Obviously the guardian of political correctness and received wisdom at the BBC had a day off and this article about the decline of the pub trade in South Wales somehow slipped through the net.
Licensee Colin Davies of the Clydach Vale Hotel, Tonypandy, is quoted as saying:
“It's terrible and these are sad times for everyone.That sounds all too typical of the experience of working-class communities the length and breath of Britain. Even Iain Loe of CAMRA grudgingly admits that the smoking ban might have had something to do with it. What a pity he didn’t recognise that three years ago, really.
“In my opinion, it all comes from the smoking ban. We really noticed a huge difference. Our customers just stopped coming.
“People in the valleys don't want a gastro pub - they want somewhere they can come and have a drink, a smoke and chat.
“I'm lucky - I've just finished paying off my pub's mortgage. If I hadn't, I think we'd be closed now. Two more pubs have closed here and I know of others that are struggling.
“Once these pubs are gone, they usually just become derelict and it affects everyone. People who have been meeting for years have to stay at home and for many, particularly older people, it becomes very lonely.”
However, all his comments about pubs diversifying to survive sound very much like pissing in the wind. If your core trade has fallen off a cliff, no amount of serving school dinners and running a post office will make your pub viable. And, of course, all too many pubs have gone the whole hog and diversified themselves into private residences.