The last time I ventured within the M25, my car was broken into in a hotel car park, doing over £300 worth of damage, and stealing a valuable classic Pentax SLR camera. So I’m not really inclined to repeat the experience any day soon.
Tandleman makes regular visits to London, and has remarked in the past how the pub scene there, at least in the inner areas, seems to be much more vibrant than in the country as a whole. But London is very different from the rest of the country, and really is not representative.
The much more intensive provision of public transport, and the much higher proportion of middle-class residents of inner-urban areas are both likely to result in a much healthier pub trade than in the rest of the country. Only in London is it not considered unusual for a middle-class family to eschew a car.
It seems to me that Pete Brown’s Cask Report is very London-centric in its outlook, with its claims that cask beer attracts an upmarket clientele, and that some licensees are put off serving cask because of the lower margins it commands. That last point just does not resonate here at all – almost without exception, the reasons pubs don’t serve cask are (a) they see it as too much bother, and (b) they believe, rightly or wrongly, that there is insufficient demand for it.
This also leads to a more general problem in politics as so many “opinion formers” live in London, yet in numerous ways it is not representative of the rest of the country, transport of course being a prime example. We have seen this with the congestion charge that seems to work in London, but has been decisively rejected by electors in both Manchester and Edinburgh.