NOTE: Shortly after I published this story, Parliament’s bars announced that they will stop selling alcohol after 10pm. The reason?
MPs said the rules risked making Parliament look “ridiculous” to the public.
That was very much my intention when I wrote the following:
I think it’s great that Parliament has put up its own bars as testing-grounds for the effectiveness of the 10pm pub drinking curfew.
It seems the bars on the Parliamentary estate – the Members’ Dining Room, Adjournment, Smoking Room, Terrace Pavilion, Pugin Room and Members’ Tea Room are exempt as they provide a food and bar service:
A spokesperson for the House of Commons confirmed that the new restrictions on hospitality do not apply to the venues on the parliamentary estate, saying: “As catering outlets providing a workplace service for over 3,100 people working on the Estate, the current regulations on hospitality venues do not apply to Commons facilities.”
Some have said this is another example of Boris Johnson’s cronies setting one law for us and then breaking it themselves. Many of them made reference to Orwell’s Animal Farm (which may soon be banned under Gavin Williamson’s new education rules):
'You do not imagine, I hope, that we pigs are doing this in a spirit of selfishness and privilege… 'The whole management and organisation of this farm depend on us. Day and night we are watching over your welfare. It is for your sake that we drink the milk… ' — Animal Farm pic.twitter.com/FGM49cfGk9
— JD Black🥀 (@_JD_Black) September 28, 2020
Alexander de Piffel and his new cabinet enjoying a pint after 10PM at a private table in the Houses of Parliament Bar.
(Watching Orwell's "Animal Farm" unfold in realtime is really something) pic.twitter.com/DJr39sRxE8
— Minitrue⁺ (@banthebbc) September 28, 2020
"All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."
-George Orwell, Animal Farm pic.twitter.com/M1wQGZcTkj
— Tasha Matthewman (@TashaMatthewman) September 28, 2020
“… Squealer, with very round cheeks, twinkling eyes, nimble movements, and a shrill voice. He was a brilliant talker, and when he was arguing some difficult point he had a way of skipping from side to side and whisking his tail which was somehow very persuasive.” Animal Farm pic.twitter.com/3AQuvhX1hY
— Hughesy (@Hughesy53) September 28, 2020
Others disagree with the Animal Farm reference. I haven’t read it so I’m not in a position to comment.
But I do hope that the authorities at the Parliamentary bars keep us appraised of how their brave effort to keep our democracy in alcohol goes.
They will of course be keeping details of everybody who enters, in case Covid-19 breaks out in one, several, or all of these bars.
I expect regular updates. If they show no infections, we’ll know that it is safe to open all the rest of the UK’s pubs for normal hours again. Won’t we?