Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Down the Battlecruiser - Ken Livingstone on pubs

I see, fresh from one of the Miliband clones demanding the government “Save our Pubs”, our ex-Mayor Ken Livingstone has joined the clamour. I guess since he’s no longer inviting dictators and religious lunatics to eat and be merry on the taxpayers dime he’s got a bit of time on his hands. He’s claiming that pubs are closing down due to some vast conspiracy between the Brewers, Property developers and Freemasons to hike the price of beer so all the pubs can be turned into apartments.

What do you think brewers would rather do – sell beer or convert their boozer back to a bank – well it depends on the market. And since property prices are doing bugger all I suspect that they would rather sell beer. As a result it’s a choice of selling beer at a profit or the pub closing down and left empty making nothing until this mythical property developer appears and turns the Dog and Duck into some pretentiously sounding Scandinavian named serviced apartments. So all this guff about brewers deliberately pricing pubs out of business in London is exactly that – utter bollocks.

So what’s really to blame? Well its something this blog said years ago – the ban on smoking. The simple fact is that people who keep pubs in business by downing 6 pints a night either don’t give a rats arse about secondary smoke or avidly contribute to the smoke in the first place. And now they can’t have a Cigarette they’re staying at home and inviting their non smoking mates round to sit on MFI furniture whilst watching Escape to Victory.

The government said they would be replaced by Health Nazis who whilst willing to embrace a place smelling of piss, vomit and Hugo Boss for men would not in any circumstances go whilst it smelled of smoke. Well guess what, they didn’t replace the pubs customer base. Oh sure they wandered into the pub, but then they saw that the house wine wasn’t a nice little Chateau Lafite Rothschild – it was made in New Zealand, they didn’t have Organic Tapenade on the menu. Also they couldn’t talk about whether female circumcision in the Sudan should be encouraged as embracing multiculturalism or not, because Dire Straits was on the sound system rather than Nepalese monks chanting over Moby tunes. So they fucked off sharpish back to their Islington townhouse, knock off Arne Jacobsen chairs and wine coolers.

And who was responsible for this idiocy about banning smoking, who funded the fake charities that were representing imaginary fervour of the “Public” demanding that smoking be banned in pubs? That will be Ken’s party – Zanu-Labour. They banned smoking despite everybody with half an ounce of common sense telling them that it would destroy the pub. And now they have the brass balls to claim they are supporting the masses wanting to keep their pubs open. Your hypocrisy knows no bounds.


The Fatch said...

We drink to much and yet they are upset pubs are closing? There really is no pleasing these people.

CampaignForRealFail said...

This just isn't true. What kind of drinker is going to sit at home on his own drinking cans and smoking 20 Benson and keening that he can't do so any more? No these seasoned drinkers are still in the pubs, only now they're doing their keening on the step in rain while having a tab. They may be bitter, but they're still drinking it.

The Pub has been on the decline for many, many years, and the causes are far more complicated than banning fags. The decline/end of whole areas of manufacturing and primary industry where men would share a pint or two before returning to the missus; a more itinerant population; areas where new, non-drinking populations have become more prominent, meaning a relative decline of potential customers for the pubs in the area (for example, east end of London); the gross, disproportionate tax expense on pub prices; the excesses of pub co's in their treatment of landlords; and a rise of standards/change of tastes that means sticky carpeted, rank-food-offering, hostile booze dens are no longer that welcome.

Not every pub that shuts down is much-loved community resource. Some are shitholes.

In other news, smoking ban also found to be responsible for poor British summer, global economic collapse, etc

Anonymous said...


It is as you say a combination of factors that you make out, but the stats on closures around the smoking ban show it's a big factor (smoking ban comes in, bar charts on pub closings go up up up)

Personally i stopped going to pubs once i went abroad and asked for a JD and coke.

They didnt get out that pathetic little thimble that goverment regulations permit as 1 serving, they just wacked in some JD and coke, job done.

(ok some artistic licence there, but all the regulation and taxes has a real negitive affect on the atmosphere of pubs).

Personally i'm just counting the days till minimun pricing or some other ill thought out crap comes along. None of the big 3 parties will even entertain a relax of the smoking ban, because they know the other 2 will take cheap shots at them about "killing innocent workers" if they do.

As politions they must be seen to be "doing something", and this is all they can see that they can do (they can't relax regulation, in so much as they can't stop breating, they are polititions).

The Fatch said...

The smell of stale smoke is only slightly better than that of vomit and body odour. Fresh smoke on the other hand is up there with fresh baked bread, new car smell or diesel.

Anonymous said...

You reckon (based on evidence pulled out of your arse) that the decline of pubs is down to the smoking ban. I reckon it’s down to the same reason as the decline in Cinema - ever improving home entertainment. Fact is that back in the day, there was damn little to do of an evening if you didn’t fancy what was on the four channels. Now I can play Call of Duty online with my mates on a TV the size of a small car, watch any of a hundred channels, or any of the shows that I’ve Sky Plus’ed, or the complete series I’ve downloaded. The attractions of getting smashed in the Dog & Duck five nights a week have rather paled by comparison.

So in conclusion, it’s the 21st century, and we just have better things to do of an evening.

Anonymous said...

Banning smoking has only destroyed the bad pubs.

The good pubs are thriving.

The Fatch said...

Pubs should be able to get a smoking license. I have seen this in America in venues that are adults only and have a high proportion of there turnover in spirits.

selsey.steve said...

Some time ago, on another blog not too far away, I discovered the idea of a "Smokey-Drinky". All you need is a group of like-minded people, people who enjoy a drink and a smoke (or they do not object to others smoking) and a place to gather in private. Each brings his or her favourite tipple and so the evening commences.
A friend hosted the first one we did; his place has a large garden, it was a beautiful evening and a grand time was had by all.
One of those attending was, unbeknownst to us all, a farmer. He has an old barn in good repair and suggested that the next "meeting" be held there.
We had over 40 people attend, most are now new friends!
The reputation of these "barn meetings" has spread and the next one (our eighth) promises to be a real cracker.

There was an error in this gadget