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« Introducing ... FireBug | Main | More on smoking around children »

That MA interview in full

This week's Morning Advertiser features not only a four-page advertorial for the Save Our Pubs & Clubs campaign. There's also a three-and-a-half page editorial feature, much of it devoted to an interview I gave the magazine a month or so ago.

To download the full interview click HERE. To download the four-page wrap, which includes two pages of campaign news, click HERE.

The MA feature includes comments from John Madden, executive officer, Guild of Master Victuallers ("If this Government wants to help our industry, allowing smoking rooms is a way to do it"); Martin Caffrey, operations director, Federation of Licensed Victuallers Associations ("We will look at anything that will help our members' trade and we would certainly actively campaign for smoking rooms"), and Mark Hastings, director of communications, British Beer and Pub Association ("We do not want to see a return to smoking in pubs. It would be a backward and unwelcome step.").

Worth reading, if I say so myself, if only for the line, "Clarke (sic) has the air of a man who's trudged a lonely road over the past three years". And I thought I was rather upbeat!!

Reader Comments (15)

This is a depressing interview. There is too much focus on outdoor bans - talking about them as if they were a possibliity, even though there is to be no review of the smoking laws; and talking about improving outdoor smoking areas. These are never acceptable. We should not paint ourselves as victims, grateful for a few crumbs of comfort. Like ASH, we should be talking as if an amendment is inevitable: pointing out that smoking prevalence has not decreased; that smoking is now more visible; that he ban on smoking in work vehicles is ignored; that Manchester Airport has reintroduced smoking areas beyond passport control; that hospitals have not been able to enforce outdoor bans; that the anti smoking industry has resorted to producing fraudulent statistics in an attempt to show heart attacks have gone down.
Also, over a year ago I suggested producing credit card sized cards advertising the campaign - perhaps with the slogan, "It will be colder in November", that we could buy and distribute to smokers at outdoor tables. I pass hundreds each day in summer. Just a hundred people could have distributed several hundred thousand over the last two summers.
I 'm sorry to have to say that considering the millions of people who want to smoke indoors, this must be the least effective campaign in history. ASH UK can't believe their luck.

July 23, 2010 at 12:46 | Unregistered CommenterJon

Correction. This campaign was less effective. The best book I've read in years

July 23, 2010 at 12:50 | Unregistered CommenterJon

I love Mark Hasting's opinion. Dear God, he sounds like Arnott! With friends like this, who needs whatever? Is this really what the British Beer and Pub Ass. think? who are they? "A backward and unwelcome step"? in your opinion, Hastings, in your opinion. "The ban has certainly created problems with some pubs" what a masterpiece of understatement! But never mind, Hastings, 52 closing a week isn't a problem, is it? Where did they find this tw"t?

As for the DoH giving a flat NO, don't they realise that people are smoking outside, anyway? keep them outside during the winter, eh? This is the Dept. of Health? words fail me!

July 23, 2010 at 13:17 | Unregistered CommenterFrank

Why on earth does Nick Bish (Chief Executive of the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers) believe that, because the 'new' customer didn't materialise with the introduction of the smoking ban, smokers "won't come back if the ban is lifted"?

Does he have evidence of this attitude?

July 23, 2010 at 14:31 | Unregistered CommenterJoyce

Not really any wonder that the pub trade has suffered so badly. Too many cooks representing different versions of the same thing. Nick Bish, cheif exec. of licensed multiple Retailers. Sounds like he represents off licences, supermarkets ect as well as pubs? How can that work?

July 23, 2010 at 16:31 | Unregistered Commentersheils

Then there,s all the different pubco,s and the anti smoking Wetherspoon boss who seems to be able to speak for every publican in the country.
What a mess.

July 23, 2010 at 16:49 | Unregistered Commentersheils

This would be the same Wetherspoons who tried the ban in advance in some Pubs and quickly had to abandon it.

We're not dealing with facts here. We're dealing with moralists. At least the ancients knew what to do with them, let them live in barrels or on tops of columns.

July 23, 2010 at 18:18 | Unregistered CommenterFrank

Isn’t there an organisation which represents little, local, independently-run pubs? If not, then perhaps now is the time for small pub owners to get together and start one (if there’s enough of them left, that is!), because the existing trade associations seem to all intents and purposes to be pretty much run exclusively by and for the big boys, yet it’s the little local pubs which always seem the bear the brunt - and suffer the most - from restrictive legislation such as the smoking ban, increases in alcohol duty, mounting red tape and H&S regulations etc etc.

Local, responsibly-run pubs also get tarred with the same “trouble-causing” brush whenever the media cite “binge drinking” or alcohol generally as the cause of many social ills. In fact, most of the ghastly scenes we see in those increasingly-common TV documentaries these days are caused by people falling out of town-centre bars (as opposed to proper pubs) which are either owned or run by the large pub companies.

I have put this suggestion up a few times in comments on the MA site, but my last few comments just haven’t appeared, despite containing no profanities or personal attacks or anything which might otherwise render the comments unsuitable. Maybe the “big boys” in question (who doubtless also have a say in what does or doesn’t get printed in the MA) have banned me, for fear of putting rebellious ideas into their otherwise-compliant members’ heads!

July 23, 2010 at 19:23 | Unregistered CommenterMisty

Simon, at least those passremarkable idiots didnt say Clark has the 'look' of a man who's trudged a lonely road. . . . .
Seriously though, you are doing a great job for us Simon, keep up the good work.

