Tuesday, 5 January 2010

When will sanity prevail?

Written to Ewan Turney (MA) on the back of the MA snapshot survey of Pubs & Christmas-just thought I would share this with you all.

Dear Ewan
I write to you on the back of your excellent 'snapshot' survey of the festive pub situation and find myself drawn to this line..."Despite the tough outlook for the year, 66% expect to be at their pub next year.""66% expect to be at their pub next year"...which basically means that 34% do not expect to be at their pub next year! A damning indictment of what the smokeban has created-a loss of hope.

The people of this country must realise that for whatever so called 'health reasons' the smokeban was introduced, it is nothing more than a social engineering exercise. There is no concrete proof that passive smoking kills just as there is no evidence that this spiteful, restrictive and socially destructive law is saving the purported 40,000 lives per annum! Name one of either group I say.

My local pub, a happy community pub (was) welcomed the smokeban as they were sucked in by all the spin & hype surrounding the 'new clean air customers' waiting to invade. They (licensees) had shares in Punch (it is not a Punch pub by the way) which I fervently pleaded with them to sell pre ban. They are still awaiting the arrival of the 'clean air hoardes' and have seen their prized 'pension fund' drop from £12.68 per share (approximately) to a ridiculous 00.75p in the space of 30 months.

Disallusioned? Yes!
Disheartened? Absolutely!

I popped in on Monday night (4th Jan) at 8.45pm to find a brace of geriatrics donning hats, scarves & thick winter coats before trudging out to their car. On the table they left behind them 2 empty half pint glasses-the single staff member had already been sent home; shift curtailed due to inactivity. I endured the splendid solitude of this once thriving community pub for 35 minutes before my friend came in to claim his nightly pint. We retired outside to the best smoking shelter in the area. The Brewery provided such but promptly added more monies to the monthly rent! Two other friends turned up within minutes, both non smokers I might add but they enjoy the company, and we spent the next 2 hours alternating between interior solitude and exterior pleasures; ie having a cigarette!

30 months ago there would have easily been 40 people in my local at this time of year but you see this government, using the simple 'divide & rule' tactic, ensured that the majority of those 40 would troop off to the supermarket and simply enjoy 'house parties'-where they could smoke to their hearts content.The licensee has had a change of heart and asked me "how the campaign was going?" I told him that freedom2choose.info was fighting vigorously to have the ban reformed but without the support of himself and thousands of licensees it was an uphill struggle. A simple truth.

He now agrees that he would happily entertain smokers for he has witnessed, at first hand, the devastation of this ban.How many other licensees would now be of similar mind?He did make the point that non smokers had a right not to be in a smokey environment-and fair play to that- but I quickly pointed out that he has two rooms and both with bar facilities in! How simple was the solution to his problem? That problem being the dearth of regular customers!

Ewan, you know as well as I do that many moons ago we had such a thing as a "SNUG" where smokers happily enjoyed both smoke & beer. Neither complained about the other, never was a hatred by one of the other spawned, and never was there violence created by one against the other, yet in this day and age one single badly executed law has created a hatred and intolerance between the factions. It has set man against man. It has caused colossal losses to industry. It has caused more bankruptcies than enough. it has rendered many couples homeless as a result of closure and it has caused 4 suicides for unfortunates that could see no way out of their desperation & misery.

Add to that approximately 100,000 job losses within the hospitality sector and you begin to see that all that maybe glittered was certainly never gold!

As we approach the 'death knell' period for many pubs & clubs (Jan-April), just how many would happily invite smokers back through the doors? Just how many could, with simple alterations & ventilation, cater for smokers & non smokers alike. How many thousands of businesses would this save from annihilation?

We had to listen to the Pubco's 'sucking up' to Government spin-we had no choice as the clean air fantasia drum was furiously beaten. How the likes of Mr Thorley & Mr Tuppen thought pubs would profit from such a move is totally beyond me-and many others-for 68% of regular drinkers have always been smokers! They are a different breed to non smokers in the main, they don't seem to worry about every last penny (unlike thousands of licensees these days!) and were always happy to lean against the bar with a pint.

Having 'leperised' 68% of their customer base pubs/clubs are now finding that approximately 20% of smokers non smoking friends have also deserted, preferring to enjoy house parties with their smoking friends. So just where do the new clean air pubs fit into all this?

"During these difficult times....." Food orientated! So now we have pub after pub portraying fantastic food offers. Good for them I say, but, when all pubs have resorted to food they are going to suffer the same fate as there will be too many food outlets to cater for the small minority that can actually afford to eat out on a daily basis! And most of them will not venture out in arctic conditions.

There has to be choice, there is no other answer, for without choice it is just a question of how many more pubs will close this year, just a question of how many more ex employees join the dole queues, and just a question of how many more commit the ultimate sacrifice: suicide through stress.

The WMCIU have thrown their support behind f2c, for they know that CHOICE is the only answer to survival. Freedom2choose are there for all the hospitality sector but are the licensees prepared to possibly irritate their Pubco masters in order to save their livelyhoods?

If 34% feel they won't be here in 12 months time just what have they got to lose?Phil Johnson,
Pub & Club Liaison Officer,
T: 0116 2997760
M: 07773 926818


  1. Class article ,Phil.
    If only this message could be rammed down the
    quivering throats of the frightened publicans
    and some of their petrified customers.
    The time has come to pick out the appeasers,
    the pubs waiting for others to close and then
    gather the left overs.
    There are many pubs who dont care because they
    survive by late night smoking behind closed doors and curtains,time to make use of the
    authorities to wake these dipsticks up.
    Yes ,use the ban to get rid of it,Machiavellian you might say.
    Another complete disaster is the disunity of
    the various anti ban campaigns and bloggers.
    The fact that a few hundred health freaks can
    subdue 10 million smokers,50,000 venues and
    umpteen campaigns is mind blowing.
    Any group that refuses to fight with others is far more an enemy than ASH,CRUK,WHO,Glanz,
    PHARMA CORPS, put together

    Gothic League

  2. Superb article - as Gothic League says, this should be rammed down the throats of everyone who still isn't listening to common sense and factual truth.

    Rick S