Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Pubs counter denormalisation

This is right. Reuben encourages the competition for best smoking area. (Although he has his reasons for not nominating any pubs.)
Pubs that have managed to carry on creating a hospitable environment for smokers are, in a certain sense, accomodating to the ban, but they are also resisting it. This is because the ban was not really about passive smoking but, rather about making smoking a more uncomfortable experience so as to push people into stopping.
Of course, the ban was about denormalisation, and furthering a script about secondary smoke that has spread round the world. This writer is right to appreciate any effort made to undermine this effort to demonise and marginalise smokers.

I can't really disagree with any of it:
One thing you will find these days is that politicians of all stripes will profess their desire to support pubs. Doing so is good politics. It’s a nod to British tradition, and to (understandable) nostalgia for a more communitarian epoch. But we are entitled to ask what kinds of pubs they wish to support. Judged by their policy, the political class seem to approve of pubs only insofar as they don’t let anyone smoke, don’t get too noisy and don’t encourage too much drinking. In other words, pubs transmogrified into beer serving starbucks outlets are what they are willing to support. And this is hardly the kind of environnent that will induce people to pay a premium over the prices in ASDA – and so its no surprise that for all the verbal publoving from our politicians, the industry is still in decline. If we want to save our pubs and clubs then we cannot simultaneously dragoon them into being part of the public health set up.
Here is a recent contribution to the pub debate from the Green Party in Scotland entitled Local pubs and small producers are the order of the day:
Politicians certainly like sounding tough on booze culture, but that doesn't offer the solution we need. Scotland does have a problem, but we think the solution lies in small businesses taking back some control. [... ] 
However, local pubs and craft brewers, whose interest lies in quality not quantity, have a great contribution to make to our communities, our economy and to a better relationship with alcohol. We don't need to let the multinationals and the big chains keep the upper hand. It's time to celebrate the alcohol culture we should have, and return the industry to a healthy state. 
We should be keeping the pub economy rooted in communities [...]
 All this stuff about community and local control is all very well, but doesn't allow publicans any control over their own smoking policy. Because smoking, say the Greens, isn't normal. I prefer Reuben's view.


George Speller said...

I was tempted to nominate a small pub in my home town which is very popular with a wide range of intelligent customers. It features real beer, live music, a knitting circle, competitions and many more fascinating activities, but most important to me, a smoking room of such civilised comfort that if the rauchepolizi ever knew about it would have them baying to close the pub down. Publicise this on the internet? I don't think so.

JJ said...

If it's in Nottingham George I'd like to know about it. I haven't seen my friend also a pipe smoker in 4 years since this rotten ban came in.

Anonymous said...

I have found a great smokefree pub which caters for all. It has an amazing shelter in the backyard with heating and ashtrays,the shelter is 85% enclosed.