Mick Dennison column

Mick Dennison.
Mick Dennison.

They say, “Never talk about religion and politics in a pub”, for whatever reason they say that is a mystery to me as you definitely can’t get away from politics; it governs everything we do in the trade.

Take the smoking ban for example; it started as a European Union directive only. Our government of the day didn’t need to do anything but chose to have a vote by MP’s to decide if it should become law. I can’t recall any politician approaching me asking for my views.

I did ask our MP, after the ban was made law, as to why it was done unilaterally and of course, the question was avoided by a reply of total waffle.

In the year leading up to the ban there was no other topic of conversation in the pub other than what we were going to do to placate smokers and how much money we would have to spend to give them a nice place for a fag. That piece of political incompetence cost the industry millions and some smokers voted with their feet and don’t come into pubs to this day.

Our politicians never gave us in the trade the choice of providing a room that could be converted to get the smoke out quickly. Instead, they drove people outside and that obviously angered them.

By the way, the ban was brought in to stop smoking in work environments including shops and offices; pubs suffered the biggest backlash because the general public didn’t like the way politicians rode roughshod over the issue.

Another heated talking point in pubs is the price of a pint for which we are taxed heavily. Like the smoking ban, politicians think it’s going to be good for the nation’s health to make people cut down on drinking.

It’s the beer duty and VAT that puts the price up but our so called brothers in Europe don’t seem to over tax their citizens on something that is a pleasure.

If these issues are dear to you, find out who your prospective MEP’s are before the May elections and try to influence them to do something about it.