If Jeremy Corbyn ran your local pub: Seeking your variations

This one happily came across Almanac Admin desk during the week. It first appeared on Buzzfeed here and was written by Luke Bailey and Tom Phillips. Jeremy Corbyn is Labour Party leader in the UK.


The idea of Jeremy Corbyn running your local pub is a poetic premise, and one that lends itself to wondering…

Who would you like to see running your local?


If Jeremy Corbyn Ran Your Local Pub


If Jeremy Corbyn ran your local pub, it would be one of those old man pubs that inexplicably becomes popular with young people. The regulars would be baffled but quietly happy.

If Jeremy Corbyn ran your local pub, there would still be a photo from 1996 on the wall, of the time two members of The Levellers played a few songs.

If Jeremy Corbyn ran your local pub, all the staff would be on excellent wages, wages that would mean they’d all be able to afford to live close to the pub. And they’d have been trained on a full wage as well.

If Jeremy Corbyn ran your local pub, the tips would be shared out equally. The kitchen would get their share as well, because it’s important that wealth is distributed to everyone.

If Jeremy Corbyn ran your local pub, there would be a dog.

If Jeremy Corbyn ran your local pub, the jukebox would be free, paid for by the pub itself.

If Jeremy Corbyn ran your local pub, the regulars would have been saying for years that if only more people knew about the pub, and really understood what a good pub it was, it would become the most popular pub in the whole country.

If Jeremy Corbyn ran your local pub, some of the regulars would secretly hope that it never became popular, preferring it as it was.

If Jeremy Corbyn ran your local pub, the pub would express solidarity with the small grocery shop opposite it.

If Jeremy Corbyn ran your local pub, the price of premium drinks would be increased as a tax on the wealthy, and the increased income would subsidise the cost of basic drinks.

If Jeremy Corbyn ran your local pub, customers would worry that this structure was actually exclusionary, and was preventing the workers from enjoying the finest results of their labours.

If Jeremy Corbyn ran your local pub, there would be a protracted discussion with the customers about how best to resolve this, concluding that all pricing structures are inherently flawed. Eventually, another model would emerge. It would be based on ensuring everyone gets a drink, and then running through a complex price progression, for each individual, designed to ensure that the most ardent consumers of resources pay the most. It would all fall apart around pint 6 as everyone gets too confused to manage it.

If Jeremy Corbyn ran your local pub, there would be no scotch eggs available at the bar. But it would make its own crisps, from potatoes that Jeremy Corbyn grew in his allotment.

If Jeremy Corbyn ran your local pub, it would be mandatory to tear your crisp packet open and share them with your table.

If Jeremy Corbyn ran your local pub, there would be a well-organised and well-intentioned program dedicated to getting more chairs. There would be enough chairs for everyone.

If Jeremy Corbyn ran your local pub, there would be an equitable choice for every single type of drink, so all would be catered for. There would be three lagers, three stouts, three white wines, three vodkas. But the plan would have problems when Jeremy Corbyn proves unable to find a third supplier of mead, and fall apart completely over a debate about whether cognac counts as a type of brandy, or a separate drink.

If Jeremy Corbyn ran your local pub, he would make mead in the back.

If Jeremy Corbyn ran your local pub, he would eventually run an entire brewery from the cellar, establishing complete control over the production of beer.

If Jeremy Corbyn ran your local pub, the managers of the bland chain pub down the road would be utterly perplexed by the fact people want to drink in Jeremy Corbyn’s pub. “But our pub is obviously what people want,” they’d say. “We’ve done extensive market research. Why are all these people drinking in a pub that can never be popular?”

If Jeremy Corbyn ran your local pub, sometimes the managers of the bland chain pub down the road would try and tempt drinkers away from Jeremy Corbyn’s pub, by standing outside it calling them stupid.

If Jeremy Corbyn ran your local pub, there would be a lot of wood. Well-maintained wood.

If Jeremy Corbyn ran your local pub, there would be no football on TV. Every now and again, someone would come in, and ask if they were showing the football. They’d leave, a few minutes later, questioning why they ever followed a game that so nakedly rewarded the worst of capitalist impulses. They’d probably also have a pamphlet, and a slightly glazed look.

If Jeremy Corbyn ran your local pub, there’d be really well-made tea, available free to everyone. “But Jeremy Corbyn,” you’d say, “I thought proper tea was theft?” And Jeremy Corbyn would smile at you tolerantly, but with slight disappointment in his eyes.

If Jeremy Corbyn ran your local pub, it would really struggle to stick to last call. The bell would be rung, and everyone would get one more drink. Then a few minutes after 11, someone would ask for another. Then another a bit later. With an avuncular look in his eye, he’d say “OK, just one more then.” And he’d say the same twenty minutes after that.

