On the importance of public houses and real ale

Hold the front page, your Green Party candidate recently kicked off the campaign to save the world from dangerous man-made climate change, by heading to the pub afterwards for a drink.
Mine was an orange juice because it is not the sort of thing you'd expect me to do, get slightly drunk embarrass myself and my party in the street and then cycle home under the influence.  And yet there is something really relaxing about the atmosphere that you can get so much more done in an informal setting, than sitting in a business meeting, in my personal opinion.  There is a danger of excluding some people who would never set foot in a pub, if everything is done in pubs.  Yet, it is way preferable than having it at someones house who may be an anti-semite or career politician or whatever. Even Friends of the Earth ultimately end up there.
 I have found myself in a hell of a lot of pub get-togethers over the last 10 years, from a culture jammers meet-up to local party meetings, GreenPeace groups, Young Greens post-meetings, conference "socials", demonstration debriefings, and informal education, and fundraising events.
But seriously, it's a question that people ask us a lot, could you represent working class people, do you know what it's like?  and a related question from CAMRA, we want you to represent beer and cider drinkers.  Sadly, many people have miserable lives and a cheeky pint makes life tolerable. Now that smoking is banned, it means I can even listen to live music without getting covered in smoke.  It is no co-incidence that George Osborne bribed the nation with a penny off a pint (I can now start saving for a house - it's Green Party policy to make the homes truly affordable, and the pint more expensive).  I think it's unfair that real ale is taxed more than the piss that now passes for beer served in many pubs.  And yet, pubs are not just a place to drink responsibly they are community centres.  Greens coming into one should know that drinking alcohol is not compulsory, and even minors can attend as long as they are accompanied and don't push it.  Yet these public houses, these institutions of our nation, are under threat, and we need more MPs like Caroline to support local independent businesses.

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