It wasn’t exactly a good advertisement for joined-up government when the Home Office announced that they wouldn’t be giving pubs a blanket extension for England’s late-night opening World Cup match, only to be in effect overruled by the Prime Minister the following day.
The argument that it wasn’t an event of national significance was ridiculous given how many pubs were likely to be interested in it, and was yet more evidence of how out-of-touch Civil Service mandarins are with ordinary people. And the alternative wasn’t pubs not opening, but having to apply for Temporary Event Notices on an individual basis, which would have cost each pub £21 and also resulted in a burden on councils who are always moaning about the cost of licensing administration.
So, a victory for common sense, but you have to wonder at the thought process that led the Home Office to make such a joyless “computer says no” announcement in the first place. Having said that, given that the matches will be on free-to-air TV, they may not be quite the moneyspinner that some licensees imagine. I can see many people preferring to opt for a few pints in the pub and then returning to watch it in the comfort of their own home.
Me? I’ll probably be tucked up safely in bed by then.