Pete Robinson is, as usual, spot-on here in his analysis of the effects of the smoking ban, three years on. The NewBreed customers simply don’t exist, and the idea that food can be the saviour of community pubs is a total delusion.
The Great British Pub is dead. It just doesn't know it yet.Nick Clegg’s Your Freedom initiative gives people the opportunity to make their voice heard – if you want to save the British pub, make sure you have your say.
It died three years ago when it allowed the State to dictate what goes on behind its doors. It died when it ended a 450-year-old relationship with its smoking customers.
Few at the time asked if this might be a poor idea. Instead of fighting for fairer concessions the trade instead lobbied hard for the 'level playing field'. Industry consensus went along with the plethora of bogus surveys financed at the taxpayers' expense proving beyond doubt that even smokers were desperate for a blanket ban.
Untold riches lay ahead if we converted our pubs into shrines to politically correct apartheid.
Critics such as myself were dismissed as doomsayers and conspiracy theorists. We still are, despite time proving us right.
This industry's obsession with clearing out the riff-raff was like Basil Fawlty on 'Gourmet Night'. Deep cleansing, sterilising and redecorating to remove any shred of evidence the once loyal, nasty smoking customers had ever been there. A new dawn was beginning and the promised New Breed of non-smoking customer was all that mattered.
Unwittingly the trade ripped out the very heart and soul of the pub. From that day on the customers began a long exodus that has been impossible to abate, draining the life blood from this industry.
Devoid of soul our pubs struggle on like zombies in the vain hope of a new injection of sustenance when NewBreed starts coming through the door.
When are we gonna realise the painful truth? NewBreed isn't coming. He never existed, other than in the cunning imagination of anti-smoking groups to bait the seductive hook this industry so hungrily swallowed.