This blog has now been going for seven years, and I make no apology in saying that the smoking ban was what prompted its creation and, while it has touched on many other issues, that has always remained its core theme.
As it says in the sidebar,:
This is not a beer blog. It's a view of life from the saloon bar, not entirely about the saloon bar - which of course is a metaphorical place as well as a physical one. It is as much about political correctness and the erosion of lifestyle freedom as it is about pubs and beer.At that time I had never even heard of “beer blogs” and wasn’t aware there was anyone else blogging on the same kind of subject. It took a couple of years to feel I was part of a kind of wider community. I have always regarded this as basically a blog about lifestyle freedom viewed through the bottom of a beer glass, rather than a beer blog as such. I have commented freely on areas relating to diet, drugs and smoking as well as alcohol, but in general have steered clear of wider political issues. I haven’t banged on about defence, climate change, taxation or transport, although I have well-formed views on those subjects. Most of the members of the local branch of CAMRA have considerably more left-wing views than I do, but we still manage to get on amicably.
I have created a second blog to enable me to address these wider issues, but to be honest this has only been sporadically updated and has attracted little interest.
Pete Brown is a well-respected beer writer. I own a number of his books and have given a positive review to his cider book here. We’ve always known he’s a bit of a Leftie, but so long as that doesn’t become too predominant in his writing it’s something you can put up with. Indeed it is a sign of a good writer that you are able to write intelligently about your chosen subject without letting your political stance dominate.
However, he has really blotted his copybook with this highly partisan rant against UKIP. He hangs it on the argument that many innovations in British brewing would not have taken place without immigration, but in doing so deliberately and knowingly misrepresents UKIP policy. UKIP does not seek to ban all immigration, but simply to apply a quality threshold, as happens in countries like Australia and Canada. UKIP’s immigration policy would not have excluded any of those talented brewers.
I have to admit I made one or two intemperate comments in response to that post, for which I apologise. I should have kept a clearer head. But the post is basically dishonest.
As I have said on the other blog, I have a considerable amount of sympathy for UKIP, especially over their opposition to the smoking ban, but I am certainly not an uncritical supporter. However, there’s a good argument that UKIP is the one major political party that is really prepared to stand up for pubs.
But if the likes of Pete Brown are saying that any UKIP voter is somehow beyond the pale and not part of the political mainstream, they will ultimately diminish themselves. If you turn your beer blog into a political platform covering issues well beyond beer, pubs and brewing then you are likely to alienate many of your readers. Pete is fully entitled to his views, but they are out of place on a beer focused blog.
It would be interesting if Pete was prepared to run a poll on his blog about the political allegiance of his readers. He might find rather more UKIP supporters than he feels comfortable with.