Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Useful idiots

(DK is away)

The economic hangover of the smoking ban and the effects of the recession have both been blamed for fewer people going to pubs, but it is clear the supermarkets and a growing culture of drinking at home are the real cause for the decline.

Oh, for the love of... 

Alright then, one more time. There is not a growing culture of drinking at home because the supermarkets are selling more alcohol. There is a growing culture of drinking at home because of the smoking ban which, in turn, has led to the supermarkets selling more alcohol. People who drink at home tend to buy their alcohol from supermarkets. Not pubs. Supermarkets not pubs. Horse then cart. Do you see how that works? 

How can I be so sure? Well, partly because supermarkets have been under-cutting pubs for - ooh, how long? - for-fucking-ever, and partly because recessions do not traditionally damage the pub trade to any great extent. But even if they did, the most dramatic rise in pub closures happened before the recession began. 
So worried are the nation's publicans that the Scottish Licensed Traders' Association is calling for minimum pricing for alcohol in the hope of preventing supermarkets using drink as a loss-leader.

My, my. Quite a little campaign underway for this particular piece-of-shit legislation at the moment, isn't there? The BBC, in addition to publishing laughable propaganda denying that pubs are closing at all (really, have a read of it), dedicated a whole episode of Panorama last week to pushing minimum pricing (and it was bollocks from start to finish, naturally). 

But now the unhinged Trotsykist maniacs who run Scotland have agreed to consider such a law, it's all hands to the pumps for the evil, lying, fake charity fuck-sticks as they try to persuade the rest of the UK to go down this totalitarian cul-de-sac. Regular readers of the Kitchen will recognise some familiar names:

Don Shenker of Alcohol Concern managed to squeeze 3 of the 5 myths about alcohol into 35 words:
"Alcohol is now 75 per cent more affordable than it was in 1980, and consumption has risen as a result. We've all seen cans of cheap supermarket lager on sale for less than bottled water."

For the BBC, he even managed to give the whole thing a think-of-the-children twist:
"When 11 litres of supermarket cider costs less than the price of a Harry Potter ticket, it's no wonder they think alcohol is better value for money"

Then there's Alan "libertarian by nature" Maryon-Davis, who seems to be turning into some sort of rapper, if his message to the BBC is any indication:
"Enough is enough and it's time to get tough."

The authoritarian scumbag added:
"The government should stop pussyfooting around and set a minimum price for alcohol that eliminates ultra-cheap heavy drinking without disaffecting all those who drink moderately."

And then, on Sunday, fake charity ringleader Ian Gilmore popped up to spout his usual shite:
Gilmore said the cirrhosis figures showed this policy was "failing" and that the introduction of a minimum pricing regime for alcohol was now vital to safeguard the nation's health.

What really gives the game away is the sheer number of press release-based articles that have appeared recently.

Confusion 'fuels alcohol misuse' and Boredom 'fuels teen alcohol use' (both BBC) are quite simply non-stories, created solely to keep the issue in the news.

Call for alcohol laws as liver disease soars (The Guardian) and Charity warns over child drinkers (BBC) regurgitate data that was released in May this year, except with a we-need-minimum-pricing makeover. 

Heavy drinking culture blamed for surge in oral cancers (The Guardian) is a highly dubious story based on a Cancer Research press release (read the correction at the top to see just how carefully the ladies and gentlemen of the press bother to read these press releases before rewriting them). Dick Puddlecote gives a few reasons why the spin put on this news is suspect.

When so many spurious stories appear in such a short space of time, you know that a co-ordinated media campaign has been launched, in this case - one assumes - by Ian Gilmore's Alcohol Health Alliance.

So what is the pub industry doing getting into bed with this odious set of bastards?
Colin Wilkinson, secretary of the SLTA, says thousands of jobs could be lost across the industry in the coming years unless something is done to halt the decline.

"Cheap drink in supermarkets is killing the trade off," he says. "What we're pushing for is a minimum price on alcohol."

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) is also on board because, they reckon, minimum pricing would "equalise the on/off trade differential." 

To understand this strange marriage of convenience, you need to go back to the seeds of the smoking ban. You might recall that the pub industry originally opposed the smoking ban (along with CAMRA). But when the government proposed an exemption for private members' clubs, the industry abruptly changed its mind and supported the ban, so long as it was total and uncompromising. They didn't like the idea of 13 million smokers signing up as members of the local working men's club or snooker club. Not too principled, that, but realpolitik rarely is.

