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Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The Tuesday Twat(s)

Number 41. Dr John Reid.

Dr John Reid is the man that has killed off the English pub lunch.

For the last few years, Britain has been contemplating a smoking ban in public places, a la New York, Ireland or one of a growing number of countries. The devolved parliament of Scotland used its hard won powers to announce a complete ban (including bars and clubs). After many years of wrangling, England finally gets to follow suit... or rather not.

When he was Health Secretary Dr Reid came up with a half-arsed "compromise" that would insist on a ban in pubs containing food (what constitutes "food" has yet to be decided. Pork scratchings aren't food but bizarely a pre-made chicken fajita might be), but pubs that only serve booze will be allowed to keep exposing their staff to cancer-causing smoke (but not over the bar, a distinction that is about as useful as a designated pissing section in the local swimming pool). Well, Reid has moved onto the position of defence secretary and lost a vote in the Scottish parliament, a place where English politicians have no voice.

But never fear! Just because you are no longer Health Secretary for the UK, and are Scottish, should not be an impediment to you sticking your nose in and forcing the compromise on England! Reid has gone toe-to-toe with Patricia Hewitt, his successor, who favoured a complete ban and forced a vote on his compromise proposal. Thus proving that not only is he a meddling troublemaker, but that as predicted, Scottish MSPs do not have the integrity to keep their noses out of solely English politics.

So what does this have to do with Pub lunches? I recently asked the workmate who is starting a bar if he was planning on serving food. To which he replied "No chance. Every other bar in that area will be closing their kitchens down if the ban takes force. No one will come to my bar to drink if it is the only bar in the area that won't allow smoking, and the profit from food just isn't good enough to replace lost drinking revenue".

So on behalf of the many people who enjoy a pub lunch (and, if I may be so bold tens of thousands soon to be unemployed catering staff) - please accept this Tuesday Twat Award, Dr Reid (and any other Scottish Politicians who believe they have a right to comment on English affairs).




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