I have never claimed it is a single-cause explanation, but the sheer scale of pub closures over the past four years is absolutely unprecedented, and only the most extreme and self-deluding antismoker will deny that the smoking ban has been a major cause.
And, of course, the argument against it is not just a utilitarian one that it has closed thousands of pubs. It is morally abhorrent - an obnoxious policy of intolerance, founded on hatred, bigotry and junk science, described by Lord Stoddart of Swindon as “one of the most restrictive, spiteful and socially divisive pieces of legislation imposed by any British Government.” It also sets a very clear precedent for what is increasingly happening to the alcohol industry. Anyone who claims to have the interests of pubs at heart who supports it is, frankly, either a fool or a knave. But there are none so blind as those who will not see.
In past years Pete Robinson has given us a few trenchant home truths on the subject in The Publican, but unfortunately that publication is now defunct and the Morning Advertiser doesn’t seem to have retained his services as a contributor, more’s the pity. Note the particularly vile comments from one antismoker on that thread.
One or two of the usual suspects have been whingeing about me harping on about this subject. Well, sorry, but the creation of this blog was prompted by the smoking ban and that, more than anything else, is at heart what it’s about. Are they going to go on the Daily Kitten and start saying “Hey, enough of all the moggies”?