Wishful Thinking


The death and life of the great British pub

Across the country, pubs are being shuttered at an alarming rate – scooped up by developers and ransacked for profit – changing the face of neighbourhoods and turning our beloved locals into estate agents, betting shops, and luxury flats. This is the story of how one pub fought back…

The massive number of pubs in Britain, something between 50,000 and 60,000, is credited by some to the Black Death. Plague-struck, the 14th-century Britons who had not been annihilated were left in an emptier land, earning higher wages, perhaps better inclined to enjoy themselves. They spent more time and money than ever before in purpose-built taverns or private residences that would sell them drink. Some 700 years later, the pubs themselves have contracted a form of plague. Call it the Black Development.

Closures began on a pandemic scale around the time of the 2008 financial crash, when spending in pubs dropped with the recession. Landlords’ profits fell. Meanwhile many of the pubcos, which had undergone rapid expansion during the 90s and 2000s, found themselves over indebted. As the property market collapsed, they were urged by creditors to offload assets, and this meant selling on pubs – often in great anonymous batches.

Some of the thousands of pubs that were sold on after 2008 went on to reopen under new ownership. Some even reopened as pubs, but the majority were remade as restaurants, cafes, minimarkets, community centres, flats (lots of flats), betting shops, loan shops, estate agents. The Beech Tree in Blackburn was converted into the headquarters of a religious charity. The Three Pigeons in Oswestry was bought by a local football team, for use as its clubhouse. The Campaign For Real Ale (Camra) estimated in 2008 that a third of all shuttered pubs were converted into secondary businesses. Another third became residential properties. The final third were demolished. The Turners Arms in Rotherham, in fact, became the office of a demolition firm.

“The time of the 2008 financial crash” was also the first year after the UK smoking ban that came into force on 1 July 2007. During that time pubs lost a great many customers who had enjoyed a cigarette with their pint. I was one of them. I used to go more or less every day. Now I only go when it’s sunny and there’s a garden I can sit in. A lot of smokers stopped going completely.

And the 2008 financial crash had zero effect on my spending. Absolutely zero. Maybe that’s because I didn’t used to buy myself drinks using a credit card. I used to buy my pint with money – pound notes – from my bank current account. And everybody else did the same. Or so I thought.

But some people don’t seem to be able to understand that when pubs lose many of their best customers, they’re likely to go broke. And whoever wrote this article is one of them. In fact, smokers do at least get a mention. But the smoking ban isn’t even offered as a possible factor in the “closure pandemic”.

But, hey, it’s the Guardian, and I suppose that both the writers and readers can believe any number of nonsensical, politically correct things before they’ve even had breakfast. It’s probably politically correct for people to believe that the smoking bans don’t affect pubs adversely, because smoking bans are always A Good Thing, and so can’t have affected them adversely. Something ought to be true, so it must be true. It’s called ‘wishful thinking’. And it’s a form of madness.

Anyway, here’s Donald Trump being asked by Oprah if he’ll ever run for president… back in 1988.  And he says all the things he’s still saying now. At least shows he’s consistent.

About Frank Davis

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14 Responses to Wishful Thinking

  1. castello2 says:

    Trump is a phony jackass and definitely wouldn’t let you smoke in his mansions or castles or yachts ;) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ZWl_ZfLQ64&feature=em-uploademail

    • Frank Davis says:

      Maybe he wouldn’t allow smoking in any of his mansions, but he fought to allow smoking in his Atlantic City casino.

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        Exactly and he went before the Atlantic City commission and told them a ban would kill the casino gaming,yet it didn’t matter to them. Oh they let a few have smoking floors but it wasn’t enuf,they banned smoking in all the tourist spots and the boardwalk. I lived in AC when the first casino went up, down by the ocean and my uncle got their collections contract on bad gambling debts which made him a millionaire.

        Today just like back then in 1979 the place is a downtrodden waste of geography with every form of filth you can think of in it. New jersey where my brother was born in 1963 can go str8 to hell,which is just whats happened to it.

      • Tom says:

        Yes, that is very true. Trump fought against the smoking bans in NJ. He was not an anti-smoker and certainly would not be in favor of bans but of repealing bans, would by my thought too.

  2. harleyrider1978 says:
  3. Smoking Lamp says:

    Smoking bans killed pubs and social life (except in places with outdoor smoking patios). Now they are eliminating smoking patios and banning smoking outdoors. It’s time to reclaim the right to smoke.

  4. Tony says:

    Sorry to go way off topic but something major may have just happened. I’m not sure about much of this but I fear it is not entirely wrong.
    Just in the last few minutes, the Canadian prime minister has lost the national election. According to Christopher Monckton, this removes the last obstacle in the way of totalitarian world government. Getting rid of Tony Abbot having been the second to last.
    Here are the Canadian results:
    And here is Christopher Monckton’s earlier warning on the subject :

  5. Timothy Goodacre says:

    Yes these dipsticks like those in Camra didnt tealise their best customers were smokers they are so stupid. They did absolutely nothing to protect smokers.

  6. harleyrider1978 says:

    Take the first paragraph they admit its nothing more than FEAR TACTICS being employed, basically stated its an omission they have always lied about harm from smoking.

    The potential of shame as a message appeal in antismoking television advertisements


    ”To date, more commonly used messages have included fear appeals relating to physical health”


    Background As smoking is increasingly de-normalised, different messages may become more appropriate for use in tobacco control advertisements to reflect the changing social environment. To date, more commonly used messages have included fear appeals relating to physical health and guilt appeals focusing on the effects of smoking on loved ones.

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      The Vetting – Holder 1995: We Must ‘Brainwash’ People on Guns like we did on cigarettes

      Breitbart.com has uncovered video from 1995 of then-U.S. Attorney Eric Holder announcing a public campaign to “really brainwash people into thinking about guns in a vastly different way.”
      Holder was addressing the Woman’s National Democratic Club. In his remarks, broadcast by CSPAN 2, he explained that he intended to use anti-smoking campaigns as his model to “change the hearts and minds of people in Washington, DC” about guns.

  7. Pingback: Various News Items | Frank Davis

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