If Jeremy Corbyn ran your local pub, there would never be a fight. As soon as tension started to build, Jeremy Corbyn would lay a weathered, calming hand on their shoulders, and solve their argument through well-reasoned, caring discussion. They’d sit back down, and carry on their drinking.

If Jeremy Corbyn ran your local pub, it would be fcking excellent.


Buzzfeed link: https://www.buzzfeed.com/lukebailey/labour-theory-of-ale?utm_term=.hylg3VKzX#.whdDKR7nx


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  1. E.regnans says

    Love it.
    Sounds like Brunswick East’s Lomond Hotel. Or the North Fitzroy Arms.

    I’ll nominate Jason Gillespie as my publican. And he’s helped on a Tuesday, when the inner suburban snooker competition reprobates roll in, and on a Wednesday, when impromptu Irish sessions are prone to break out, and on a Thursday, when (free) live music brings a crowd, by Jimmy Bartel.

  2. The Lomond !!! Haskins !!!

    Yes i know those two fine establishments. I’m thinking of a Labour party type who owned a pub. Michael Riordan had Haskin s(north Fitzroy Arms) for a while; Michael wa san ALP member.

    Hmm, not many more Labour party publican coming to mind. Footballers, that’s a different issue.


  3. My dream is not so much for a pub. More a communal drinking establishment where everyone brought their own home brew and shared it around.
    There would be a genial mine host who was there at 6 in the morning for the “early openers” and still there at 2 in the morning throwing out the drunks. He would be a master brewer himself, but nowadays he spent more of his time at the front of house keeping the doors open.
    People brought in all sort of brews. Kids and blokes who had never made their own before would tentatively bring some in for people to try. Miraculously the regulars would always say it was “not bad” or “pretty good” even if they kept their jaw clenched until the next time they went to the john. It generally got better with practice.
    There were master distillers of truth. One bloke up in Sydney mailed down an exotic brew every week that was heady and suspected of containing more mushrooms than barley. It was an acquired taste but some people swore by it.
    Old blokes spent most of their time at the bar talking about how good Courage and Resch’s and Abbots Lager were back in the day. Young blokes indulged them but secretly knew that their modern Hawks Nest craft beer was vastly superior.
    Occasionally a beer would be so popular like Carlton Bitter that the maker would leave for the commercial chain pub down the road, and actually get paid for their brew. Most were grateful and remembered where they learned their craft. Some didn’t and the regulars said they never liked Carlton anyway. Its too bitter and uses too many hops these days.
    The mine host would be genial and long suffering. He would occasionally suggest that it did cost a bit to keep the doors open and run the place, and a few blokes would leave a tenner in the drip tray. But most thought the wonders of their personal brew were payment enough.
    Anyway the mine host was always smiling and never complained, so most people thought he was probably on a good wicket already. Anyway we let him keep the 2007 Grand Final on constant rotation in the back bar.
    In truth the mine host was working always working second jobs after closing time, and was fortunate that his trouble and strife had kept her job at the hospital. She often wondered why she hadn’t married the cardiologist with the Porsche, but the mine host made her laugh a lot more than he made her cry. And he was a good dad. And she was smart enough to know that was really the best that a woman could hope for from the overgrown adolescents called men.
    That is my dream of the ideal publican. Of course its only a dream. You could never in a million years find a mine host as stupid and generous as that.

  4. E.regnans says

    [respectful applause]

  5. Rick Kane says

    The Lomond is the only pub I (I mean a friend of mine) ever asked the barmaid if someone had handed in a bag of ahem medicinal herbs because my friend had let it drop out of his pants pocket. She said no but would keep a check on things for me (I mean my friend). The bag was eventually found under a student’s bag out on the Blyth St front porch. When discovered a communal herb sandwich was rolled and enjoyed by 40 somethings (it was a few years ago) and 20 year old students. That’s a pub. We then went back inside to catch the last set of the Prayerbabies.

    When I first arrived in Melbourne in 1992 I lived around the corner from The Empress in North Fitzroy. It was the first pub I felt I could call my local.

  6. Allegory is not lost on me PB.

  7. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    I missed these comments the first time around.

    Bravo PB, Bra-bloody-vo

  8. Rick, the Lomond still rocks, with or without herbal sandwiches.

    A good companion to the Lomond, only a few tram stops away on the 96 route, is the Royal Oak in North Fitzroy. Both are pub tabs, both have live music.

    Unsure how the Empress is faring, not having gone there for a few years. It closed for quite a while, though it is open again, but i’m unsure if it retains the old dark, grungy feel the Empress possessed .


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