7 WAYS TO IMPROVE PUBS: A Case For Libertarianism

Updated: Jun 15, 2020

By Oliver James Pike

1. Remove the tax on alcohol

All this tax does is hit the pockets of the poorest in society. It does not, as it is intended to do, reduce drinking. Taxes on such things as beer, sugar and meat are all subtle ways of the state coercing us to eat and drink the way they want us to, or else we will suffer some form of financial penalty. It is fundamentally authoritarian and is steeped in condescending paternalism. Let people drink, let businesses sell alcohol at competitive prices and free the industry from the shackles of regulation and tax.

2. Scrap licencing hours

Again, this does not stop people drinking. Many casinos and bars around the country will be open till times as early as 5 am, allowing people access to hard liquor. If anything, the approach is counterproductive as it drives those looking for one more drink into a gambling establishment, where they can lose any of the money they have left after the government has had its due share. If pub goers resit the temptation of a nightcap at a casino then the state might be able to call that a success but those with serious drinking problems will head home and engage in anti social and isolated drinking.

3. Allow pubs to dictate their own smoking policy

The best business decision in this scenario is undoubtedly to prohibit smoking and designate a smoking area, but this should be a decision that they alone should be allowed to make. If a business wishes to market itself as a "smoking pub" then let it. The market not the state should be judge, jury and executioner on business and marketing decisions.

4. Stop taxing after pub food

The Scottish governments approach to fast food is draconian. Don’t ban multi-packs, free sides and pastries and don't arbitrarily increase taxes on everything from sugar to fat every time government health targets are missed.. Once again this simply hits peoples pockets rather than discouraging unhealthy eating. Let people have an unhealthy curry, Chinese or pie after their visit to the pub without the state sticking its nose into the affairs of citizens. Furthermore, we should be encouraging people to have some personal responsibility regarding what they eat and drink rather than rely on the state to control every aspect of their lives to ensure a wholesome lifestyle.

5. Stop criminalising offensiveness

Pubs used to be a place for men to talk about women, women to talk about men and where people could tell offensive jokes, belch and curse. Pubs are being sanitised by a state hellbent on clamping down on uncouth offensive oration. This leaves pub goers afraid to tell that risky joke about the blind nun in the brothel. Make the pubs fun again!

6. Pubs Should Focus on the Basics

This is part of a wider movement to make pubs family friendly. Children play areas and activities on the backs of menus often crop up in large chain pubs which makes me wonder why anyone would take their children to the pub. They simply should not be there. Chains seldom play music or play matches on the TV. Only select chains host a pub quiz and most are more focused on overly priced cocktail pitchers and expansive menus packed with avocado than getting the basics correct. Instead corporate pubs attempt to pander to every section of the population in an ill fated attempt to hit all the demographics on their head office pie-chart. As a result of all of this, it is rare that i can get a properly pulled pint in a chain pub. It is a shame that they appear set to take over.

7. Deregulate and help small business thrive

Small pubs are suffering. Many ends up being swallowed up by big chains like Belhaven and Wetherspoons. While they still serve a good pint, they lack the local character these pubs once had. The pub is often the heart of the community and letting them be taken over by large companies is essentially stealing the soul of a town. Regulations on licencing hours, minimum pricing, minimum wage and taxes have made it impossible for small independent pubs to compete instead they lose out and become yet another uniformly dull brick in the Wetherspoons wall.