Two tiny bits of sad news this week. Wheatley AFC are no more, wives, children, hangovers and growing old having taken their toll, so no more Sunday football for the vagabond side.
It says in this season's CAMRA magazine that the Woolpack/Commercial in Esholt has closed down, it should come as no surprise to anyone to learn that the pub was part of the sprawling Enterprise Inns chain. When there are no more village pubs left, and a vital and wonderful part of our national heritage has been allowed to die, it should be noted that it wasn't the smoking ban that killed pubs, nor was it the price of beer in supermarkets (although these things may not have helped), it is largely the appalling greed of the non-brewery pub chains that sprung up in the wake of the Monopoly Act. These companies charge huge rents to landlords, and then tie them by contract to buying beer at vastly inflated prices.
The pub chains would not have existed without an ill conceived law brought in by the Conservative Government in 1989, the Beer Orders aimed to break up the monopoly of the six biggest brewery pub chains, but it gave rise to the non-brewery landlords and the demise of thousands of pubs across the country.
If you want to point a finger at who killed our pubs, it was the Tory party.