THE Pub Landlord, my alter ego, has joined the Campaign For Pubs as an ambassador.
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Al Murray’s alter ego, The Pub Landlord, is an ambassador for the Campaign For PubsCredit: David New – The Sun
Just like at the start of the pandemic, pubs have had to shut up shop and shoo people awayCredit: Alamy
And, take it from me, I always think it’s best to do what the Pub Landlord says.
It’s nearly Christmas Eve — and is there room at the inn? Would Jesus, Mary and Joseph get in?
Possibly. It depends which tier your local is in.
Christmas has finally come around and we aren’t back to normal as maybe everyone hoped. And just like at the start of the pandemic, it is pubs that have had to shut up shop and shoo people away.
But this time, because it’s happening again, it’s different.
I’ll admit it, I love pubs. Pubs of every shape and size, every permutation.
The big modern, shiny boozers showing the football. Small, murky places with only three people in them for no known reason. Country pubs with dogs and fires and hearty lunches.
Edgy pubs where maybe you realise you’re wearing too smart a shirt, you know the sort. I love them all.
And right now they’re all in trouble.
“So what?” you might say. “I’ve got my cheap cans from the supermarket, I’m in front of the telly, what difference would it make?”
It’s hard to answer this without resorting to cliches about pubs being the beating heart or hub or backbone of the community. But they are only cliches because they’re true.
This is what pubs and bars, inns and taverns have always been — despite the efforts of some of the clever people at the top of the industry.
Pubs are where many of us go to navigate life’s rapids: Births, deaths and marriages
And they still are.
If the pub didn’t exist, you’d have to invent it. And even then you might not get it quite right.
Because the pub is the place where, once you’re over 18, we are all equal.
Pubs are where many of us go to navigate life’s rapids: Births, deaths and marriages.
Stood at the bar, you and I have the same rights and responsibilities.
The right to a drink, some snacks and all the conviviality that follows . . . though don’t overdo it, of course. A pub is a refuge from the rain, work, home.
Whether you are a twice-a-year tippler or a five-days-a-week lifer, pubs matterCredit: Alamy
The Pub Landlord is shouting at Boris Johnson and the rest: ‘Save the pub’Credit: AFP or licensors
A place where you can celebrate, commiserate, grumble or grow old.
And whether you go to the pub like some people go to church — high days and holidays only — or whether you have your own stool, tankard and worn-out spot in the loos, somewhere along the line, pubs have been a part of pretty much everyone’s lives.
Whether you are a twice-a-year tippler or a five-days-a-week lifer, pubs MATTER.
I’m not saying pubs are the most important thing in life. But imagine what life would be like without them.
And that’s what we are facing.
If no support is forthcoming, they will most likely close — for good
With the stop-start, on-off economy we’ve had this past year and with the way the balance sheets are looking — through no fault of their own — it’s more than likely they are going.
When the Government asked pubs to make themselves Covid-safe, they moved heaven and earth to do it.
But with tiers being switched on and off, the trade doesn’t know if it’s coming or going.
When you see the daft arguments about Scotch eggs and “substantial meals”, you start to wonder if the people making these decisions go down the boozer that much.
Because the decisions that need to be made strike me as pretty simple. Pubs the length and breadth of the country need to be backed.
The industry accepts that if the science says they should shut, shut they shall.
But if no support is forthcoming, they will most likely close — for good.
Rent is expensive and all too often pubs are seen through the narrow view of what they are worth as property — private rather than public houses.
A pub that isn’t making any money might easily get turned into flats.
The Pub Landlord has noticed that in France and Germany, the hospitality trade has been generously assisted as it has gone into Covid hibernation.
The pub is the place where, once you’re over 18, we are all equalCredit: Getty Images – Getty
Naturally, we are leaving the EU because we do things better. So why are their pubs being helped and not ours?
So, please, back the Campaign For Pubs.
And when this has all blown over and we’ve had our jabs, I’ll see you in the lounge. What are you having?
- Al Murray, The Pub Landlord, is ambassador for The Campaign For Pubs, a national grassroots group representing pubs, publicans and pub-goers. #SupportPubsNOW campaignforpubs.org
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