Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The Mirror is NOT a Crystal Ball... You couldn't make it up.

I've been busy since my last post... got a pub up and running in Berwick-upon-Tweed it's been FULL ON for for the last four months, barely a day off, and learned a lot about the Edge of England but more of that later.

What gets my goat and everything else right this moment is this flagged up in my 'community pub' news alerts:

Irony abounds in the Tied Pub Sector ...

The Mirror; whose affable and accessible Kevin Maguire told me face to face in Strangers' Bar at House of Commons he'd be interested in doing an expose of the #GreatBritishPubcoScam - 'we do a lot on pubs' 'send me what you've got' passing card in my direction - never get a response; The Mirror teams up with Admiral Taverns one of the arch white collar criminals of the pub sector, well of Britain, - owned by Cerberus a US based private equity asset stripping vehicle specialising in converting British pubs into cash and ruining the lives of hundreds of publicans and their families - and the communities they hoped to serve when signing a toxic tied lease - OH KEV the joy of being important and distant from the public interface of a pub shop floor. SEE HERE:
The National Pub Quiz is a marketing push for Admiral Taverns, nothing more nor less. Tap in the participating pub (exclusively Admiral bonded) in my case (from TD15 1EQ Berwick-upon-Tweed) and my nearest pub is fifty miles away in my home town of Morpeth and it's called?
Main Street
NE65 9UT
You couldn't make it up. FFS thanks Kev.

Anyway, while Kev is entertaining people at his leisure - I'm off in a few hours to Birmingham to stand alongside my colleagues from the Pubs Advisory Service, Fair Pint and other fine folk who have been demanding FREEDOM and FAIRNESS (a non tucked up free market) in the Tied Pub Sector for a DECADE ... We're off to stand outside the Pubs Code Adjudicator's office to protest that the placeman who took the job (he was headhunted by the government) is CONFLICTED 

Until he took up this policing role for ensuring fairness and the tied tenant should be no worse off than the free of tie (the 'Prime Principle') Newby was long standing (20yrs) senior director at Fleurets 'The UK’s leading leisure property specialist' or a leading gatekeeper into the tied pub sector. He resigned his directorship but still owns shares and a director's debenture, or loan, or somesuch, valued around £230K - by their own admission 20% of Fleurets' business is in pubs... leases, sales, recruiting tied tenants for the furnaces of pubco hell... IF Newby does his job right and the pubco's don't like it - any dip in their using Fleurets means he may never get his money back.

No conflict there. Eh?


  1. Although not directly involved in the pub trade any more (Punch Taverns saw to that very nicely....) I continue to watch progress - or, rather, the lack of it - in the tied sector. I fear it is still awash with dodgy people/dealings that continue the destruction of our wonderful British Institutions, the local pubs. It is incredibly disheartening and I am thankful that there are still people like Mark and his colleagues who keep gnawing away at the issues on behalf of us all.

  2. The appointment of the Pubs Code Adjudicator was open to all applicants. The appointment brief is here:

    Further the appointment process was subject to the following code of practice:

    And finally "...The Commissioner for Public Appointments, Peter Riddell, also considered the matter and has confirmed his view that nothing was hidden and that there had been a proper, transparent process. He is also satisfied that the panel was entitled to conclude that Mr Newby has no such conflicts of interest..."

  3. I think this paragraph from the Caterer article is pertinent:

    "A Pubs Code Adjudicator spokesperson said: “We understand that some members of the Pubs Advisory Service are planning to visit Birmingham on March 15. The Adjudicator hopes that they will take up the offer he has made repeatedly to meet and talk about making the Pubs Code work for tenants. We have offered the PAS a date for a meeting and an opportunity to discuss the agenda in advance; to date that offer has not been taken up. The door remains open and we would urge PAS to put hostility aside and meet for a constructive discussion.”"

    Jaw-jaw always better than war-war!

    1. You appear to consistently deliberately miss the point which is a scam is designed to con everyone involved into believing that the reality is something it's not.

      IF Newby actually applied for the job his CV should have automatically disqualified him for the post. The likelihood is he was found, after a long scouring of the landscape for someone sympathetic to the situation, in as much as they wanted someone who'd keep the code in safe hands and not rock the tied sector boat. Government has been obfuscating all along, from blocking all attempts to democratically get the tie abolished following ten years of tedium while Select Committee enquiry after SC enquiry found pubco's should be regulated government kept passing the ball to 'self regulation' and awaiting another enquiry to see if there had been any changes to the pubco tenants relationship,to trying to block the Commons #voteforpubs in 2014 with a three line whip. The government is clearly in the pocket of pubco's and family brewers as no evidence is enough and no number of Select Committees would EVER be enough to convince government to take action. We got MRO through the government's back door by forcing it into the Small Business Bill and government tried frantically to block it. The last thing a government appointed recruitment agency is expected to be is objective. They wanted a stooge and they found it in Paul Newby. He was needed to fill the post as 'one of our men' a placeman. And Newby needed to get off Fleurets' payroll to reduce pubco's exposure to risk as they ramp up their bullying, lying, cheating, mugging and asset stripping Britain's unique social and cultural heritage .

      The evidence for all of this is pretty much irrefutable. Objectively his CV alone should disqualify

  4. So your position seems to be that various ministers and civil servants, the appointments panel, the Commissioner for Public Appointments, Fleurets, the pub companies and family brewers were all involved in a conspiracy to appoint Mr Newby as the PCA.

    Well if you say so I suppose it must be true, although there is, of course, absolutely no evidence of such a conspiracy.

    1. Rubbish. I don't believe for a moment in 'conspiracy'. Of course there isn't conspiracy - what is happening is simply clear evidence of how a Status Quo remains in place.

      Information is controlled by the people with the power and money and that is, of course, the pubcos - the story of the pub sector is that.

      WE the lessee publicans have almost no voice. We are like gnats in a big herd of elephants going about their business crushing the undergrowth.

  5. Besides that Newby's CV alone should have excluded him from the post. It wasn't. That he got the job is not evidence of conspiracy it's evidence of poor process and an overview of the pub sector by important people that discounts the value of pubs to the people who run them, the people and the places they serve. Because Important People understand pubs imperfectly - they don't by and large use pubs as their fundamental social networks. When they do use pubs it's for unusual dress down occasions - and when they go to shithole pubs they think, as they are supposed to, 'this pub doesn't deserve to survive, it is a shithole' because they do not understand for a moment why the pub has been run into the ground and is not actually fit for purpose ...