The rest is history. Pub closures rocketed from 2 a week to 39 a week. Latest figures suggest the rate of closures has now reached 52 a week. Only a fool - or a BBC hack - could fail to spot the connection.

So why didn't landlords take to the streets to protect their livelihoods as they did in Hong Kong and Holland, and as they have been doing in Turkey today? Open defiance of the law in Germany helped get the ban overturned there. (The French, of course, who have a history of surrendering to fascism, gave up without a fight. Plus ca change.)

The most likely explanation for the British pub trade's servility is that they didn't expect this pig-headed government to amend the smoking ban under any circumstances. They may have been correct. More pertinently, even if the government did back down, it would likely return to its original exemption for members' only clubs, which would shaft pubs even more vigorously than the current legislation has been doing.

Caught between a rock and a hard place, the pub industry thinks it might as well use its current problems as an excuse to attack its competitors in the off-trade, especially the supermarkets. Hence the unseemly and unlikely partnership with anti-alcohol fanatics like Ian fucking Gilmore. Realpolitik again.

This can only end in tears. The prohibitionist mentality is not a beast that can be tamed. Sooner or later it will go all Siegfried and Roy on you. The government wouldn't shed a tear if every pub in Britain closed down tomorrow. Ian Gilmore would probably cry with joy. These are not people to be helping out if you make your living selling drinks.

Not only that, the simple maths dictates that pubs have nothing to gain from this minimum price bullshit. The current plan is to set a minimum price of 40-50p per unit. Your average 4% pint of lager has 2.3 units in it and costs about £3 in a pub. Even with a minimum price of 50p, that pint is going to be sold in supermarkets for £1.15 or so - still much cheaper than a pint in a pub and, therefore, smokers will still stay at home. 

There will be no financial incentive for anyone to go back to the pub unless the minimum price is far in excess of £1. To make the pub's £3 charge for a pint sound competitive - albeit artificially, and courtesy of an all-powerful state - the minimum unit price is going to have to be set at around £1.30. Is such a scenario possible? Perhaps. It is the insidious nature of groups like Alcohol Concern to demand that the 50p minimum rises to 60p, then 75p and so on. This alone is a damn good reason to oppose this law with every sinew of your body. Even so, £1.30 per unit is, as illiterate sports commentators say, 'a big ask' in any country that wishes to maintain the pretense of being a liberal democracy.

And do you know what? Even if they make the minimum price £2.50 per unit, I will still not be returning to the pub. Why? Because I am not standing in the fucking street to drink a pint of beer. That is still the bottom line. You can't force people to do something they don't want to do and making another stupid illiberal law will not paper over the cracks of the previous stupid illiberal law. 

The SLTA and CAMRA are making a big mistake co-operating with latter-day temperance groups on this minimum pricing issue. They are not people who can be reasoned with because they are not reasonable people. They cannot be appeased. They cannot be compromised with. The government has no right - no right at all - to decide how much a drink should cost. That should be the only message the politicians hear on this issue. And for anyone in the pub industry to collaborate with these puritans in a selfish attempt to undo the damage that occurred last time they got tricked by them is nothing short of pathetic. Fuck the lot of them.


Dick Puddlecote said...

They cannot be appeased.

Class polemic TFS. The above quote is all one should ever say to anyone who believes just one bit of the lies thrown around by the 'concerned'.

Leg Iron once wrote about the fact that one should never apologise to a righteous as it will only make them thirst for more. He is entirely correct.

Those who purport to protect beer drinkers have been apologising and appeasing for so long now, they are almost falling over each other to run backwards in face of the bansturbators.

Part of me wants to laugh as they were wanred well in advance of what would happen, but as someone who likes a beer myself, I wish they ould just grow a fucking spine.

Ta for link. ;-)

Kit said...

Baptists and Bootleggers

Large Melot Please said...

Schadenfreude is not a nice facet of human beings but I cannot but acknowledge an irony or two. As someone who is an advocate of smoker's rights.

Chief nanny-in-chief of the Royal College of Surgeons is Sir Ian Gilmore. So all you people who accuse smokers of killing the chiiildren etc get used to being treated worse in the denormalisation process. I have uncovered this gem. You drinkers are rapists and wife beaters, worse than smokers.

"The ‘passive effects’ of alcohol misuse are catastrophic – rape, sexual assault, domestic and other violence, drunk driving and street disorder - alcohol affects thousands more innocent victims than passive smoking"

http://www.rcplondon.ac.uk/profe...es/ Alcohol.aspx

George said...

