What’s this all about?

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. And, while I enjoy cask beer, I don't assume that it is the only alcoholic beverage worth consuming.

I'm a non-smoker, but not an antismoker. I believe the owners of private property should be entitled to choose whether or not smoking is permitted on their premises. If any supporter of pubs still thinks the smoking ban was a remotely good idea, just look around at all the pubs that have closed since 1 July 2007. The smoking ban is what prompted the creation of this blog back then and, while it touches on many other topics, it remains essentially its core theme. However, there remains much to be enjoyed and celebrated in pubs despite the effects of the ban.

I condemn drunken driving, but there is no evidence that driving after consuming a small quantity of alcohol is dangerous, and the campaign to discourage driving even within the British legal limit has been a major cause of the decline of the pub trade in recent years. Reducing the current legal limit - a proposal fortunately rejected by the Coalition government - would lead to the closure of thousands more pubs and would not necessarily save a single life. In my view, this is at least as much a threat to pubs as the smoking ban.

As you will probably gather from reading the blog, I live in Stockport, Cheshire, a thriving town which is definitely not part of Manchester and has one of the finest collections of characterful pubs in the country.

The blog is written purely for my own entertainment and to get things off my chest. It walks a tightrope between libertarianism and conservatism. It is nostalgic, idiosyncratic and at times inconsistent. You are welcome to disagree, but if you don't like it, you don't have to read it.

I have no connection with the tobacco industry and receive no funding from it.

Free samples of beer and cider and review copies of relevant books will be gratefully received – e-mail me for address details. I would like to extend my thanks to BrewDog, Wells & Youngs, Moor Beer and Innis & Gunn for providing samples of beer for review, and to Stephensons for a sample of the Lantern Tankard.

To contact me directly, please send me an e-mail.

You can also follow me on Twitter at @oldmudgie.

Any proposals of marriage will be given serious consideration - there must be some cash-strapped drunk cat ladies out there!

If you have a blog that links to this, and is at least vaguely on a political or beer-related theme, drop me a line and I'll add it to my blog list, even if I don't agree with you on everything.

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