Sunday, February 15, 2009

Whispers from the hallways of the Mother of All Parliaments have it that Fair Pint Campaign is being rubbished by the Pro Propco Lobby as being run by a bunch of 'extremists' who are 'attacking' the Tie because they are looking for someone to blame for their own ineptitude at running their business. Excellent. It seems like Fair Pint's getting somewhere.

Readers may also have noticed an enormous media push on all pub fronts anti goverment. A media storm brewing about the pub industry stirred up by propco sponsored outfits such as BBPA all designed to divert attention away from The Tie Must Go argument.

This is a flattering indication of how much the Fair Pint Campaign has achieved and just how far the debate about the pub industry has come on in a remarkably short time - only a year ago it was essentially taboo to even mention the Tie as being a problem in this industry. A year ago the tie was The Elephant In The Room. Now it's being dissected on a butcher's block in the public operating theatre with crowds of keen observers taking detailed notes.

The clear, compelling and damning evidence provided by this close examination of the Tie is shocking. And everyone who learns the reality of the circumstances of the Tie when it is described by knowledgeable, bright and well informed licensees, presented with honesty and integrity by real pub operators rather than men in suits who count beans for a living; everyone - everyone IS shocked.

The Tie is unarguably the most damaging issue facing the pub trade NOW. All other issues affecting the trade are subsidiary to it. The tie and its appalling mis-management is the root of the trade's problems. The tie is bankrupting half the pub industry.

Unbiased people observing the pub scene can see that the Fair Pint Campaign has been conducted with professionalism that comes from an incisive and well informed understanding of the tied pub business. This is not the work of extremists. The argument stands up to scrutiny. It is peer reviewed; the argument is proven. The tie does not work.

The answer to a huge part of this trade's difficulties is simply to end the tie. This is hardly a controvesial issue.

The property company bosses appearance at the BEC hearings confirmed this; from what they said they seem to believe the discounts they give mean tenants are getting a better through the propco than they would if they were thrown to the lions and made free of tie.

They also said the tie is of such wonderfulness they believe there would be many more pub closures without the tie than there are now. If they are so conficent that the tie is beneficial make it voluntary immediately - and compete in the open market. If your lessees are getting the deal you say they are - they'll stay with you, as loyal customers pleased with the service you have given them.

When this situation is viewed rationally, the extremists are those who uphold the tie as a model for success - against all the glaring evidence to the contrary. They are either hugely dishonest, in denial, or they really just don't know they are killing an industry. Which ever one it is, they must be made properly accountable for their performance.

There's no need for any muck spreading by Fair Pint. The muck is being spread thick enough by the pubco poodles we all know and love. Fair Pint will continue to be honourable and honest and convincing.

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