It’s a brave, or perhaps foolish, man or woman who writes a post about the vexed subject of children in pubs. Pub Curmudgeon wrote such a piece just the other day, and I believe it is one of several articles he’s produced over the years about the joys, or otherwise of kids running amok whilst he’s trying to enjoy a drink.
I too got myself into hot water after writing a post about badly behaved children causing havoc in an award-winning, working man’s club; even though I was quite rightly apportioning blame to the parents/guardians who were supposed to be looking after them. I also questioned the non-intervention of the club staff, receiving perhaps the most criticism for not having raised the matter myself, with the club’s officials.
What happens though when the boot is on the other foot, and it is the adults who find themselves in the dock, for being “drunk in charge of a child?” Believe it or not, there is such an offence, as according to a licensing act from 1902, it is illegal to be drunk while in charge of a child under the age of seven. Anyone found in contravention of the rules can face a fine – or even a month behind bars.
parents from buying more than two alcoholic drinks if they have children with them.
The pub in question is the Robert Pocock in Gravesend, Kent, which brought in the two-drink limit because parents were letting their children run around uncontrolled. A poster at the pub said they were “Protecting children from harm,” and added, ‘Therefore adults in charge of children will be allowed to have one alcoholic drink and a further alcoholic drink with a sit down meal.”
All very draconian you might think, and the poster provoked the predictable cries of “outraged” parents, but apparently it’s nationwide policy for Wetherspoon’s, which individual managers can choose to enforce. The policy has been in place for some time, but has not been followed rigorously in the past.
A JD Wetherspoon spokesman said: "The manager took the decision to put the poster in the pub to emphasise to customers that she would not allow parents to drink while their children were running round uncontrolled in the pub. The notice had a positive effect, with mostly good feedback."
Now I’m not going to get mired in this particular controversy, particularly as my views on Brexit-fixated Tim Martin, are well known. I have once set foot inside the Robert Pocock, and whilst I would describe it as not one of JDW’s “better outlets,” my sole visit was over 10 years ago, and the pub may well have improved since then.
Our poor deprived son was also nearly sat on once, whilst he slept in his pushchair, at a party held in an outdoor barn. Yes it was dark, drink had again been taken, and fortunately no harm was done, but didn’t former Prime Minister David (call me “Dave”) Cameron, also once leave his daughter behind at the pub, following a Sunday lunchtime drink?
We’re only human after all, as the Rag’n’Bone Man sang; even the man whose over-inflated ego proved to be far greater than his intellect - to the detriment of us all!