I was not impressed when the UK's Labour government, now third in the polling for next month's election, announced their Minister of the Tavern idea a mere 675 or so weeks after they gained power. It appears that I am not alone, that the centrist Liberal Democrats, now near first place in the polls, finds the idea as hollow given the track record as I do:
Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg has blamed the government’s failure to act on the beer tie and continuous hikes in beer tax as the reason for record numbers of pub closures. Clegg, currently enjoying huge popularity after an impressive showing in last week’s leaders’ debate, said well-run pubs are an important part of tackling alcohol problem and are not “part of the problem”. He added: “Government policies, such as continually raising duty on beer and refusing to reform the beer tie, have led to a situation in which more than five pubs a day are said to be closing. “It is hugely important that we stand up for the pub industry during these difficult times.”
Facts? Imagine rolling out facts to do the job for you! During an election, too. But... apparently Labour and Tories have vowed to preserve community pubs, too. But I thought they were at different ends of the political spectrum. It couldn't be that they are all playing politics... during an election...
I suppose some might call it refreshing that pubs (note: not good British ales) are an election issue but when everyone agrees, it is really an issue or is time taken up that otherwise might be used for the discussion of real issues. This poll in The Publican last week is a decent attempt at framing the particulars. But why is cider an issue and not good craft beer? Why is no one banging the drum for lower taxation on small brewers like we have in Canada? I wonder what drinks policies would really set one party apart from the others?