Enjoy summer safely in a pub?


The slogan from a Conservative party mailing to me this morning.

There wasn’t much surety about Boris Johnson’s messaging in his briefing yesterday evening. The idea that having a few drinks in your local is a good idea is bonkers.

I burst into laughter when the Prime Minister told me that I could get a drink in a pub at 6 am. Perhaps he was thinking of his youth when students roamed my part of London, up all night to get lucky.

If I was writing this blog in the 1990s, there could be pubs in Smithfields opening their doors at 6.05 am (my time of writing) .  If I wasn’t in quarantine I could wander up past the Old Bailey to try and find that pint at dawn. Except I’d have a very long walk indeed.

pubs at dawn

Romantic as it looks, that photo, taken 800 yards from my flat,  was shot in 1961. Pubs don’t open at 6am round here any more , there are hardly any “early houses” left in Britain as this article makes plain.

The final early houses have long since outlived their earlier purpose. Even in Johnson’s student days, they weren’t serving market porters but the stragglers from the clubs , so crazed by narcotics that they couldn’t sleep.

These clubbers aren’t much to be found in these days of Covid. From the Ministry of Sound in the Elephant to the clubs in the City, the message is the same


Google search; Saturday 4th July

The clubs are closed and the pubs are closed as well. That 1961 photo was taken in the Fox and Anchor – no more a pub.  You won’t be getting a drink today in any other pubs in Smithfield Market; none are opening their doors for Super Saturday.

city pubs

Google search at 6am Saturday 4th July

As with  much else of yesterday’s “shambolic” performance, the messaging on drinking was out of touch, not just with the facts about pub opening, but with the mood of the public

The Government seem to be badly mis-reading the appetite of Middle Britain to take unnecessary risks . My local landlord told me there would be no point in opening the Cockpit until people felt safe to mix inside. I don’t have to google, I  can lean out my window and  see the Cockpit is staying closed.

the cockpit

Enjoy summer safely in a pub?

The summer can be enjoyed without a pint in our hand. It can even be enjoyed from the oncology ward of Guys hospital where I’ll be for the next few days. I can have my operation because there is now capacity for elective surgery because we have flattened the curve and suppressed the pandemic.

The public understand this and we are in this for the long haul. We will not be going to the pub because we can and the pubs round here are staying shut because they know it. Publicans don’t want to get infected any more than the rest of us.

Going to the pub is nothing to do with enjoying summer safely. There are many safer ways to have a drink.

Speaking sense – not nonsense.

As an aside, people do read what they are sent as intently as they watch and listen to the TV broadcasts.

This is taken directly from an email I have just received from a Conservative MP. It appears to come from some central source and is so badly written as to make me wonder whether the person who put it together even read it over…

We also need to continue to remember the basics, such as washing your hands with soap and water more often and for at least 20 seconds, and if you have any symptoms of coronavirus (a new and continuous cough, a temperature, a loss of taste or smell), you should immediately self-isolate and get a test. You can apply for a test by clicking here. 

Whilst these relaxations will allow us to enjoy a much more normal way of life, it is vital that we all safely by following the guidelines and keeping your distance from others so we can keep the coronavirus under control.

There is no way you can be authoritative, if you write as badly as that.

We know what we are doing.

The public are very well informed about this pandemic. Apart from a hardcore of herd immunists there are very few people who enjoy taking the risk of getting the virus.

We don’t like nonsense, we like certainty. We get Nicola Sturgeon and we don’t get Boris Johnson. “Shambolic” is Sturgeon’s word for the performance of her counterpart in Westminster, few are gainsaying her.

We get the bulletins from the COVID-19 actuaries, we don’t get drivel from Conservative HQ. Mailing us rubbish is not a public service, it is an abuse of priviledge,

The public will make the best of this summer whatever its circumstances . We are mindful of ourselves and of others, we do not need to be patronized and misinformed. 

We do not need to be told – we now know what safe is.



In case anyone thinks that in focusing on messaging, I am validating the rest of the Government’s performance, I am not. this linked in blog by James Souttar makes it clear that he sides with Sturgeon’s descriptor “shambolic”, I’ll let the numbers speak for themselves.

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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