Licensees have hit out the British National Party (BNP) for targeting pubs as part of its campaign for this week’s European elections.
The BNP claims it has written to 32,000 pubs setting out its policies on how to “Save the Great British Pub”. Its policies include: ending the smoking ban; “stopping the beer tax” and scrapping business rates for pub.
However publicans have been left unimpressed by the tactics of the far-right organisation.
Joe Cussens, of the Marlborough Tavern, in Bath, who has not received any literature from the BNP, said licensees should not be fooled by the party’s “veneer of respectability”. “It’s a cynical tactic, because saving the pub is an easy cause to champion. And there are plenty of mainstream respectable parties campaigning on this issue,” he said. “It’s a way for them to have a veneer of respectability, but people mustn’t forget their more unsavoury, less palatable policies.”
In the letter to pubs, party leader Nick Griffin writes: “As you know, successive governments have imposed crippling burdens on your business. This has already forced many once thriving pubs out of business, with many more in deep trouble. Let me assure you that the British National Party would strive to undo this damage.”
However Chris MacLean, licensee at the Railway Tavern, in Faversham, Kent, said: “If I had anything from the BNP it would go straight in the bin. Their views are absolutely reprehensible. The problem is with the current political situation they are getting more attention than they should.”
Nigel Jones, licensee at the Railway Hotel, in Blandford Forum, Dorset, argued politics and pubs “don’t mix”. “Political parties should not target pubs regardless of their cause,” he said.
But he added: “I find the BNP’s whole cause abhorrent.”
DG adds: Griffin's email offers publicans a range of fascist beer mats. If it had been toilet paper there might have been more takers.