Nationalize The Pubs!
October 23, 2017 12:20 PM   Subscribe

 
"New Model Pub." If we good Protestants are forced to have drinking, then we will have Roundhead drinking.
posted by clawsoon at 12:29 PM on October 23 [11 favorites]


kvasskhov
posted by poffin boffin at 12:31 PM on October 23 [1 favorite]


"impose middle-class values on working-class institutions"
posted by Bee'sWing at 12:45 PM on October 23 [7 favorites]


This is effectively what the Legions served as in small-town Canada. Definitely a huge boost to keeping small communities together.
posted by Space Coyote at 12:46 PM on October 23 [15 favorites]


C'mon, Jezza. You can do it. Nationalise the banks pubs!
posted by GeckoDundee at 1:05 PM on October 23 [1 favorite]


And of course, now I read the post title...
posted by GeckoDundee at 1:12 PM on October 23 [4 favorites]


Middle-class value doesn't automatically mean bad. One of the reasons Prohibition got a foothold in the US in the first place was that the traditional accepted masculine behavior in a large swathe of the working class was for the man of the house to get his pay packet on Friday, drink up most of it in the pub on Friday and Saturday night, and beat his wife if she complained about not having enough money to feed their family for the week. And that wasn't just a hundred years ago -- if you read some of Jo Walton's pieces about growing up with her grandparents, that was true in her small Welsh town in the 60s as well.

Frankly, I think it's a lot more condescending to assume there's something inherently working class about a damaging behavior. Of course, assuming something is positive because it's a middle-class behavior is also a bad idea.
posted by tavella at 1:19 PM on October 23 [19 favorites]


I remember reading something a while back about a town in the US Midwest - Nebraska? - where the town ended up buying and running the only bar, as it was going to close, and then people would have nowhere to go. I think there was an FPP about it.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:28 PM on October 23 [1 favorite]


Most of the things that the legislation described in the article invented and introduced are now unquestionable goods for most bar-goers. Much the same way that weekends, holidays, sick pay etc. are all enjoyed by even the shittiest Randroid out there. The ahistorical lie of ancaps and such is that the state is holding the free market back, when in reality the free market looks like a bar lining up 3 gallons of whiskey on a bar, and then letting your customers crush each other in a rush to get as much as possible. Only through state intervention of pumping the brakes do we have anything that resembles the modern affordances that even those yellow-and-black dipshits take for granted while mocking with a sneer.
posted by codacorolla at 1:30 PM on October 23 [29 favorites]


I feel that there's a pithy analogy to Wetherspoon's* to be made here.

*A ubiquitous British pub chain with an extremely Brexit chief executive, but with prices about 50% below the rest of the market, and a decent ambiance. The food's extremely mediocre, though.
posted by ambrosen at 1:54 PM on October 23 [2 favorites]


The food's extremely mediocre, though.

The worst story I have heard was from someone who ordered pizza in a pub
posted by thelonius at 2:09 PM on October 23 [3 favorites]


Spoons must be the... complete opposite of this, though? The most ruthlessly capitalist of the lot, an owner who uses the chain to agitate for Brexit and "tax fairness day" (lol), heavy emphasis on nothing except drinking going on in the pubs, not even music or tv... I mean, I *enjoy* a spoons, but I don't see the similarity.
posted by ominous_paws at 2:12 PM on October 23 [2 favorites]


The article fails to touch on the contextual implications - the welfare state as weapon of war. In the 19th century militaries evolved to mass mobilization supported by mass industry. No more warrior elite or mercenaries, rather millions of everyday subjects slaughtering and being slaughtered by millions of the other governments' subjects.

This evolution indicated that it was worthwhile for rulers to look after the health and morale of their subjects so that more of them would be fit for the meat grinder or produce efficiently at the munitions factory.

But technology marches on, the age of mass mobilization has mostly passed. Wars are fought once again by a relatively small warrior caste or mercenaries. Military industries are automated, and producing a small amount of extremely expensive weapons rather than e.g. tens of thousands of tanks. Not so much need for the welfare state anymore - maybe sometimes some provision of welfare may be more cost-effective than other means of pacifying the populace, but not too much...
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 3:55 PM on October 23 [10 favorites]


save alive nothing that breatheth: This evolution indicated that it was worthwhile for rulers to look after the health and morale of their subjects so that more of them would be fit for the meat grinder or produce efficiently at the munitions factory.

