Saturday, 6 February 2021

Through the looking glass

Many people have been complaining about the unreasonableness of the rule that, before the lockdown, only allowed pubs and restaurants to serve alcohol if it was accompanied by a “substantial meal”. It’s reported today that the government have recognised the unfairness of this and are now proposing to create a level playing field by allowing them to reopen, but to ban them from selling alcohol at all.

Presumably at the same time they will also allow hairdressers to reopen without being able to cut hair, and gyms without anybody being allowed to exercise. We truly are plumbing the depths of insanity.

Anyway, this seems to be a suitable theme tune for today.

36 comments:

  1. Pubs simply won't bother reopening.

    Much like it won't be worth reopening in any "Tier" other than the lowest, I would suggest this is a way of being able to not having to provide support to businesses.

    "You can open, so you don't need any more financial support, don't give me that "It won't be worth it" nonsense."

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    1. They're quickly backtracking on this, but the press haven't plucked to idea out of thin air - and it was done in Wales for a short time.

      As I said in an earlier post, even the old Tier 1 makes most wet-led pubs unviable but, as you say, the government might well claim that "we have reopened the pubs".

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  2. The government and their so-called "expert" scientific advisors demonstrating, yet again, that they don't understand understand pubs.

    A pub that doesn't serve alcohol, isn't a pub - it's a café!

    Time for a campaign of mass civil disobedience. If enough pubs are prepared to defy the ban and open whilst selling alcohol, and sufficient customers turn out and support them, there's very little plod and Priti Patel can do about it.

    Stand up and be counted, before these control freaks end up controlling and dictating our lives forever.

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    1. I'm with you there Paul, I've had enough of being dictated to.

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    2. Thanks Citra, I don't think I've read anything so ludicrous in years, and to say it's made me extremely angry, is an understatement.

      The people formulating these ideas often forget they are public servants, and as such don't have the right to tell us how to live our lives. We need to stop placing the likes of Chris "Shitty" Whitty and his ilk on pedestals, and allowing them to formulate government policy.

      Whitty, who earns a salary of £205,000 a year, is nicely insulated from the effects of his nannying policies, unlike the thousands of struggling licensees and restaurateurs whose lives they have ruined.

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    3. Professor Pie-Tin7 February 2021 at 14:34

      And yet every opinion poll there has been shows approval for the Government's tough lockdown approach and in many cases the polls have called for stronger measures.
      The most recent one also blamed the public rather than the government for the high death toll and by quite a considerable margin.
      The Tory party also consistently polls higher than Sir-Kneel-a-Lot's abysmal Labour Party ragtag collection of out-of-touch, metropolitan public sector workers and students.
      Not for the first time you're allowing your Brexit-stoked hatred of Boris to ignore basic facts.
      Far from being Shitty the government's Chief Medical Adviser has done a fantastic job in extraordinarily difficult circumstances.
      You should be grateful to have people of his calibre instead of sounding like some two-bit Trot from Tunridge Wells.

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    4. Whitty is a single, vegan teetotaller who admits to no outside interests. Remind you of anyone?

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    5. Anonymous, your points sum up the government's Chief Medical Adviser, far better than our verbose self-opinionated "public bar lawyer." The one who refers to himself as "Professor."

      It also explains why Whitty doesn't give two hoots about pubs.

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    6. Have you seen the news about the cafe in Burnage that defied the lockdown rules? They were busted and battered by the police today, but good luck to them. A campaign of mass civil disobedience is the only way out; when a mass defies the law in Britain, the law gives in (think BLM or IRA).

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    7. Professor Pie-Tin7 February 2021 at 23:31

      Chris Whitty is the government's chief medical adviser.
      It's his job to save lives not care about pubs you ignorant buffoon.
      You sound like the puce-faced angry middle-manager in elasticated waistband trousers boring the arse off everyone unfortunate enough to be stuck next to you in the pub after your Rotary Club meeting.

      www.youtube.com/watch?v=BzH7qXPGIEI

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    8. Can we please avoid personal insults directed at other commenters?

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    9. Chris Whitty brings to mind C.S. Lewis' quotation that: “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.”

      And, if it wasn't for Covid, he would no doubt be banging on about the evils of drink like his predecessor Dame Sally Davies.

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    10. I'm wide awake, thanks, and that smell ain't coffee8 February 2021 at 12:43

      My beef with Whitty is that as a political appointee he has sold out his science.

      For instance - and he wasn't alone - he downplayed the effectiveness of masks, very handily, when the country couldn't even get them for front line medical staff.

      Countries which have done well such as S. Korea and Japan made them central. Their publics didn't even need to be asked.

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    11. @mudgie:Japan vs UK with covid: one notable aspect of Japanese society is that much of society hinges around society as a whole, rather than the individual, and as such, if you ask Japanese society to (for example) wear masks as a public health measure, they will do so willingly- though of course, it's pretty commonplace there in non-pandemic times, which probably helps. There's interesting things to compare, much of it explored by FullFact. It also seems that the government was a lot clearer with communication.

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    12. "Whitty, who earns a salary of £205,000 a year, is nicely insulated from the effects of his nannying policies"

      Dos Whitty have his own pub then: one that is excepted from lockdown?

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    13. Not sure that owning his own pub would hold much appeal for Whitty ;-)

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  3. Isn't this better than not opening them at all? Better for jobs and long term prospects. Appreciate it won't help the Wets, but if that's all that's on offer it should be taken

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    1. I doubt whether even many food-serving pubs would consider it worthwhile to open if banned from selling alcohol.

