|Average Preston student pub, yesterday
Reading the latest issue of the local CAMRA magazine this week, it seems they have a new columnist. Well, I thought, at least it'll mean less words devoted to the evils of "Zombeers". When I actually read it, though, it was by a "Former Leisure Industry Consultant" giving his views on how to turn the ever-declining pub industry around. One pub in Warrington, apparently, has opened its doors as a drop-in centre for young mothers and their children. I imagined one well-known blogger choking on his pint of Unicorn if that ever happened in Stockport.
My own personal plan, as is ever the case with me, is idiosyncratic. I came up with it after reading about the tribulations of Freshers' Week, an event where millions of young people leave their homes and move to another part of the country to live with strangers and gain a degree.
But I say, bollocks to all that. If we want to save the pubs, I recommend a different course. Instead of loaning 18-year-olds £5000 a year for course fees and accommodation just so they can "study" to get a lower second in Klingon Studies or Applied Playground Management, I say give them a bedsit and £5000 in state-issued pub vouchers, redeemable at any building with a premises license for on-site consumption.
Imagine - the pubs would be full of young people enjoying themselves during the day, rather than empty but for a couple of miserable old codgers quoting the Daily Mail. Not only that, but the kids themselves would be socialising freely instead of pretending to read and underline passages in textbooks about the literary history of Faerie. Which would at least be honest.
I say get rid of the pretence of education, and have more drinking and socialising. It really would be the "best time of your life" then.