I buy a fair amount of Lager from the supermarket because I like a drink at home, I attend my Local pub to watch the footie on Setanta/ESPN (I refuse to buy another fucking subscription after I pay 70 quid for my sky). I gave up smoking some time ago but had never not gone into a pub because of smoke and anyone who would'nt go in is not the sort of person I would want to have a drink with anyway. What was wrong with the no smoking lounges, why could they not give the publicans the choice...because they have to fucking control us at every turn never mind how many people are affected as long as the state are pushing us down its all ok. Give us the choice to run our own lives, I got this far without any help from the bunch of wankers in the HoC.

Curmudgeon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Curmudgeon said...

I've put this straight on to my blog as it will get through to the "beer blogosphere".

As usual from the vitriol-charged pen of the FS, a superb polemic.

Anonymous said...

The Orwellian nightmare in Scotland continues apace. Locking up schoolchidren for their own good.


Mango said...

It's a bit rich blaming the French "surrendering to fascism", when the abject surrender of the UK's pub trade and smokers to the anti-smoking brigade finally answers the question of "how would the Brits have resisted had the Germans managed to conqueror Britain?"

The Brits would have surrendered and collaborated just as easily as the French did.

As for the rest, no argument. It's actually quite a cheerless and sterile experience going to a pub. Its even worse in live music venues.

Timothy Wallace said...

The price depends on where you drink - I've been down 'spoons where the cheapest is currently £1.29, so 70p/unit would definitely put up the price of my pint there. Back to the homebrew.

Curmudgeon said...

Back to the homebrew indeed. If the minimum price was jacked up much above 40p/unit, they'd have to ban homebrew, otherwise people would just brew themselves and trade it informally.

The whole minimum pricing project is fraught with unintended and unforeseen consequences.

In fact, despite the claims it might help pubs, I can see it doing much damage to the on-trade. The more expensive drink becomes, the more it will be advantageous to choose whatever is cheapest.

mmm said...

I am content to believe that the authoritarian nature of this government betrays a desire to close pubs because therein people can meet, in free association, and engage in unregulated discussion on matters of politics and insurrection.
My local alehouse has turned into a “Speakeasy”. About 10:00pm the front door is locked and the ash-trays are distributed. Admission is regulated by the doorkeeper, to whom one must speakeasy.
(I packed-up smoking in 2006, or it may have been 2005, and intend to live forever)

Leg-iron said...

They can't stop homebrew, they can only stop homebrew kits. You can make beer out of other things than hops. Nettle beer is good as long as you only use very young plants, before they've developed stings. I once made the mistake... but best not remember that. We drank it all anyway because the first pint removed all sensation from the mouth area.

We did talk funny for a few days though.

It's true that there is no way to appease these Ban Berserkers but they will let you think you can. That smoking ban was supposed to be mostly voluntary. Private clubs were supposed to be exempt. Pubs were supposed to be allowed to provide smoking rooms. All those options vanished in a flash, once the smokers thought they'd won a compromise and went quiet.

The minimum price won't affect me at first because my tastes are for malt whiskies, none of which are available for less than £15 a bottle.

However, once a minimum price exists, it'll increase rapidly. It's a new tax to play with, and the public won't object if those evil drinkers have to pay more for their wife-beating juice. Oh, the horrors of passive drinking! Look, look, there's Granny with a bottle of sherry! Burn her now, before her eyes start to glow!

And next, the horrors of passive obesity, passive salt consumption, passive ham sandwiches and passive non-Labour voting.

Currently the Righteous are attempting to make people afraid of a ham sandwich. If they manage to do that, there's no stopping them.

Frankly, anyone scared of a ham sandwich might as well shoot themselves now.

Oh, I forgot. They already banned guns.

thefrollickingmole said...

First they came for the smokers...
Then they came for the drinkers
Then they just went to far....

Our fuckwits will be calling for a tax on processed meats now, absolutely garuntee it...

I wish this was a joke, our dickheads are worse than yours... There was just a 70% price rise on pre mixed drinks (spirits based) here in Oz "for the good of the children".

What that actualy meant was the tax on them wasnt high enough so they becamer the drink of choice for many people.
Nothing to do with the estimated billion or 2 in extra revenue it generated of course?

thefrollickingmole said...

Forgot the punch line, see if you can identify the buzz words...

