Stand up and be counted
Where alcohol is concerned, I think it vital to stand up against those who would seek to tax it almost out of existence. We may disagree about the relative harm caused by cannabis, ecstasy and alcohol but we must not waiver in defence of our drink of choice. Beer is a legal drink, consumed on draught in legal, licensed premises. Sections of both the media and the scientific community are campaigning for increased prices for beer and other alcohols and more restictions on their availability. The Tories have said they will take a hard look at the current licensing law and may return us to the restricted pub hours that prevailed before the new act was introduced.
It's essential that we make common cause in defence of beer before it's taxed even more highly asnd more pubs close as drinkers are forced into the arms of supermarkets who are more interested in discounts and profits than choice.
I have to say frankly that some of the comments about the 50 Best Beers feature in the Independent are naive. First let us be grateful for the fact that the Indie, almost alone among national newspapers, gives regular space to beer, including a major supplement that coincided with the Great British Beer Festival in August. The critics of the choice of "50 Best..." are clearly unaware of the fact that every Saturday the paper runs a feature called "50 Best..." We could scarcely ask the paper to change that to something along the lines of "50 Not Bad Beers". It was promoting good beer. You may disagree with the choice but it was made by a team of seasoned beer writers (none of whom were paid, by the way). I think the Indie made a mistake in inviting too many writers to contribute, as a result of which many of our chosen beers did not feature as the paper had around 200 to choose from. In one case at least, a beer attributed to me was not on my list and never would be. But let's, above all, be pleased that a feature promoting beer appeared in a newspaper while most of competitors wouldn't touch beer with a barge-pole.