(My pub used to be full of old'uns at dinner times)It seems that Lancashire, Wales and the Midlands have suffered most, seeing a 27% drop in sales in the last year alone. Well, seeing as 40% of my local pubs have vanished over the past 5 years, the above figures are hardly surprising are they! The smoking ban has wreaked a terrible havoc in its near 5.5 year existence yet people (who hardly ever use the pub) still bang on about how nice it is to go into a smokefree place for a drink. In almost 4 weeks time you can imagine all the once a year 'Hoorah Henry's' marching into their local-if it's still there, and ordering their celebratory Christmas drinks, "I say, barperson, 3 xxxxxx, 2 pints of xxxxx and 3 bags of nuts, same as last Christmas-surely you remember!" It wouldn't occur to these woodentops that the barperson wasn't working there last year or even that they might be in a different pub as the usual haunt had closed sometime between the two dates for as far as they are concerned they are there and that's all that matters.
A billion pints eh? Think of all the revenue government has lost from that little lot, dear oh dear me. Yet there is such a simple answer to it all.
The above report, quite bizarrely, coincides with:
If we selling one billion fewer pints than we did 4 years ago, how is it that we have a drinking problem whereby the government feels it necessary to impose a minimum pricing structure? Surely, if there was a drinking problem, it was 4 years ago - but the smoking ban has sorted that out by evicting smokers from the pubs!Options for a minimum price on alcohol are set to be announced by the government this week, as Prime Minister David Cameron launches a long-awaited consultation.
vI kid you not-check the link! Apparently this latest study concurs with a US study in 2005 which found that alcohol abuse killed approx 75,000 Americans each year and shortened lifespans by at least 30 years. WOW-"at least"! So we are to take it that if a serious drinker died today aged 70, if he didn't drink at all (or only moderately) he would have lived until he was at least 100 years old! These medical people must have a whole heap of crystal balls laying about for all these estimations & guestimations. I mean to say, smokers die up to ten years early [apparently] (although I know plenty of smokers that are in their 70's already!) but we now have news that females who give up smoking by their forties will now live an extra ten years! The medical world really is turning into something akin to the national lottery where you simply pick numbers! Scotland had the same madcap idea but it looks like their minimum pricing bid is going to fall foul of European laws etc-as probably will Mr C's attempts too.
Of course, the pubs losses have been the supermarkets gains -and fair play to them for capitalising on the stupidest law enacted since the clockmakers tax of the 1790's! Had choice been allowed then I very much doubt we would have lost 11,000 pubs/clubs and seen beer sales drop by such a massive amount. They stopped making clocks & watches then and they've stopped using pubs now!
But despite the obvious shockwaves caused by the above news there is a much greater piece of news to report upon and that is the new Health Minister being concerned about the elderly and their apparent loneliness! Well upon my soul, for upon my instigation, the worlds very first "Triblogology" was created by myself and others over twenty months ago on this very subject, you might like to read parts 1, 2 & 3 - I'm absolutely sure that Jeremy Hunt will be intrigued!
And please check out the superb video in part 3.(with thanks to Paul Kearns & John Baker for their technical knowhow)
Jeremy Hunt quoted
READ: "For the first time local authorities will identify areas where older people suffer most acutely from loneliness to allow them to tackle the growing problem of social isolation and its harmful effects", announced Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt.
READ: Five million elderly people only have television for company as they see friends and family less than once a month, the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said, as he announced new measures for councils to tackle the problem.
I think you get the general idea from the above, we have, in the past 5 years, bred a nation of lonely souls and it is all courtesy of the smoking ban. Thank you Anthony Charles Lynton Blair, who once appeared in court (I'm told) under the name of Charles Lynton (hmmm, devious even then!) for creating this plethora of aged misery, one can only hope that at some ageing stage of your exotic life you suffer similarly-perhaps in splendid isolation in prison for your war mongering!READ: Maps showing solcial isolation across the UK are being drawn up in a bid to tackle 'fastest growing health problem in Britain ", said Jeremy Hunt
You see folks, with an ageing population and with that population living longer we need all the recreational outlets that we can muster-yet we purposely close one of the simplest and most effective social elements within our culture - our pubs & clubs and you cannot hold a conversation with a TV set-unless of course you are already in the nut-house! I don't quite know how Jeremey Hunt intends to sort this mess out but I can assure him that providing meals on wheels is no answer. What is the point of rushing in someone's front door with medium warm food only to rush out again 2 minutes later because that provider/carer has a van full of medium warm dinners to serve. Where is the social contact in that I ask?
Mr Hunt said: “Tackling loneliness, by giving people better care and improved services, is another step towards making the UK one of the best places to live in Europe for older people.
Is it now? But he doesn't mention anything about any of our elderly getting out to socialise and meet others in the same situation! I wouldn't want to set my day by someone I hardly know nipping in at 10am and again at 3.30pm, I'd want the ability to be able to go out and socialise properly, in a pub with a fag or two. Now that is socialising!
“We need a measure of loneliness to shine a light on this problem and to know what we are dealing with. Once we have this solid evidence, local communities will have new tools to come up with the right, targeted solutions to the problem.”
The right solution? Easily sorted then Jeremy, move the smoking ban to the Business sector and away from the health fanatics, because they are simply killing of thousands of elderly people through loneliness, then amend the ban to accomodate choice and bingo (!) you have solved the loneliness problem for thousands of elderly but active pensioners and you give the pubs & clubs fresh hopes for survival. It's a win/win situation all ways round.
Put another way Jeremy, would you rather 'conk out' with a pint in your hand or being miserably alone in your little OAP accomodation-where you might not be found until 10.30 am the next day?
Enjoy a miserable death-it's a wonderful life!