Thursday, 25 March 2010

No Crow.

No, it's not about Bob 'all out, comrades' Crow and his last-ditch attempt to destroy any chance of his pet Gorgon getting back in at the election. Constantly Furious and Al-Jahom have that one covered.

This is about CAMRA's apparent realisation that something isn't quite right with the world, even when viewed through a frothy glass. Beer duty just keeps going up and up, and Ciderman is crying into his glass. Why, oh why, are the government doing this to them? After they were so supportive of getting all of us vile smokers and our inferior-grade tobacco out of their pubs, which then closed.

Well, we smokers could all crow 'Told you so' but I'm not going to do that. Not least because I like, or rather used to like, going to the pub as often as possible. I rarely visit now. It's weather dependent these days. CAMRA were delighted when I was effectively banned, along with thousands like me, and are now bleating because the price of beer is going up.

Well, business rates, staff, stock, all has to be paid for and with fewer customers there's no option but to charge each one more. And the government total tax take is down because fewer pints are sold and their answer to that is always - always - to increase the duty per pint to keep their tax take the same.

I'm not going to crow about it because the current denormalisation being experienced by drinkers (all drinkers, not just the cans-in-the-park ones) is not the first, and won't be the last time.

There's no point in CAMRA keeping up their 'But we are responsible drinkers, we are the elite of drinkers' protest because the Ban Boys simply do not care. You are drinkers. As far as they are concerned, there is only one kind of drinker. The kind that must be eradicated. Just as there is only one kind of smoker, the kind that blow smoke into prams and stub out their cigarettes in pensioners' eyes. All the same.

Drink controls are coming. Already it's impossible to have a bottle of wine with a picnic in many places. Escalating duty, just like cigarettes. It's not going to stop. Pubs are changing into restaurants where drinking without a meal is already frowned on. It's not illegal, it probably never will be, but those restaurants are in the food business now. Booze is secondary. Once you finish the meal (and you're not going to get away with a bag of pork scratchings) you'll be hustled out to make room for the next profitable customer.

Pubs can't survive much more of this. There are some very nice out-of-town pubs but unless you know someone with a car who is happy to drink orange juice all evening, they are out of range. Country buses don't run late. Around here, you'd have to leave the pub by 8 pm to get home - and for many pubs, you'd have to leave a lot earlier. There is really no point in allowing 24-hour drinking if nobody can get there.

So, CAMRA, no crowing here. I want those pubs too. I want to be able to smoke in some of them - not all, I'm not selfish enough to demand that all pubs cater to my personal preferences - but you won't let me.

If smokers could go to the pub, we'd spend money in there. They wouldn't have to turn into restaurants, the overall tax take wouldn't drop so fast so the government wouldn't have to keep increasing it quite so much, the publican would make more money overall so wouldn't have to raise prices, and pubs closures would slow, maybe even reverse.

It's not going to happen though, is it? The people CAMRA have sided with are not only out to get rid of smokers.

They're after drinkers too. Not the Saturday night boozy scrappers. Those are too risky to tackle. Instead, they go for the easy targets who like a pint or two now and then. You know, like real ale connoisseurs.

I don't think that's quite sunk in yet. It'll be too late when it does.


Chief_Sceptic said...

The UK is (IMHO) totally fucked - somewhat "off-topic", but here's a a Thread that I started on the 'infamous' Honda forum ...

john miller said...

A friend has returned from south Africa with a tale of the authorities combining astounding political correctness with common sense.

Every bar has to have a non-smoking area if it allows smoking.

But you can't smoke in the garden because of the children. So if you want a fag, you have to go inside...

carbchick said...

this is precisely why I get annoyed when the 'pro-choicers' in the smoking debate give the antis SO MUCH AS AN INCH. Why do they accept that smoking in front of children is unacceptable, when the evidence for dangers from secondhand smoke is INCONCLUSIVE?

We should not give them ANYTHING, EVER.

We should repeat our mantra with the same obduracy as they repeat their lies.

NO MORE CONCESSIONS. AT ALL, EVER. We have already surrendered far, far too much.

Giolla said...

Not sure CAMRA have seen the light from the last issue of "What's brewing" which was pre budget:

"the chancellor might see reason and help promote responsible drinking by putting a halt to the special treatment given to spirits and diverting the money to reducing beer tax."

So looks like it's still beet up the other guy not us.

Anonymous said...


That's why I believe that Simon Clark of FOREST is actually doing smokers a huge disservice. He readily concedes things like, smokers shouldn't smoke in front of children - like it was masturbation, or strangling your neighbour.

IMO, Simon Clark needs more Jeremy Clarkson in him.

Matthew Walker said...

How wrong they were. Just read this piece posted on the CAMRA website prior to the smoking ban in '07. Apparently most of us who smoke are lager drinkers!

"Millions will return to the Pub after Smoking Ban"

A new survey by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has revealed the public's attitudes to the forthcoming smoking ban in England and Wales later in 2007.

The sample survey's key findings indicated that:

6.2 million people (17% of all adults in England and Wales) who visit pubs regularly are likely to visit pubs more often. Of that group 97% were non-smokers.

840,000 people who currently never go to a pub said they will after the smoking ban. Added to the figure for people who currently visit regularly that is a total of 7,040,000 people who will visit pubs more often.

93% of real ale drinkers said they would be more likely to visit pubs more often or that their visiting habits would not be changed by the ban. See table 1.

68% of regular smokers say it will not change their pub visiting habits at all.

69% of all adults said it would not affect their visits to pubs at all, only 3% said they would not visit pubs at all as a result of the ban.

Smokers are typically lager drinkers (43% of lager drinkers said they smoke).

Like all charities and most large campaigns, CAMRA is just another idiot lackey to the government.

Anonymous said...

All the more reason to brew your own.

The motives of the Righteous? Probably to discourage congregation.

The means of achieving this goal are not important.

Anonymous said...

they'll just drive us to smoking and drinking at home and socialising via the net.

Leg-iron said...

Giolla - So CAMRA are 'doing a CAMRA' on whisky drinkers next, eh?

I'm one of those too. They really don't want any allies at all, do they?

Leg-iron said...

Carbchick - I agree. We've tried being reasonable and we are met with unreasoning blanket condemnation.

No more offers of compromise. We should campaign to make ALL pubs smoking and see if they are then prepared to meet us halfway.

I doubt it.

Anonymous said...

68% of regular smokers say it will not change their pub visiting habits at all.

Dis they omit the hyphen there. Surely they meant to say 6-8%.

The pubs that are now 'restaurants' still like to make a profit on the drinks and hate people going their for a meal and saying 'no thanks' to a drink. The prices that they charge for food is often a 'loss leader' in the hope that patrons will have a bottle or two of wine at the table.
If all smokers who still went out would all say 'no' to a drink with a meal in a pub/restaurant/cafe the owners would be screaming for smokers to be welcome again.

Antipholus Papps said...

But you can't smoke in the garden because of the children.

Fuck the children! Not literally, obviously, I'm not a Catholic, but since when were children crowned King? Neither of my parents were smokers and I'm a militant tobacco enthusiast! Stop treating people as though they were made of bone china!

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