With the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) calling for more government intervention to save the British pub, let's remember what they said on the eve of the smoking ban in 2007.
You'd think that the influx of "840,000 people who never go to pubs", combined with six million pubgoers going more often, would have been a real shot in the arm for the pub industry, wouldn't you? Alas, these people didn't exist (it's that old stated preferences versus revealed preferences thing) and 2007 saw the start of the biggest decline in pub numbers in living memory, possibly ever.
CAMRA's new plan is to make it more difficult to turn a pub into a house or a shop. This won't stop pubs closing—it fails to deal with the underlying lack of demand for smokefree boozers—but it will mean that we can look at pubs in a derelict state for a bit longer while Tesco gets planning permission. So that'll be nice.
After supporting the smoking ban, and having said barely a peep about it since, CAMRA's campaign to save the British pub with more state regulation looks like being about as successful as its campaign to rid the country of lager and metal kegs.