This weeks sixty-sample madness is to happen one day earlier than expected. That doesn't sound like much but it gives me one whole day less to prepare and since I'm the last-minute sort, it means panic. So it was with some relief that I received a couple of Emails asking me to mention some things. It saves me thinking.
First, this -
I would argue that pubs need customers, but then many of their customers were smokers. Twenty percent of the UK population are smokers but far more than twenty percent of pub regulars were smokers. Pubs have been forced, by law, to effectively exclude a large proportion of their traditional customer base. Those pious ones who said they would go to pubs once the filthy smokers were ejected were lying.
Because, you see, those that are vehemently against smoking are, in large part, also vehemently against drinking. Pub closures suit them. They never intended to go to the pubs. They wanted the pubs to die. Now they are after drinkers too.
There are still pubs that don't get it. There are pubs that don't like Electrofag because 'it looks like smoking' and really, if they cannot be bothered trying to keep our custom in any form, why try to help? Other pubs are happy with Electrofag. Some, like Ma Cameron's in Aberdeen, come highly recommended because they do their best to cater for smokers. The smoking area is on the roof, with seats, parasols with heaters inside, and very nice too. Away from the passing Righteous in the street and although it's too far for me to visit often (last time I was there was for a pint with Kynon and that was quite some time ago), it seems fairly fake-cough free.
Pubs, on the whole, don't want to exclude us but last winter was harsh and this summer has been wet and cold. We are not going outside, we are staying home. It has nothing to do with supermarket prices. We'd rather go to the pub, but we aren't allowed inside.
You can download A3 or A4 posters on this page. I'm not going to hand deliver them. I'll print A4 ones, the biggest I can print, and post them to every pub in the area. Anonymously, but with an explanatory note. A week later I'll have a bit of a wander and call in on those pubs. The ones worth working to save will have the poster up.
Those who don't want us back can stay non-smoking. Their premises, their choice. I don't mind. I just won't go there.
For those who want the choice to allow smokers back inside, I will fight.