor some good.

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Irish drinks trade warned: pass on duty cut to public or lose it (12 December 2009)