It's your round
Did you see the match last night?
No, but I did hear Greg Mulholland the other day. He said:
This is it.
The government needs to wake up to the importance of the pub … Whenever a pub is proposed to go to a different use, be closed or demolished, the local community needs to be consulted.
At the end of the day, who owns the pub? Legally it's the pub operating company or the landlord. But morally, surely, a community, a village owns a pub that's been there for hundreds of years.
People talk about introducing a continental cafe culture to Britain where people treat alcohol with respect. But we used to have something close to that in the traditional pub. At the very least, being able to hold your drink was a quality to be admired.
Yeah, but it’s the kids, isn’t it?
The traditional pub was a patriarchal space, it is true. But in their haste to condemn patriarchy, the feminists…
Keep your head down, the landlady is looking at us.
…failed to reflect that patriarchy involved older men controlling younger men. We have lost that.
And why do people worry about underage drinking in pubs? You and I began going into pubs when we were 16. We drank beer and as long as we behaved ourselves no one took much notice. Today’s 16-year-olds are drinking vodka in bus shelters. Is that really better?
Well, it’s the supermarkets, isn’t it?
It is. The state is loading more and more duty on to drinks bought in pubs while the supermarkets are using alcohol as a loss leader. Should government act, say by enforcing a minimum price?
Jacqui Smith was asked about this on Monday. She said that, given the current economic climate in particular, she does not intend to do so at the moment. But she has not ruled it out for the future.
It’s an interesting dilemma for Liberals. Do we stand up for the right to buy and sell freely, or do we take a wider view of human well-being that involves the flourishing of institutions like public houses?
Don’t mind if… Oh look, we’ve cleared the bar.