|The Pi Bar, Mossley Hill, Liverpool|
A pregnant woman goes into a pub and asks for a glass of wine. "I'm not having that on my conscience," says the barman who refuses to serve her. Not a joke, as you probably gathered from the unfunny punchline. This actually happened to Jane Hampson after she and her partner went into the Pi Bar, a real ale bar in Rose Lane, Liverpool, for a drink after a walk around Sefton Park. As Liverpool is my birth place, although not that posh part, I'm rather disappointed, as I like to think my fellow Liverpudlians are endowed with down-to-earth common sense. It turns out that Ms Hampson didn't drink at all during her first twelve weeks and since then has had one small glass of wine per week as a treat. The full story is here.
The area manager has apologised and stated that it was not company policy to refuse to serve pregnant women; he states the young barman got his wires crossed and thought it was illegal. In that case, why did he mention his conscience when a more compelling argument would be, "Sorry that's illegal" - assuming he genuinely believed that?
Predictably, internet trolls have come out in force, excoriating this woman for getting drunk and landing us all with the benefit bill for bringing up her brats. "She'll be on Jeremy Kyle next!" sneered one. In fact, she is a business manager for Deutsche Bank - her partner is employed too - and I challenge any healthy person to get drunk on one small glass of wine per week. NHS advice is that "at this low level there is no evidence of any harm to their unborn baby." So, trolls, read the article and check your facts before putting what passes for your brain in gear.
This is not just an example of an individual barman being silly; it demonstrates the corrosive effect of the anti-alcohol campaigners in that a young barman feels empowered to impose his ill-founded conscience upon another adult. It's the same effect that discourages many drivers from having a drink well within the legal drink-drive limit. If I were female, I can well imagine that I might look forward to a single drink a week as a treat over the long nine month period. My mother used to say, "What's seldom is wonderful", and - if so restricted - one drink a week would seem wonderful indeed. In the event, Ms Hampson and her partner took their custom to another bar where she had her weekly glass of wine; I hope she enjoyed it.
By the way, does anyone get the Doctor Who reference in the title of this post?
P.S. 10.10.13: I've just remembered I wrote this post last year on a related subject.