It was supermarkets and chain stores, with the power of bulk buying, which put our corner shops out of business, and now it appears that the same thing is happening to our pubs.
The smoking ban is not the only factor which is driving many of our "locals" to the wall. Many of them, such as the one pictured here, The Brigantine, just off South Shields Market Place, just cannot compete with pub chains, who are able to keep their prices at rock-bottom by bulk buying.
So, while we all like to pay less for our pint, do we really want to see our choice of watering-holes so drastically reduced? It's a conundrum.
Incidentally, in addition to Jews (am I allowed to use that expression nowadays? Is it "politically correct"?) supermarkets were one of Adolf Hitler's pet hates and he severely restricted them when he came to power. This is further proof that he was a bit of a "mixed-up kid", since many of the small shops were actually owned by the Jews!
I wonder what he would have done about chain pubs?