"..Meating the addiction

Nutritionist Dr Rosemary Stanton says processed meats can become addictive.

"If you are going to start looking at what you put on sandwiches, most people put about 35 grams or so on a sandwich," she said.

"So two ham sandwiches a week, if you didn't have any other processed meat, wouldn't be such a big problem.

"But if your kids or anyone else gets addicted to ham sandwiches every day they're going to go way over that by the end of the week."...

Roger Thornhill said...

I have been known to buy Tesco and Waitrose own lagers in the 25cl bottles. Sometimes this approaches £1.20/litre, which at 5% abv is going to demand a massive price increase by The Soviet.

SO what if people are drinking at home? If you want to solve the NHS burden, stop making the NHS a compulsory monopoly!

First they DEMAND to run YOUR healthcare, THEN they use this to demand that YOUR health is THIER business. YOUR body is THIER property, in other words.

Oh, and expect a sales tax on homebrew kits forcing it underground, further demonising alcohol (as per drugs) leading to more fuel to ban it completely.

DocBud said...

Will the French supermarkets play ball? Course not, which will then require the UK government to illegally interfere even more in the free market to limit what people can bring back from France.

Frollickingmole, I particularly enjoyed how the opposition were both evil for opposing a health measure that would save the youth from themselves and for opposing a measure that would generate oodles of tax that would be spent on our well-being. The fact that if it was successful at the first the second would not be realised clearly indicates that these measures only really have one purpose, to try and separate us from more of our hard-earned or not so hard-earned income.

assegai mike said...

When I have to line these knobdogs up against the wall in the utopia of my dreams, the cigarette WILL be compulsory. The blindfold will not.

Rob said...

Precisely how does one become addicted to ham sandwiches? Shouldn't this 'nutritionist' be stripped of whatever bogus professional qualification she owns simply for coming out with this shit?

How can a media organisation print that and retain any credibility whatsoever?

Henry Crun said...

Hang on a minute, am I missing something here? Don't the same people who run and supply a large majority of pubs also supply the supermarkets, i.e., the breweries. If the industry don't want the supermarkets selling "cheap" alcohol, then why sell it to them?

John B said...

There is not a growing culture of drinking at home because the supermarkets are selling more alcohol. There is a growing culture of drinking at home because of the smoking ban which, in turn, has led to the supermarkets selling more alcohol.

Sorry, this is bollocks. The market was shifting way before the smoking ban, with off-premises sales of beer rising 50% in 1994-2004, *and* with wet pubs losing share to food pubs, cafés and restaurants.

The ban has certainly exacerbated bo trend, but it was very very clear throughout the time I was a drinks industry analyst (ie up to 2006).

For example, in 2006 pub beer sales fell 4% in England (no ban) and 6% in Scotland (a ban).

Don't the same people who run and supply a large majority of pubs also supply the supermarkets, i.e., the breweries.

No, not for about 15 years. None of the major breweries now own or run pubs (Greene King and W&D are the largest to do so), and none of the major pub-owning chains do their own brewing.

Winston said...

I was on the arctic island of Svalbard earlier this year, where in an effort to prevent everyone drinking themselves to death each winter off licence alcohol sales are strictly limited. Every resident has to produce a permit card and they can only buy a limited amount of booze each month.

Thank god it's so out of the way that nobody in government will have ever heard of it, well, until they read this, oops!

Anonymous said...

John B,
Poor analysis, drinking in pubs started to decrease when the police started doing random breath tests, illegally, on people who had not harmed anyone. Then the breweries got greedy and hiked the rents forcing up the price of drinks. It was greed in their case, pure and simple. Then they supported a smoking ban, just how stupid do these managerial types have to be to get a job?


Frank Davis said...

Rob asks: Precisely how does one become addicted to ham sandwiches?

Oh, it's a long, slow descent.

It starts off with the wafer-thin supermarket stuff, moves on to honey roast and Yorkshire ham. It gets serious when they graduate to Parma ham, Schwarzwälder Schinken, and Jamón Ibérico Bellota. But it invariably ends in the complete degradation of the Spam lifestyle.

Ade said...

Honestly, these cunts really are just beyond the pale.

If I had the money, I'd be running a side-of-the-bus advert pointing out just what a bunch of pointy-headed twats these loons are.

