Monday, October 27, 2008

Rough Pub Guide "Save Our Pubs" campaign

For the first time since the Domesday Book was written over a thousand years ago, more than half of the villages in the UK are without pubs. 57 pubs close for good every month. Britain’s remaining publicans are pulling almost a fifth fewer pints than they were three years ago. Whether it’s due to the smoking ban or high street supermarkets selling dirt cheap booze, more and more people are choosing to stay home and get sozzled, so much so that one thing is certain - the British pub trade is in crisis. Instead of demonising drink we should celebrate the pub as a central part of British heritage.

After all:

Every huge rock’n’roll band in Britain has started off touring pubs;
All of our major TV soap operas revolve around the workings of the pub;
Some of the most iconic British films -from Withnail And I to Shaun Of The Dead, focus on the pub (both pubs involved in filming these movies have been gastro-ed);
And, you can't get a decent pint anywhere else.
We need to stop taking these places for granted before it’s too late. We need to support traditional locals and stand defiant against General Gastro (Gordon Ramsay) and the refit brigade. With that in mind, The Rough Pub Guide is launching a ‘Save Our Pubs!’ campaign to highlight the alarming state of the nation’s pubs.

1. Save Your Pub – if your local is under threat from re-development, organize a petition to tell the government how you feel about it - you’ll miss it when it’s gone!

2. We’d like the government to rethink recent legislation to allow smokers a designated room in which to smoke and drink (currently in practice in France, Spain and Italy). Live music venues should also be allowed to re-introduce smoking to prevent gigs smelling of farts and Domestos. It is killing live rock’n’roll. Yes, we know smoking is bad for you, but so is loud music. That's why we like it. (Health freaks please note: Hitler was vehemently anti-smoking).

3. Alistair Darling’s recently budgeted alcohol taxation plans will give us a £6.50 pint just in time for the Olympics – is that how we want our country to be perceived by visitors? Write to your MP to register disgust!

4. We’d like to see an Honours system set up for long serving landlords who have provided communities with more than thirty years service. Our Olympic athletes return home from one Games heralded as national heroes, yet landlords and ladies who have tirelessly poured pints for decades don’t even warrant a mention - It’s time to celebrate the landlords that time forgot!

5. And, finally, we’d like to instate a National Pub Day – a good old, all-bets-are-off piss up that celebrates the public house as an essential cornerstone of British culture. We’re suggesting a new bank holiday held in the bleak midwinter, on the date of Oliver Reed’s birthday, February 13th. It’s what he would have wanted…

Remember, a pub is for life, not just for Christmas!

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