Fifty years ago, publicans seemed to have a vocal and powerful union on their side — where has it gone?
Reading old editions of the Morning Advertiser from the 1960s and 70s, we were fascinated by the National Union of Licensed Victuallers, which combined belligerent battling for its members with a cycle of lavish banquets.
But in recent debates about the future of pubs, pub companies and ‘the tie’, publicans have been represented by their own campaign groups, and to some extent by CAMRA and sympathetic MPs — not, as far as we have noticed, by what is now known as the FLVA.
Can anyone explain the politics behind the apparent withering away of their influence? Or point us to a book or article which might explain?
We note that the FLVA’s evidence to the Government’s committee argued in favour of retaining the tie, which presumably put them at odds with many of the publicans they might be expected to represent.
We also wondered whether subscriptions to the NLVA might historically have been subsidised by the Big Six breweries.
Or maybe unions (and banquets) just went out of fashion?
Note: we haven’t done serious research on this so really have no idea if there were multiple national organisations, how they related to each other, or what that the family tree looks like.