I have to say I couldn't help but guffaw (can I say "guffaw" before the watershed?) loudly at the story today about JD Wetherspoon being granted permission to open its first motorway pub, after being given the go-ahead at services on the M40.
The bar and restaurant will open at Extra in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, and will be allowed to serve booze between 08:00 and 01:00.
Suffice to say, on cue, a storm of "moral outrage" has erupted from various anti booze groups; eg Sir Ian Gilmore, chair of the Alcohol Health Alliance, is quoted by the BBC:
"To reduce alcohol-related harm, we have to reduce its availability, not increase it.Errmm unless Sir Ian has been living in a cave for the last few centuries, he is surely aware that pubs and inns have been a staple feature of British roadsides since the wheel was invented. The modern form of transport (ie car) has not changed the fact that many fine pubs are placed on A roads, main roads and even humble backstreets (all accessible to, and used by, cars).
Opening a bar at a service station sends out completely the wrong message if we are trying to prevent harm from alcohol-related traffic accidents."
What is the difference between a pub on a road, or a pub on a motorway?
If you are stupid enough to drink and drive on an ordinary road, then you are stupid enough to do the same on a motorway.
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