There has been plenty of anecdotal evidence that the smoking ban has hit working-class communities hardest, as they are more likely to have the kind of traditional wet-led pubs that it has damaged most, and working-class people are more likely to be smokers. It is ironic that the Labour Party who brought it in have hurt their own supporters more than any others.
For example, as I reported here a couple of years ago:
Brian Iddon, MP for Bolton South East, said: “I’m getting complaints from our core Labour vote that they feel the Labour Government is just hitting them left, right and centre. They are heavily bruised at the moment.”This is confirmed by a new report from the Save Our Pubs and Clubs Campaign entitled The British Smoking Bans: Stubbing out the urban pubs:
Dr Iddon cited the ban on smoking in public places and rising alcohol and food prices as other causes of anger.
Traditional inner city pubs have suffered the most since the introduction of smoking bans in Scotland, England and Wales, a new report has found.But of course the Labour Party is now increasingly dominated by an arrogant, patronising metropolitan élite that sees the working classes as no more than voting fodder who need to be told how to live their lives. It may have been the party of the people once, but it certainly isn’t any more.
Researchers also found that the areas with the greatest levels of closure have been in Labour-held constituencies with an average of almost eleven pubs per Labour constituency, compared to 9.9 pubs per Liberal Democrat constituency and 7.6 pubs per Conservative constituency.
Of the ten hardest hit constituencies seven are Labour held, two Liberal Democrat, and just one (Cities of London and Westminster) Conservative.
The data show large numbers of traditional drink-led urban pubs shutting down. These are in areas with traditionally quite high levels of smoking so it would appear that regulars who used to enjoy a pint and a cigarette with friends have decided to stay at home instead.
(h/t to Simon Clark at Taking Liberties)