Wednesday 20 May 2015

Pubs and predictions

The IEA have just published my new report Drinking, Fast and Slow - you can download it here. It looks at the gloomy predictions about what the Licensing Act (AKA 24 Hour Drinking) would do to the sovereign people of England in 2005.

The short read is on the IEA blog and Guido has a handy infographic.

The even shorter read is that all of the predictions have been proven wrong. The major reason why they were wrong is that there were informed, consciously or not, by the simplistic temperance idea of 'availability theory'.

Anyway, here's the long read. Enjoy.

As an amusing footnote, it is worth remembering that the Licensing Act was a Labour policy. Paul Flynn, the Labour MP, voted strongly for the policy and then voted against delaying its implementation. But that didn't stop him having an involuntary spasm this morning when he heard that the IEA had concluded that the law wasn't a complete disaster.

It's an affliction with these people, isn't it? For the record, none of my IEA reports are commissioned, they are all my own work (aside from editing), nobody funds specific reports and the first the pub/booze industry heard about this report was yesterday when the press release went out (if not today). As far as I know, the Licensing Act isn't a live issue for the alcohol industry's lobby squad as there is no chance of it being repealed or amended in the near future. The Act is, however, an excellent example of deregulation working and illiberal people being hilariously wrong. Hence my interest.

Speaking of regulation, the first rays of reality are dawning on CAMRA and the deeply misguided 'Save The Pub' campaign. Now that the government has broken the beer tie, Enterprise Inns are going to flog off a thousand pubs and convert another thousand into commercial properties. Some of them will remain pubs, of course, but certainly not all. As Ed Bedington says in the Morning Advertiser...

We are starting to see the unintended consequences of the pubs code... Enterprise's announcement shows that from its current estate of more than 5,200 pubs, at least 2,000 of those are at risk - by my maths, that's about 40%.

... And for all those well meaning politicians watching those unintended consequences coming home to roost? Cheers guys. The first round in post-MRO landscape is on you.

I made my prediction of what would happen if the government fell for CAMRA's schtick last year. So far, it's proving to be more reliable than the predictions made about the Licensing Act.


I've written more about this at The Spectator. Please have a read. 

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