I’m glad the pubs might be closed until Christmas. This isn’t the national tragedy you think it is

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Pubs! Pah! Don’t talk to me about pubs!

No sooner do I make the mistake of wondering whether I am the weird one because I am not a fan of alcohol – not teetotal, you understand. Just that I can take it or leave it, and that mostly means leaving it – and next thing I see is a great big tabloid headline despairing over whether pubs will re-open after lockdown.

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Really? I mean, really? Is this the most pressing concern facing the nation right now? It certainly seems that way. Yet an unexpected bonus has been ignored: it might well be that when the lockdown lifts, there could be scope for a wider range of more inclusive, less alcohol-centric community haunts.

I should not be surprised by the panicking. Alcohol and I have a long and difficult relationship. Relationship, that is, in the sense of a distant, egotistical cousin not seen for years: and then they turn up at some intimate family moment, a wedding, a funeral, breathing noxious fumes and tossing custard pies.

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