July 24, 2010 at 9:54 | Unregistered Commenterann


There is such an organisation. It is called the LVA (Licensed Victuallers Assn). This used to be the assn of small pubs (prior to the pubco takeover). It seems to be true that this assn has been taken over by the pubcos, but I am not sure. Certainly, some very strange organisations seem to have emerged. For example, what is ‘The Guild of Master Victuallers’? And what is the ‘Licensed Multiple Retailers Assn’? And what is the ‘Federation of Licensed Victuallers Associations’? I mean, there used to be a ‘licensed victuallers assn’ – just one. How can there be several LVAs which require a ‘Federation’? It is like saying that, in this country, it is not sufficient to have one ‘Football Association’, but that we need several Football Associations’, and therefore, as a consequence, we need a ‘Federation of the Associations of Football’. It seems to me that these ‘federations’ and ‘guilds’ are false entities.

I have just googled the ‘The Federation of Licensed Victuallers Associations’. It turns out that this organisation merely provides training courses. It is no more a ‘federation of ….bla, bla’ than ‘the federation of heavens’ might be. This organisation has given itself a grand (but meaningless) title. I cannot be bothered googling the others at this time because it seems to be the case that even Simon Clark is not particularly bothered about these frauds. No offence intended, Simon! Getting into an argument with the promoters of these organisations is time consuming and fraught with legal difficulties and probably fruitless. Nevertheless, it turns out that the quote in the Morning Advertiser, attributed to the ‘the federation of licensed victuallers associations’, is just one man’s opinion. As far as I can see, this ‘federation’ consists of only three people – Martin Caffrey, operations director, Ruth Knowles, Secretary, and Sheila Sykes, Membership Secretary. It just so happens to be the case that Martin C is against the ban, more or less, but my argument stands. Anyone can purport to form an ‘Association’ or a ‘Guild’ or a ‘Federation’. Most of these groups are, in fact, one man bands with their own interests and they will say what promotes their own interests. Interestingly, this is also true of really, truly big organisations, such as The Royal College of Physicians. They say what is in their own interests,

Thus we see that it really does not matter what organisations such as the British Beer and Pubs Assn say. It may well be that the spokesperson is mindful of the four fifths of the population who are non-smokers (in fact, his quote says just that). It may well be in their interests to use the invitation to quote to further the interests of their organisation by promoting pubs to non-smokers. Shall I tell you something very interesting? Here it is. Not one of the quotes mentions private property. Not one. In fact, oddly enough, the only one that comes near to it is the quote from ASH! How very strange!

Most of the quotes suggest the possibility of smoking rooms. I feel that that is the best that we can expect. If the government were to relent just a little and allow smoking rooms, then the problem would essentially be solved – for the time being.

I sometimes think that we have to think ‘outside the box’. Here is an idea which could be very effective. It does not require thousands of people to march in the streets.

Let us suppose that a small group of people (say, a dozen) make their way to a pub. It would be a good thing if this group had some females and some very old people with walking sticks and a couple of people in wheelchairs. Let us suppose that this group buys one drink each. The group find themselves a nice corner to sit in. After a little while, they open their bags and take out food of some sort along with their own drinks. They read their papers, do crosswords, chat among themselves, and simply sit there, all the time filming themselves. When the publican comes over and says that they cannot do what they are doing, they say, “Why not? This is a public place.” I personally would take great delight in being one of such a group.

The beauty of this idea is that no one would be breaking any law. Also, there would be no question of ‘conspiracy’ to break any law. Also, it would not be difficult to organise. Also, different groups throughout the country could act. As the Taliban have shown …….sorry, I will not pursue that thought, but you know what I mean.

Needs must. It is of the greatest importance that private property rights should be recognised. There is no such thing as a private property which is a public place – if it is, then anyone can do as they wish (within the law) in that place.

July 25, 2010 at 5:04 | Unregistered CommenterJunican

If the campaign by publicans and the tobacco lobby does not get more teeth.Just remind them more and more people will begin to do what I do. Brew my own beer and wine and also grow my own tobacco.
I now invite friends around for free beers and cigarettes and it costs me less than a round of drinks and a packet of cigarettes. No calling time no waiting to be served and no having to stand in the rain and cold to smoke.
Oh and no exhorbitantpayments to the revinue man.
Smoking bans can harm the nations wealth.

July 25, 2010 at 22:06 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Tidbury

Junican, I'm afraid the ordinary punter is as apatetic as the publicans.
My hairdresser, who is pro smoking, told me recently that he tried to get 50 people to stage a similar event in a pub after the smoking ban came in, but only one person agreed to go along with it.

July 27, 2010 at 9:22 | Unregistered Commenterann

If you go to the MA's forum, any time smoking is brought up, a load of publicans shoot it down: 'The ban's here, get over it.'

It's likely that their pubs will close within the next couple of years. To those publicans, I say, 'Your pub's closed, get over it.'

No sympathy at all.

Simon, with respect, is there any reason why you haven't been more robust in your efforts to get this ban overturned? Whilst we're grateful that you have this blog as a forum, at the end of the day, it's all just so many words. ASH must be laughing.

July 29, 2010 at 13:13 | Unregistered CommenterGhostOfCharlesII

We have been bludgeoned by a consortium of political interests and righteous, fascist propaganda. We have a civil right to smoke indoors and outdoors, with suitable provision. We have a civil right to be accepted for our tobacco purchases, for the alternative personal choice we make. We ask only that - in return for our taxes - respect is shown for this in the work and leisure facilities that are required to treat us with the courtesy we deserve. Simon - you do a great job for us, but these choices surely need to be much more heavily promoted by Forest as a right, and not cap in hand to anyone.

It would also restore the pub trade overnight. End of.

July 29, 2010 at 13:28 | Unregistered CommenterBeverly Martin

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August 6, 2010 at 6:02 | Unregistered Commenteryangjian

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