Tuesday, 5 March 2013

New episode of BBC's "Toughest Place In The World To Be ... "

Given the government response to the debate on Early Day Motion 703 today in Parliament to scrap the beer duty escalator ... which to precis was "Stuff Off!" ... it got me thinking of yet another program idea for the BBC.

In a moment I'm going to ask you to close your eyes and imagine the voice of the woman who does the continuity announcements on BBC2 or 'er off the M&S adverts "... this isn't any ordinary advert, this is an M&S advert".

Of course this isn't going to work unless you've seen the trailers for the new series of "Toughest Place In The World To Be ..." , which kicks of with a taxi driver in Delhi. Nonetheless I'm going to pretend you have, so shut your eyes and imagine that silky voice for a couple of tics.

We'll all be living in tents soon ...
Good, got it fixed in your head. So through the open tent flap that is BBC2, the trailer begins ... shots of an obviously English fireman beating out a bush fire, a clearly terrified London cabby trying to navigate through the melee that is rush hour Delhi and finally cut to an English pub landlord.

The voice-over tells us that "Same job, different world, three Brits do their ordinary jobs in extraordinary places, Toughest Place To Be returns with a pub landlord in Britain this Sunday 9pm BBC2 ..."

For in 2013, Britain surely must be one of the most difficult places on the planet to do the job of, and earn a living as a bar owner. If s/he's not tied up in one of the most highly regulated licensing and health & safety regimes in the world, then s/he will be subject to extraordinary and punitive duty regimes, certainly at least, in terms of Europe.

Not content with gold plating every directive from Brussels, whilst many of our European colleagues enjoy the rule of governments who're not quite such sticklers for every regulatory and legislative edict from the technocrats in Strasbourg, we have a government that is somewhat deaf to the plight of publicans.

Deaf to calls for reform of the ludicrous way that pubs are assessed for various taxation, such as the bizarre way business rate valuations are undertaken for pubs as opposed to other retailers, or the industry-killing, above inflation beer duty escalator.

This government seems to not just have lost touch with its electorate, but seems to have lost touch with reality. The Eton frat-boys are intent on gouging even more out of our struggling industry, increasing VAT, the introduction of Late Night Levies and the proposed implementation of minimum unit pricing for alcohol, a freeze on business rates' valuations ... just how much blood do they think they can squeeze out of us?

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