Saturday, February 07, 2009

Cordial Invitation To A Chat

Dear Gentlemen Chief Executives of the Big six

This invitation was originally extended to you on 8 February 2008 in a posting on this forum. The You and Yours programme broadcast that day had a slot: 'Is There A Future In Running A Pub?'. Jonathan Neame, Andrew Pring and Mike Bell took part. The programme was by no means conclusive, if anything it suggested that everything is tally ho in the world of pubs but there was a hint that things were not as they should be. It was reported as 'Beer tie attacked on Radio 4'. Some listeners felt there was no attack, only whitewash. The thread it stimulated is here:

That programme led to the formation of a coalition of tied lessees and supporters from the pub trade who became the Fair Pint Campaign.

Gentlemen, you are formally invited to a round table debate about the state of the tied pub industry. The format of the discussion will be dependent on how many choose to take part but it will be an open, friendly and cordial meeting and you will be invited to share in shaping the format of the discussion.

The aim of the meeting will be to find common ground between lessees and the people who call them 'customers' and 'partners'.

The venue is not set but we could, for example, request space at the GLA debating chamber, where an invited audience could become better informed and we could ask for televised coverage of the talk.

Look forward to hearing from you.

Best wishes

J Mark Dodds

PS Just PM or email me on if you're interested. Go on, break the routine, it'll be fun.

Cordial Invitation To A Chat from Forum user 4293

I think this could be a good idea however I feel that the likes of Giles Thorley, Ted Tuppen et al reading these forums is slim so it might be an idea to formally write to them requesting their attendance?

If its done in a professional manner you are more likely to get them attending though I think Ted Tuppen's attendance would be highly unlikely if recent press reports about his reaction to the protest etc are fully correct

This post replies to J Mark Dodds > Cordial Invitation To A Chat

Thanks for your thoughts 4293... I can assure you this forum, and the Publican, is read regularly by CEOs and other officers of the pubcos, almost required in fact. Apart from fiddling, fire fighting and fielding calls from frightened creditors I don't suppose they have much else to do these days.

You are right in principle, a letter request would be more professional but no more likely to get an affirmative response - pubco execs are not know for exposing themselves to open scrutiny unless in front of a Parliamentary Inquiry where they are not under oath - and besides this invitation is a personal approach rather than on behalf of campaign group. This was a spontaneous follow up from the on the spur of the moment invitation almost exactly a year ago which was naturally, of course, completely ignored.

In this past year a lot has happened in the pub industry at the same time as not very much at all. It's time the enormous issues challenging the industry were broadcast further afield - a main reason for the protest at the E and P HQ's a fortnight ago - and a round table discussion with pubco execs vs the licensees who pay their wages, bonuses and share options would reveal a lot. Starting with how much the head honchos actually understand about their business which revolves around people, property, pubs and beer.

Perhaps I'll bring this up at the next Fair Pint steering meeting to see if there's a will to get something like this off the ground. I mentioned the GLA building because Valerie Shawcross mentioned it might be possible to use it for a large public meeting as long as the subject affected a lot of London businesses and constituents and was kept apolitical and non partisan. Seems this might fit the bill. Perhaps we could invite someone like Jeremy Paxman to chair the meeting and keep it as an open panel format with Qs and As from the audience set in advance?

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