In a blatant attempt to increase my hit rate on thepublican.com and win the coveted 'Hits of the Month' award, I thought I'd return to that most boring yet contentious of subjects, the smoking ban.
It's years since the rules preventing people from lighting up in pubs was brought in and yet some people are still harping on about it as if it was only last week. (290)
Some of my fellow bloggers on this website have made calls for the ban to be repealed their own cause celebre. Fair play to them, at least you know what you're getting and, doubtless like reader's attitudes to my own finely honed missives, one can choose to take them on board or simply move on to something one more readily agrees with, although I find reading stuff that I agree with all the time to be rather dull, don't you?
I know there's the whole freedom debate surrounding smoking and the argument that it's not illegal to smoke generally - well, apart from in cinemas, buses, trains, Underground stations, civil airliners, theatres, hospitals, supermarkets, restaur (yes, that's enough. Ed.) - so why pubs? (560)
I'm sure if Isaiah Berlin were around today he'd argue that no government has the right to tell its citizens what to do with their bodies, and I guess smoking comes into that. But he isn't around. He died in 1997. So he can't argue anything, can he? At least not without the aid of a psychic. (804)
None of my mates who smoke - down to about three these days because most of the rest of my chums' kids have seen those TV ads, the ones where children ask their puffing parents to quit before they expire due to various smoking-related diseases, and have harangued their mums/dads to stop smoking - are especially bovved about nipping outside to have a fag.
They don't feel their rights have been impinged. They don't feel like a second class citizen, just because they have to go into the fresh air to suck down smoke. Sure, it might not appeal to their liberal sensibilities, but to a man they acknowledge there are worse things in life. (1,300)
And I've also yet to meet one licensee who would bring back smoking in their pub. There'll be a load of you writing in now saying you would, but that's OK, we welcome everyone on this forum. Well, nearly everyone.
To those who still go on (and on) about separate smoking rooms being the solution, what about single bar pubs? As for air-extraction technologies, don't make me laugh. (1,734)
Instead of pointing to the ban for one's ills, why not find something positive about your pub that doesn't involve smoking to attract the punters. (2,010)
I'm not saying the ban hasn't impacted some boozers. I expect it has. But a lot of things have hit a lot of pubs, yet many licensees have got on with the job of doing the best they can for their pubs and their customers.
So rather than banging your head on the door of a lost cause until your forehead erupts in a torrent of claret - and let's face it, the ban ain't likely to be rescinded anytime soon, despite what UKIP and others want you to believe - why not pick a battle you can win? Namely, opening the doors to a great pub, whose environment, fantastic staff and a range of beers and food are to die for. (3,110)
No? Oh well, I gave it a go. Perhaps Pete Brown's comment on the 'Beer Group defends itself…' story elsewhere on this site hits the nail on the head: given the fulsome carping displayed on this and the, er, 'other' website by some, the likes of Alcohol Concern, the Royal College of Physicians and other anti-pub types won't have to worry… the industry will simply eat itself eventually.
Anyway, I trust that's got you all going. Thanks in advance for all your kind words of encouragement.
Next week: The beer tie. (4,007. Whoo-hoo!)