The saying often attributed to Denis Thatcher – “best to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt” – seems to have been forgotten by the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, as they attempt to retrospectively smear Pa Broon over something that in fact was done some years earlier by their heroine Mrs T.
Yeah I know all about pubs, cos I spend so much time in them, researching getting pissed, shit no, business, yeah, business of drinking, bollocks no, catering. To pissheads like me. Oh sod it
Asserting “Ignore the Spin: 56 Pubs Per Week Shut Under Labour”, the Fawkes folks show an unusual inability to get to grips with the recent history of an industry whose offerings they spend so much time sampling. And it is no good trying to accuse Labour MP Toby Perkins of being “simple” when Staines and his pals show that they are unable to take on board the, er, simple facts of the licensed trade.
“Labour did more to hamstring the pub industry than any other Government” claim the Fawkes rabble. How so? Duty increases and the smoking ban are cited, but they didn’t close “56 pubs a day”. Try again. “The ballooning in pub companies was the direct consequence of Brown’s tax relief for breweries introduced in 2002”. Thus the distillation of ignorance and dishonesty into one statement.
Behold a post of ultimate stupidity
The tax relief for microbreweries – note, only those brewing small amounts of beer – helped start-ups and small enterprises, the vast majority of which did not have a single pub to their name. Indeed, it is the pub companies, and their beer tie, that keeps the product of these small brewers out of many pubs (Crewe’s Offbeat Brewery is prevented from selling to most local pubs because of this).
It gets worse for Staines and his pals: the spinning-off of brewers’ tied estates into pub companies was as a result of legislation enacted in 1989, known as the Beer Orders, which imposed a maximum tied estate of 2,000 houses for any one brewer. That means it happened under Margaret Thatcher. The two biggest PubCos, Enterprise Inns and Punch Taverns, date from 1991 and 1997 respectively.
This disconnect between beer producers and pub owners – so that the biggest PubCos treat their holdings as real estate, rather than outlets for their products – is what has contributed to so many being sold off, as pubs become chips on a real-life Monopoly board. And when PubCos’ share value dips and trade is bad, selling pubs becomes a way of keeping afloat. It goes back to Maggie.
So the Fawkes folks talking about others spending too long in the pub is another case of pot and kettle. They just sprayed their remaining credibility up the wall telling a malicious pack of lies and trying to rewrite history, instead of remembering one basic rule: if you don’t know what they hell you’re talking about, and can’t be arsed finding out, then you’d do well not to say anything at all.
And don’t do that spraying into the wind. Another fine mess, once again.