Saturday, February 07, 2009

MA 7.2.09 MPs unite to save pubs

Tony your overview and assessment of circumstances in our trade is always well considered and succinctly expressed. I sense that one pedant, errrr I mean person, at least might have missed a point you were making here which it's pertinent to stress... because it is SO important.

That is, as you say: 'There are a multitude of problems facing our trade.' Here lies the crux of anyone's problems when getting the message across to people from the outside, such as politicians, who are able to influence the fate of the pub industry.

There is such a bewildering number of fundamental problems besetting this industry that Pub Trade Information Bombardment Fatigue can set in on any person who's prepared to lend an ear to a knowledgeable insider's assessment of what is going on.

What is happening to pubs is one of THE stories of the century - EVERYONE knows pubs are shutting left right and centre - many outsiders see this as a national civil and social tragedy in terms of the long term detrimental effect this will have on sustainable competent local communities.

But try getting a tabloid paper to champion the story.

It's NOT single issue, it's complicated, it's likely to need various strands of complicated legislation to correct, it doesn't get reported widely, it stays beneath the radar in public consciousness. It's not a Golliwog in the shop at Sandringham or a slightly anachronistic statement by Carol Thatcher that's easy for the press to pick up and run with.

The ONLY single issue that's easy to report is that pubs are closing in droves. WHY they are closing is a much more complicated thing to get across to busy people who are all worried about their jobs and security.

Greg Mullholland's greatest difficulty - as with anyone in this position of supporting the Great British Pub - is in presenting a solid, identifiable front for pubs which can be latched onto and popularised that doesn't provoke comprehensive cerebral cortex shut down in all listeners and observers.

The TIE is THE issue which MUST be addressed first because it has perniciously pervaded every aspect of the trade, whether free or not, has pushed up retail prices, free trade rents, stultified evolution of the pub industry, distorted the market and diffused arguments about what pubs represent to the nation and what is their true value.

Once the tie is dealt with the trade can get on with stabilising the myriad other issues it faces and get on with rebuilding itself from the ground up.

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