Friday, 13 June 2014

In two minds about pubs

Beer - not just for
boosting sales of Sky Sports
I think I'm becoming fed up with the authorities' schizophrenic attitude to pubs. This thought was prompted by reading Boris Johnson's pronouncement that "one of London's many fantastic pubs" is the best place to watch the World Cup. He was announcing that there would be more late buses and taxi ranks to enable football fans to get home safely because the time difference will mean some matches will end after the last Underground trains have gone.

It reminds of me of other national occasions, such as the Olympics or royal weddings, when inanely smiling politicians dole out licence extensions "so that we can all celebrate as one nation", or some such prattle. At times like this, pubs are great British institutions, unique in the world, part of what made Britain great.

At all other times, pubs are a problem, responsible for binge drinking, disorder on the streets, violence and injuries. Duty has to be raised, minimum prices considered, and a flood of intensive propaganda published to tackle an undesirable social scourge. In my last job, some of my colleagues were amazed if I happened to mention about going into town centre pubs at weekends. They looked unbelieving when I told them I saw very little trouble; clearly the propaganda that town centres are like the Wild West at weekends has done its job.

But when politicians want to benefit from the feel-good factor that a national occasion might foster, it's all: "go down the pub, enjoy the party, let your hair down".

But then, should I be surprised that politicians can be two-faced?

I won't be watching any matches, but I don't need such excuses to go to the pub.


  1. I think it's more insidious than that. Politicians are already working on the assumption that there are pubgoers and normal people, who stay well away from them (the pubs and the pubgoers). The "Great British Pub" nonsense doesn't really contradict that division, because it's aimed at drumming up more business from the pubgoers. What Johnson's basically saying is "You there! Young, male, a bit 'lairy', like to have a drink and watch the footy? Come on down! Lager lager lager lager!"

  2. Politicians like to pay lip service to a kind of rose-tinted ideal of pubs, but in practice most detest them.

  3. Anything for a few votes, eh? Hypocrites the lot of them, I'm afraid.

    BTY, Nev, I've got a friend who is rather like your former colleagues. He looks horrified whenever I mention visiting a few town centre pubs late in the evening. Tonbridge isn't exactly Dodge City, so once again it's people's perception and unwarranted fear of trouble, rather than what actually goes on, that is the problem.

    I don't think him reading the Daily Mail helps with this though!

  4. It's safer at home with a slab fromm the supermarket.


Comments, including disagreements, are welcome.
Abuse and spam are not and will be deleted straight away.
Comment moderation is installed for older posts.