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Peter Rhodes on kids falling out, the real threat to pubs and the success of melting-pot Britain

By Peter Rhodes | Peter Rhodes | Published:

Read the latest column from Peter Rhodes.

Wanted: customers

“Pubs are being hit with a myriad of cost pressures at a time of unprecedented political uncertainty and unstable consumer confidence.” That's the grim warning from the trade association UK Hospitality. But this warning isn't the result of lockdown. It was issued in April last year as the hospitality industry reported that in 2018 almost 1,000 British pubs closed.

From this week's celebrations about the easing of lockdown, you might assume that millions of customers are hammering on the pub doors, desperate to get in. Not so. The pub industry was in dire straits long before the virus came along. Many provincial pubs were almost empty on weekdays.

There may (although I wouldn't bank on it) be a post-lockdown rush to the bars but after that first surge, pubs will face the same problems that they have faced for years: high rents, high prices, low custom. The pubs may survive coronavirus. They will not survive public apathy.

Our changing society. The days when all young people were united in moaning about the pampered baby-boom generation are over. According to a report this week, the under-40s are divided into millennials and Generation Z – and they are squabbling among themselves. Millennials, some now approaching 40, have not only beards and coffee but also responsibilities. So they are sneered at by the younger Generation Z for joining mainstream society while millennials sneer at Generation Z for being “superior, puritanical and revolutionary.” Where will it end? Probably with the arrival of the upcoming kids, already named as Generation Alpha, who show signs of detesting both Generation Z and the millennials. I like to keep my readers up to date on such developments, even if some of them are too busy cataloguing their Troggs LPs to pay much attention.

The BBC has set itself a target of 20 per cent of actors and presenters coming from BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) backgrounds. And yet as I reported this week, the term BAME is already being called into question. For Britain is not a nation that divides neatly into racial groups; it is a melting pot. Britain has one of the highest rates of dual-heritage relationships in the world. “Mixed race” is the fastest-growing ethnic group in the UK. In the 2011 Census, about 1.25 million people described themselves as mixed-race and later research suggests the actual figure may be closer to 2.5 million, and growing.

So quite how the Beeb's talent scouts will define BAME is a mystery. And the next time somebody tells you this is a racist nation, you might point out that there is no country in Europe where black and white have embraced each other on such a scale, or so literally.

I was surprised to hear on a TV news report, that coronavirus had been detected at a “chicken manufacturing plant.” And you thought they came from eggs?

Peter Rhodes

By Peter Rhodes

Award-winning columnist and blogger. Keeping an eye on the tribulations and trivia of a fast-changing world

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