Of course, for the pub trade to be jumping into bed with the bansturbationists, must mean that they could (if they wanted to) sell their alcohol at a much reduced rate? Otherwise, the minimum price-per-unit is simply going to add to the price they already charge, resulting in price hikes in both supermarket & pub.... the differential is retained, and nobody wins except the scumverment who have another tax to play with.

Fuck me, it's enough to make a cat laugh - as the inestimable Barry Beelzebub would say.

Bishop Brennan said...

Great article, as per usual.

BTW The rise in liver disease has fuck all to do with alcohol - it's actually because of fatty liver disease, i.e. another result of obesity.

The risk of eating processed meats every day is sooooooo massive. NOT: your lifetime risk of cancer rises from 5% to 6% if you eat it every day. Some risk. The 'charity' that promoted this are, surprise surprise, a bunch of veggie cunts. They obviously need protein so they can suck my cock.


Mr. A said...

I sort of hope this policy goes through.

When it completely fails to do anything about pub closures it'll be one less faux-excuse for the Righteous to use to "explain" why nobody goes to the pub anymore.

If and when the recession lifts and we're all rolling in lovely cash but are still not going to the pub the true reason will be hard for even the Righteous to explain. That said, I did hear someone on aL-jabeeba the other day saying that there'd been a "social change", as if we'd all evolved beyond fancying a pint in our local. As if, in the same way that society grew up beyond accepting slavery or supporting apartheid, we had all, en-masse, within a matter of months grew Star Trek-style, beyond our primitive urges to enjoy a beer and a smoke in our local hostelry and instead stay at home eating tofu and informing on our neighbours.

So maybe I'm completely wrong - even when there are no more excuses to use to explain why pubs are closing they'll just come up with something utterly implausible. And frighteningly, they'll probably even believe it themselves.

Curmudgeon said...

JohnB is basically right - the smoking ban has undoubtedly exacerbated the decline of the pub trade, but it was declining before. And increased drink-drive enforcement and a growing unwillingness from drivers to consume alcohol even within the legal limit is a factor too.

I did an analysis of the multiple reasons for the decline in the pub trade here. I think on-trade beer volumes had almost halved from 1970s levels even before the smoking ban.

Relative price vis-a-vis the off-trade is, however, in my view a very minor factor.

Ian B said...

While it's frustrating that everybody just accepts the descending madness, I think it's worth reflecting that the USA- "land of the free"- completely succumbed to national Temperance less than a century ago, so it probably isn't fair to say that we Brits are uniquely and hopelessly spineless.

Indeed there seems to be very little history of signficant opposition to progressivist tyranny. No major opposition anywhere to the drug laws (despite widespread flouting), no significant opposition to anti-prostitution laws (another American progressive innovation) and so on.

The Proggies developed a strategy early on of creating a moral environment, that is demonisation, that makes it very hard for anyone to organise opposition, since in doing so they declare themselves morally depraved. Nobody wants to march for the rights of drunkards, junkies or strumpet fondlers. I've argued in various places that the key to this is the anglospheric moral "hegemony"; that is the value system successfully invented in the 19th century which upholds sobriety, continence, sensibleness, the work ethic etc etc as unquestioned moral virtues. The Temperance Movement and Proggies in general always operate as the champions of this value system, thus always being on the side of virtue. It thus seems that the only sure fire way to finally finish the bastards is to dismantle the Victorian value system itself- something that partially happened during the twentieth century but never rooted properly. How to do this, I have no idea.

The other point is that here in the anglosphere there has always been a clear political divide between conservatives and radicals (right and left) and the radicals basically are the protest apparat. The "right" doesn't have a significant protest apparatus, because it has traditionally been reactionary, rather than pushing for change. So all the usual suspects you are likely to get marching in the streets are all on the side of the "radicals" i.e. our Progressive friends. Mass protests need good organisation, and to draw on pre-organised groups such as students and trades unionists... who are all currently on the side of the puritans. The radicals are now the incumbents, IYSWIM.

Frank Davis said...

Ian B,

the value system successfully invented in the 19th century which upholds sobriety, continence, sensibleness, the work ethic etc etc as unquestioned moral virtues... It thus seems that the only sure fire way to finally finish the bastards is to dismantle the Victorian value system itself- something that partially happened during the twentieth century but never rooted properly. How to do this, I have no idea.

I think that the only way to do that is to put together a better value system. That is, in part, what I've been doing with Idle Theory.

