As usual, Pete Robinson, writing in The Publican, pulls no punches in a trenchant and sadly all too realistic analysis of the parlous state of the British pub trade.
There never was any demand for non-smoking pubs so the industry will never find it possible to replace it's dwindling customer base. Nor is there sufficient demand to support 40-odd thousand food-led pubs. It's market forces, plain as.
So with the trade not even campaigning for any amendment to the law we'll see our once-great pub culture wither and die over the next 10 years. At best we'll be left with a few chains of managed, town-centre food pubs-come-coffee-houses, basically Wetherspoon-clones, totaling around 12,000 in all.
Sure we'll attempt to rebuild and one day in the distant future new pubs will again be built and old one's converted back from flats, shops and Indian restaurants. But they'll just be bars and food halls, a mere parody of what once was, like those 'English Pubs' that litter the streets of Benedorm.
We'll never recapture that quintessential time-honoured character that made British pubs unique - the envy of the world. Much of that's already gone, ever since we threw open our doors to the forces of political correctness. We lost something very special the day when we allowed the State behind the bar. It's one reason why the customers have been drifting away.
Countless previous generations have cherished this trade before handing it safely down to the next. To our shame we may be the last generation to remember what a real pub was like. In years to come your own son may be writing a dissertation on how the Great British pub disappeared into the pages of history.