Naice people don't use pubs
The media bias against the poor old battered British boozer is now so bad that popping out for a pint is akin to visiting an opium den. March 4 was the day designated by the British Beer and Pub Assocation, CAMRA and other worthy bodies as a day to bring to the attention of the public the plight of the pub. It was a day that culminated in a lobby of parliament and a meeting with MPs.
The media gave the event good coverage -- but the coverage was spoilt by the snooty attitude of some presenters. On the once revered BBC Radio 4 Today programme the item on the pub was handed to presenter Edward Stourton, known as Posh Ed to his colleagues. You could hear in the smarmy voice of the Ampleforth and Cambridge University educated Stourton that the very notion of visiting a public house brought him out in a nervous rash. He told Mark Hastings from the BBPA, who had argued that duty should be lowered on beer to allow pubs to compete with supermarkets, that surely encouraging people to go to pubs could only encourage binge drinking. Please adjust your prejudice, Mr Stourton: publicans lose their licences if they allow falling-down behaviour. Mind you, Mark Hastings didn't help the cause by describing pubs as "controlled environments". Makes them sound as appealing as a battery hen farm. "I say, dear, shall we put our orange suits on and pop round to the Guantanamo Arms for a pint this evening?"
It wasn't much better on BBC 2's Daily Politics, hosted by Andrew "Brillo" Neil. His orange face turned puce: "Don't like pubs," he grated. "Warm beer and no ice." Government minister Ben Bradshaw didn't help by claiming he was member of CAMRA -- news to me -- "and we like warm beer". Bit off message there, Ben boy. The programme did include an interview with actor Neil Morrissey, who runs a pub near Boroughbridge in Yorkshire and he put the case for the pub well, stressing its community role. But back in the studio, John Grogan MP, chairman of the Parliamentary Beer Group, was also chuntering about pubs offering a "controlled environment". Can we drop this mind-numbingly awful expression. Who in their right mind wants to go to a controlled environment? Plenty of those in North Korea.
The one positive thing to come out of the programme was that Brillo admitted he quite liked the look of Morrisey's pub -- "wouldn't mnind going there," he said.
It will probably close next week.