I've been thinking along similar lines after I read a bit in one of John Keegan's books about how the shock of the Prussian victories in 1870 got all of Europe imitating the Prussian obsession with producing a mass of subjects who were healthy, well-educated, ideal soldiers. But what happens to the nation-state when the state no longer requires the nation?
posted by clawsoon at 4:48 PM on October 23 [2 favorites]


What about the Milk Bar?
posted by clavdivs at 5:10 PM on October 23


nothing except drinking going on in the pubs, not even music or tv.

How's that? I don't remember the Wetherspoons I've been in lacking a tv.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 5:19 PM on October 23


*A ubiquitous British pub chain with an extremely Brexit chief executive, but with prices about 50% below the rest of the market, and a decent ambiance. The food's extremely mediocre, though.

If it's the first half of the day, and especially if it's raining outside, I sometimes end up in one. The wifi is free and okay, and coffee is usually around a pound with free refills before 2pm. Add on the usually clean loos and I can sometimes get some work done and be fully caffeinated for that one pound. Buggered if the libertarian dodgy bloke who owns the chain is getting more than that out of me.
posted by Wordshore at 5:22 PM on October 23 [1 favorite]


Read this yesterday. Super cool. There is at least one town (Sutton, ND) near where I was born that has a bar owned by the township, just so the people who live there can have a place to drink and watch TV with their buddies. Like the pubs in the article, I think this makes it a better, nicer, less exploitative place to drink.
posted by wormwood23 at 6:09 PM on October 23


TV chat

Ho God, you're right - my now RIP local spoons certainly did, and looking it up TVs were added in 2006. Sic transit gloria mundi.
posted by ominous_paws at 11:16 PM on October 23


There are some states in the US where you can only buy (some forms of) alcohol at state-run liquor stores. In my limited experience, those have been charmless and expensive, providing a much lower caliber of service than regular stores. Pubs run like that would be terrible, like going to the Department of Motor Vehicles for a drink.

But I can imagine a different path, where pubs were run more like well-functioning municipal offices, clean and well-staffed. It's intriguing to think how they might be different from regular bars if run as a public service -- would they be more inclusive and provide additional services in order to bring in more people, or more restrictive to limit the social impacts of alcohol?

The article describes what to me sound like real improvements, but I bet the restrictions and changes made a lot of the existing customers unhappy.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:48 AM on October 24


Counter-point to Dip Flash:

In Canada and Sweden the liquor stores are state-run, and they are fantastic! I believe the LCBO (Ontario) and the System Bolaget (Sweden) are two of the largest liquor purchasers in the world. They pass their bulk purchasing discounts on to the customers, so not only do these stores have the best selection I've ever seen, they usually also have the best prices. Well, I guess the crazy high taxes on liquor in Sweden make this maybe not true there... but the stores there are very nice, at least.
posted by Grither at 6:46 AM on October 24 [1 favorite]


Dip Flash, Montgomery County, MD is a discrete exemple of alcoholic beverage control state market making, or control states(NABCA). Here is a URL with a bit of US-specific historiography on market variation produced by states' laws since repeal of the 18th Amendment of the US Constitution.

PSA: Wikipedia has integrated IP-specific solicitation of pay-per-view into URL requests.
posted by marycatherine at 8:35 AM on October 24


Minnesota allows municipalities to operate bars, and over 100 do [pdf].
posted by afiler at 8:43 AM on October 24


The article fails to touch on the contextual implications

Another one it misses is the historical context. The partitions within the pub that it talks about removing had really only been introduced in the previous century. They were actually part of a movement to a more "respectable" pub, where folks weren't forced to socialize with potentially disreputable strangers - a very Victorian notion of sociability, and one which actually allowed for more female participation in drinking culture (because they could be escorted by their male companions). But prior to the Nineteenth Century, pubs tended to have more open space and to be generally more sociable (and rowdy) - which is part of why they were so important to the labor movement.
posted by nickmark at 9:43 AM on October 24


But what happens to the nation-state when the state no longer requires the nation?

The Jackpot, as William Gibson termed it.
posted by acb at 11:23 AM on October 24


Also: I'm wondering whether the pubs (such as the Duke of New York) in the weird, quasi-Soviet England of A Clockwork Orange would have been state-run. Come to think of it, perhaps the record shops were as well.
posted by acb at 11:24 AM on October 24


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