PubWatch is an organized scheme in the UK, undertaken as a volunteer effort among pub owners in a given area and with the cooperation of the police, to more effectively deal with troublemakers who frequent British pubs.
It reminds members of the public that they can be booted out of a pub for disorderly or illegal conduct, and presumably the scheme involves cooperation and information-sharing amongst the participating pubs. Kind of like Neighbourhood Crimewatch in the US.
Until recently, Hamish Howitt was chairman of Blackpool and Fylde Pubwatch. But since his doughty stance against smoking bans, he has been ousted. (Intriguingly, one of the message posts in the forums from one of the articles we link to implies that political-police pressure changed the minds of those who until very recently had supported their chairman.)
Hamish Howitt has taken a gutsy, principled stand against something he thinks is wrong. He has been quoted as calling the smoking ban ‘tantamount to hate crime’. He has acted on his convictions, and now faces 12 court charges for “failing to prevent smoking in a non-smoking premises”.
As he deals with that, he is also fighting a police challenge to an application for a pub licence which he recently made for the purpose of distancing his son from the fallout from the position he has taken.
Everyone who believes that our inherited and hard-fought-for liberty to conduct ordinary lives in a peaceful way under unintrusive, constitutionally curtailed and democratically accountable government have a stake in Hamish Howitt’s fight.
And unless publicans recognise that they have a political responsibility towards one another and the public, they may soon find themselves prosecuted for providing drinks in a Brave New World definition of “pub” that the British government could dream up in the next few years.
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