Hague was responding to criticism — many would argue justified — from business groups over the Government’s failure to be bolder in the legislative agenda presented in last week’s Queen’s speech.
Apparently Hague was chosen by the Tory spin machine to deliver this “tough message” because he is the least posh among the Cabinet ministers, and his northern, comprehensive-educated background appeals to a broader base of voters. Telling people to work harder when many are already putting a shift in just to stay afloat doesn’t look like a vote-winning strategy to me.
Politics and spin aside, hard-working licensees know all too well how difficult trading conditions have been in recent times. The inclement weather of late has not helped, so it was great to see the sun shining in large parts of the country last weekend (apologies if it’s now raining where you are...).
Like a sufferer of seasonal affective disorder, the gloom lifts for the trade somewhat when the weather picks up, the pub garden is buzzing and the outlook suddenly seems a little bit sunnier.
Without going overboard, we at the Publican’s Morning Advertiser think there are certainly some reasons to be cheerful. Let’s take the events of last week:
An uplifting message from the new chairman of the British Beer & Pub Association, Jonathan Neame, reaffirming his “passion” for the industry. “In Britain we should all cherish and celebrate the role of beer and pubs. They are vital to the country’s economic, social and cultural life and with the right support should be a driver of growth, investment and job creation,” he said.
There is also research from VisitBritain that shows the significant economic contribution that overseas visitors can make to pubs, demonstrating that they are the welcome mat to the world and go a long way in helping to improve global perceptions of Britain.
A separate study by Mintel discovered that twice as many people find it more enjoyable drinking in a pub than drinking at home, mainly because of the “atmosphere and theatre” of a pub environment.
Then we had the inspirational story of newly-crowned BII (British Institute of Innkeeping) Licensee of the Year, Mahdis Neghabian, of the Camden Eye in north London. She revived the fortunes of her pub by combining innovation, strategic thinking, marketing-savvy and excellent customer care. Neghabian wowed judges with her ability to adapt to change and offer her community exactly what it wants and needs from its local pub at different times, while retaining its traditional pub feel.
If the above has given you a more positive mindset, why not enter the Great British Pub Awards? The entry deadline is fast approaching — you have until 25 May to enter your pub for a chance of winning regional and national recognition. The awards culminate in a glitzy ceremony at the Hilton Park Lane in London in September, hosted by a top comedian.