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    2. A pub that doesn't sell alcohol is a complete waste of time. It won't help wet led pubs and it won't help foody pubs either.

      This really is puritanism gone mad.

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  4. I think they will open on that basis. Many around me are currently offering take away food, and it's proving popular. In some cases it's the difference between barely existing and handing the keys back. Extend this to sit-in, and it's another small step towards 'normality'. Question, will punters be allowed to take alcohol in, on a corkage basis?

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    1. its difficult to say I think as each pub has its own individual circumstances which might make them chose one thing or the other, but whilst some are offering take away food now, that doesnt mean its then profitable to open if they cant serve alcohol with the food.

      As soon as you open up,youve got more costs, light,heating,taxes paying wages for serving/front of house staff again, youve got the cleaning regime, and no doubt will still have to deal with the whole bookings only, people just not turning up, masks, rules, and track & trace palava, which completely ruins the experience of eating out anyway. Are people really going to pay £10 per head per meal for that kind of experience, maybe some would, but enough to be profitable ? and what are they going to drink ? just water ?

      plus theres then the business or insurance consideration on does the government support on business rates, loans or furlough of staff cease, or alter, if you are technically open & trading as opposed to closed due to an ongoing pandemic.

      some of the pubcos will take the hit and force their tenants to open, but I cant imagine it will do more than just increase the debts they are already in.

      its a shame the parliamentary estate chose not to implement the latest rules thrust on hospitality as the rest of the country, shut down all their subsidised bars and food outlets, and let them feed themselves for once, as then maybe our politicians would experience real life for once, the biggest problem in all this is these decisions are being made by people who never use pubs or restaurants as normal people do, so they are completely disconnected from the impact their decisions have, and Ive no doubt simply expect pubs/restaurants just to bounce back or fill the gaps in the legislation theyve created.

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  5. I don't go with the puritanism angle, that feels a little like paranoia to me. Any real anti-alcohol campaign would target off-sales as well. I don't think the current government are anti-pub per sae, they're just both inept and don't really wish to support it, for whatever reason.

    I think as suggested it's basically a way of saying "well, you're free to open" so that government is no longer responsible for closing pubs, so they can happily leave the industry to collapse but absolve themselves of responsibility.

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  6. Well they can fuck right off!

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  7. Surely it's a trap. If they open and dont serve alcohol, then they will surely go bust. If they dont open, but are allowed to open then they wont get government furlough support. They will then go bust. First they came for the smokers...

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  8. Yeah, a non piss up in a brewery, they are unable to even achieve that. Clownworld.

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  9. They cannot SELL alcohol, but would a free pint with a four quid bag of crisps be legal?

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    1. Afraid not - there's plenty of legal precedent that states that kind of arrangement is illegal.

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  10. Professor Pie-Tin8 February 2021 at 13:47

    A perfectly fair point to make even though I disagree with it.If you recall at the time the WHO had exactly the same views on masks as Whitty.
    What isn't fair is questioning someone's marital status, what he eats and whether he drinks alcohol or not has anythig to do with his primary job of preventing the loss of life during the pandemic.
    Those are just cheap shots aginst someone I and many others consider to be a decent and honourable man.

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    1. Absolutely agree. Although not sure 'cheap shots' is appropriate to this conversation.

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    2. I don't question Whitty's sincerity or his expertise within his field. But his limited life experience makes you question to what extent he is able to translate that into matters that deal with real-world human behaviour. Whitty dictating policy regarding pubs is rather like asking a virgin for sex advice.

      In the words of Sheryl Crow, "And I wonder if he's ever had a day of fun in his whole life."

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    3. The Stafford Mudgie9 February 2021 at 11:43

      T'other Mudgie,
      I've read that "Whitty has been referred to by those familiar with him as a PRIVATE person".
      Not for him then PUBLIC Houses.

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    4. I might actually think more of Whitty if he was caught secretly knobbing a married woman ;-)

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  11. Everything in life is a trade off, and the fight against Coronavirus is no exception. Of course, we should do all we can to prevent loss of life, but not at the expense of everything else we value as a civilized society.

    What about the hospitality and leisure industry, brought to its knees by over-zealous and heavy-handed lockdowns? What about the hundreds of small businesses deemed “non-essential” by busy-body, prod-nose officials, and forced into compulsory closure?

    What sort of effect has incarcerating people in their own homes had? Forbidding them from associating with other family members or, heaven forbid, meeting up with friends. Worse still, criminalizing them for the audacity of following basic instincts of wanting to be with their fellow human beings.

    The obsessive and single-minded policies advocated by Prof Whitty, and other members of the so-called SAGE group, ignore these factors, but they do so at the cost of stoking up a whole load of other health issues.

    In the end, these may prove more serious and far difficult to manage than Covid which, let’s face it, isn’t the Spanish Flu and is certainly not the “end of days.”

    I go back to my original point of not lionizing someone who, at the end of the day, is just another public servant, and certainly not our lord and master.


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  12. This is the bloke who spent his Christmas treating COVID patients in hospital. There are many more worthy 'targets' to blame for us not being able to get our pint of froth.

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    1. I’m not sure about that, Phil. The Telegraph article, published on 6th February, and now hidden behind a paywall, specifically mentions the concerns raised by Prof Whitty about the impact of drinking alcohol on social distancing.

      People from the hospitality industry have expressed their disquiet over these suggestions, calling them a “total non-starter,” so which other “worthy targets” ought we to blame?

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    2. That's irrelevant. He may be a saint, but that doesn't mean he's well-suited to determine government policy relating to the hospitality industry.

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