Election fever... Royal invitation... TV-B-Gone...

Related tags Political party

review of 2005

The race for Number 10 hotted up this month, and no one was more excited about the General Election than Hampshire licensee Alan 'Howling Laud' Hope. The leader of one of Britain's best known political parties, the Official Monster Raving Looney Party, was planning for election success when he spoke to the MA from his pub, which doubled as party HQ. Although the keys to Downing Street still elude the licensee, he did point out that many of the party's policies are eventually taken up by mainstream parties, citing all-day pub opening and passports for pets as examples.

Sticking with the election, another licensee and former Labour councillor backed down from his plan to become an MP because of a lack of time and money. David Smithwick, who resigned as a councillor over the Government's handling of licensing reform, originally wanted to fight for the seat of Stone in Staffordshire. Smithwick said he was 'gutted' that he had to stand down. He had already acquired the services of a 1950s 'battle bus' to canvas votes.

The great and the good were out in force at the royal wedding, including Prince Charles' favourite licensee Barbara Fell. The Prince is a frequent visitor to Fell's pub, the Rose & Crown in Boyleston, Derbyshire, and was keen to return her generosity. 'I'm still on a high just thinking about the whole day,' the host said. 'I spoke to Charles and Camilla and he asked me who was minding the pub while I was away.'

The American owner of a gadget that has been used to turn off TV sets in pubs defended the tool when he spoke to the MA this month. Mitch Altman said the TV-B-Gone device, which uses an infrared signal to switch off TV sets, is not intended to be used when someone is watching sport: 'There are countless situations where TVs are on in public spaces when no-one is watching them,' he said. 'In these situations, when I've turned off the TV, the atmosphere instantly changes for the better.'

Related topics Legislation

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