Pubs, social media and politics – should landlords get political?

Published on 6 May 2010 in , ,

As I type this, the country is busy going to the polls. I’ve had my say and hopefully dear readers, you had yours.

polling station

Photograph by Secretlondon123. Creative Commons licensed.

What you will notice on this blog is that I won’t tell you who I’ve voted for, or any recommendations on how to vote.

I’ve always been very cautious on that front due to the fact I’m employed by the BBC. Now the BBC’s social media guidelines don’t prevent me from talking about politics as I’m not an editorial member of staff (I think… never quite sure how they define it) however I’ve seen those Daily Mail-esque stories about everyone being left wing in the BBC after some journalist did a trawl on Facebook to see BBC staff’s political leanings, and I don’t want to add any fuel to that particular kind of fire.

There is a possibility that if you trawled through my Twitter updates you might be able to work out my leanings, but you’d be guessing rather than knowing.

So all that said and off to a little tangent, I was interested to see on Twitter that the icon representing one my local pubs had changed to the Conservative Party logo on May 6th.

Princess of Wales pub on Twitter with a Conservative Party logo as their user icon

I confess to raising an eyebrow. Not because of the party, but of that the pub had gone “political” at all.

I can’t have been the only one to have raised an eyebrow. Interesting the Princess of Wales account retweeted this comment:

Impact of Twitter: I know how my local pub landlord is voting and no longer need to feel guilty for never darkening its doors.

Leahamouse on Twitter

Now I feel everyone should be allowed to have their views, as long as they’re in the law. And a pub landlord’s politics wouldn’t stop me visiting a pub unless they were out in the scumbag BNP fold.

And I also can see full well why any publican wouldn’t want to vote for Labour given that various budgets have been very unfavourable towards beer and pubs.

However I a part of me couldn’t help but wonder whether it might have been better to have been a bit more neutral. Politics can causes heated arguments and divisions. When the pub trade is in a bad state and needs to attract as many people through the doors as possible, maybe pub landlords everywhere might be a bit better off being a bit more BBC?

For those interested, the pub is in Mitcham and Mordon which is a Labour stronghold and classed as “ultra safe” by one website. I could also comment on pubs being divisive about the nearby Grove Tavern which has been trying to recreate and rebrand as a good live music venue after many years in the doldrums. So why on earth have they suddenly decided to put up a huge billboard featuing a headless female torso to advertise pole dancing?

Update: 7 May 2010 – whoops! Should have done my research better. Pub’s actually in the Conservative held Wimbledon constituency although on the edges of the Labour Mitcham and Morden.