Local clubs - CIU clubs, previously known as working men's clubs - have been a mainstay of our entertainments industry, providing employment and experience for a large number of acts and individual entertainers. In February of last year I commented that 'The Stage', the house-journal of the ents industry, was reporting 100 clubs a year closing as a result of the smoking ban, and club ents budgets the first to suffer from a downturn in trade, hitting employment in our important creative and cultural sector particularly hard.
For many people who can't afford thirty or fifty quid for a theatre or O2 ticket, local CIU clubs provided quality live entertainment at a fraction of the cost, often of surprising quality. Had they remained open, the current hunger amongst the young for live acts would be packing them out and revitalising them with a new generation of not only audiences but management capacity. Labour's spiteful smoking ban has destroyed this vital popular culture, and stifled opportunities for the less affluent to provide for themselves.
A press release from Freedom 2 Choose received yesterday says:
Through the good auspices of The CIU Club Journal, a monthly issue delivered to more than 2300 Working Men’s Clubs, Freedom2Choose have uncovered some shocking facts about the smoke ban implemented on 1 July 2007:
- 98% stated the ban had definitely had a detrimental effect on their club.
- 98% stated the ban was not implemented fairly.
- 98% believed there should have been freedom of choice.
- 98% of clubs had the facility for a separate smoking room.
- 81% stated that they did not trust this government anymore.
Phil Johnson, Club Liaison Officer for Freedom2Choose, said "This clearly proves that the smoking ban has had a disastrous effect on one of the largest social institutions in the country. This ban, supposedly brought in to protect staff, has caused nothing but unemployment and hardship throughout club-land and cannot be proven to have saved one single life. Yet 90 clubs have closed forever, with more set to follow."
Phil further stated, "The biggest shock was the disastrous 81% that no longer trusted this government. When you consider that the majority of the clubs lie within the Labour voting heartlands, this government has clearly shafted 'their own' with this draconian law. Had any form of fairness been applied to this law, i.e. choice or separate rooms, then this control-obsessed government would not be facing the inevitable backlash from its hardcore supporters."
The survey was verified by Dr Ruth Cherrington, Lecturer in Cultural and Media studies at Warwick University, who commented "When the truth of such prohibition surfaces it is always a very sad truth. The clubs are the backbone of our communities - but for how much longer?"
Just another whole tier of local intermediate institutions destroyed by Labour's ruthless Leviathan State.