Dick Puddlecote has the story of the Campaign for Real Ale's latest head-in-the-sand efforts to save the great "community pub". You know a place is in trouble when people start putting the word "community" in front of it (see also "community Post Office"). Pub closures peaked at 52 a week in the second year of the smoking ban and the rate is now a still-worrying 16 a week.
In an expensive-looking report, the Real Ale Twats have found a correlation between smoking rates and pub closures, but choose not to draw any policy conclusions from this. Instead, they play their usual game of blaming supermarkets for selling cheap alcohol (which was being sold cheaply before the smoking ban) and pleading for tax cuts and special favours (which they didn't need before the smoking ban). The one piece of government action that could make people actually want to go to pubs again does not get a look in (the Morning Advertiser—trade mag to the pub trade—doesn't even mention the ban in its report).
Perhaps CAMRA still believes in its own self-deluding pre-ban propaganda, of which Dick has unearthed a beautiful example...
REAL ALE INVASION OF SMOKE-FREE PUBSCAMRA is urging publicans to prepare for a boost in demand for real ales following the banning of smoking in all pubs in England from 1 July this year.
And pub goers will now be able to savour the flavour of real cask ales as the fog of tobacco smoke is finally blown out of pubs and bars throughout the UK.
In Wales, CAMRA reported a boost in demand for real ale after the earlier ban of smoking there from 1 April.
...The research also indicated that after the smoking ban over 6 million pub goers in England and Wales expect to visit pubs more often and 840000 people who never go to pubs said they will do after the ban. And 68% of smokers said the ban will not affect their pub going habits, with only 3% of adults saying that they would not visit pubs as a result of the ban.
Paul Moorhouse continued: ‘We expect a minority of smokers to be put off going to the pub. But this will be offset by more use of pubs by others who will welcome the smoke-free environment. And with over two thirds of real ale drinkers being non-smokers, we expect it to be real ale that will benefit the most from this new trade. Any pubs that do not offer real ale are encouraged to stock one to attract this new clientele.’
Peace in our time, CAMRA?
The Pub Curmudgeon and The View from Cullingworth have more to say about CAMRA's uselessness.