I think the real answer to a work ethic is a leisure ethic. In Idle Theory, the inherent purpose of an economy is to as far as possible free people from necessary work into a life of leisure. This leisure time can then be used, if so desired, to make the fun things we call luxuries. Idle Theory is a variant of Utilitarianism in which happiness is replaced by leisure or idleness. In Idle Theory, ethical conduct is whatever serves to increase leisure.

In my view, 19th century economic theory presupposes that leisure is something that everyone has already, just by virtue of being alive. This is a mistake. But it leads to a world-view in which material wealth is achieved by foregoing one's given leisure in productive work. In this manner it leads to a work ethic.

If you're the same Ian B who was arguing with Patrick Vessey last year on the UKLP blog, you may already know a bit about Idle Theory. I showed up too late to join in that discussion (see the comments).

Anonymous said...

shees get a brain !

13th Spitfire said...

I am not a UKIP troll, really, unaffiliated thankfully. But they seem to be making more sense day by day. Officially the only party which wants to overturn the smoking ban.

Of course the main parties could make a populist effort to overturn the ban but that would mean taking on the EU - that would never happen.

I suppose it is no news to anyone that the smoking ban legislation originated in Brussels?

Frank Davis said...

No, it didn't originate in the EU.

It originated in the WHO's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which Tony Blair signed up to in 2003, and which commits WHO member countries to a variety of measures to restrict smoking.

The UK has chosen to interpret the agreement in the strongest sense. Spain chose to adopt a rather more relaxed interpretation. This is why all the bans in Europe and around the world are all slightly different.

the man from UNCLE said...

It is true ham addiction is a terrible fate. I was on a couple of slice of Sainsbury's basic wafer thins this time last year.

Now I am on 2lbs of spam a day and will kill anyone who gets in the way of me getting my fix. My kids have been taken into care and I lost my job when the boss found my secret stash of peppered ham and my ham sandwich making kit.

Just be grateful for the government for looking after you - and learn from my terrible mistake.

Anonymous said...

Blaming cheap alcohol for fuelling violence in the street is a bit flimsy. Yet this is what the Scottish government constantly says.
I didn't see any violence in Krakow last week where a pint is half the price. Then I noticed the police. They would beat you to a pulp if you urinated in the street or heaven forbid threw a punch.
Our enfocers merrily take them to the police station and let them sleep it off. A good fucking kicking would be more in order.

John B said...

I didn't see any violence in Krakow last week where a pint is half the price.

That's odd, when I was in Wroclaw a couple of years ago I saw quite a few locals pissing in the street and battering six bells out of each other. But all in a good-natured, consensual, "I like twenty pints and a fight" way, like most British pub violence.

Pogo said...

@Frank Davis "Spain chose to adopt a rather more relaxed interpretation."

You're not kidding. I was sitting in my local bar the other day. It's officially a non-smoker but you usually can't see the no-smoking signs through the smoke. In wandered three members of the Guardia Civil (quasi-military branch of the police, generally nasty bastards) and I thought to myself "this could get interesting". They sat at the bar, ordered three beers, got the fags out and lit up...

Definitely "relaxed". :-)

Ian B said...

Frank Davis:

Idle Theory looks interesting. I'll peruse and cogitate :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you DK for your interesting blog, some great comments also.
Holiday in Spain last week, ashtrays on the table in the pubs and restaurants, but I did not see any smoke, they had some shit hot air filtration.

Even if my drink only cost a quid in the pub, I for one am not going to stand in the rain and cold, so, they can stuff it and so can labour with my vote.

They do not get it do they DK,
Outside of the EU parliament the pubs have the ashtrays on the tables, and inside the EU.

I drink red wine and lemonade most nights, but would not touch Californian, I have banned myself using anything with that name on it.
Pete Robinson (publican) has written many great articles, the one this week is quite sad about the pub situation.
My aunt used to make some wine with goldenrod, but it was quite sweet, but cost pence to make, it will not be long before we start making our own moonshine as the tossers seem to learn nothing.

mitch said...

Where I work the ban only applies when the doors need to be open, after normal hours the keys are turned and people smoke.I dont having given up years ago but To stick it to the man I am happy to see it continue.

Ps they could have just specified a min aircon system and everyone would be happy and people who make and install the units would be creating jobs at a frightening rate.

Chalcedon said...

The EU will not allow it. The government cannot set a minimum price without affecting inter EU trade. This ain't alowed. This is just political bullshit. What these tossers need to do is get the police to do their job and arrest the bastard drunk and disorderlies and for the courts to jail them for a week or two. That will stop this nonsense.