The Loneliest Jukebox

Graham Barnfield's weblog, being gradually replaced by his Twitter feed -

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Thursday, November 24, 2005

Anyone fancy a pint?

"How downtrodden we are in comparison with most other peoples is shown by the fact that even people who are far from being ‘temperance’ don't seriously imagine that our licensing laws could be altered. Whenever I suggest that pubs might be allowed to open in the afternoon, or to stay open till midnight, I always get the same answer: ‘The first people to object would be the publicans. They don't want to have to stay open twelve hours a day.’ People assume, you see, that opening hours, whether long or short, must be regulated by the law, even for one-man businesses. In France, and in various other countries, a cafe proprietor opens or shuts just as it suits him. He can keep open the whole twenty-four hours if he wants to; and, on the other hand, if he feels like shutting his cafe and going away for a week, he can do that too. In England we have had no such liberty for about a hundred years, and people are hardly able to imagine it." So said George Orwell, writing in Tribune in August 1944. Who knows what he would make of the shift to 24-hour pub opening hours, which means that, for all you know, I could be six hours into a bender while writing this. What we'll probably not see is some of the apocalyptic predictions made in the national press - rivers of vomit etc - brought to life.

Talking of apocalyptic predictions, trust my local paper to get it right when the nationals failed to hold the line. Despite a reprehensible ban by the police and local authority, the local 'Saviour Sect' branch meeting - which appears to be a one-man band (hello, Abdul Muhid, 22) - made its objectives clear: 'no negotiations - Britain must become an Islamic state'. Commentators who explain the London bombings in terms of British foreign policy might take the trouble to read the leaflets put out by those backing the 7/7 'martyrs'. Nothing short of restoring and extending the Caliphate will satisfy them. As Diana Johnstone reminds us, a simplistic moral worldview is no basis for making sense of anything.


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