Didcot Labour & Gay Hussar

I’m way late on this one but noticed it while passing on a train the other month that Didcot Labour club has closed down (http://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/news/9667178.Labour_Club_sells_site_for_development/) the reasons are predictable. “It will be a sad day to see the club go because it has been part of so many lives – I had my wedding reception here. But it has been hard to get people through the door in the recession when supermarkets are selling cheap alcohol.” How many times do people have to point out that the Government should be levying much more tax on mass produced cheap alcohol at supermarkets and offies and stop punishing small local breweries and putting traditional pubs and clubs out of business by hammering them with a huge tax burden? Supermarkets make obscene profits out of the misery of those boozing too much meanwhile we lose our community institutions and society continues to become all the more atomised and selfishly individualistic. Neo-liberal economic Right-wing dogma dictates that doing something about this is sacrilegious ‘price-fixing’ and cannot abide to even think of the moral and social considerations in the economy whatsoever. It’s shameful and has to change.

The Gay Hussar in Soho long standing haunt of left wing politicians, journalists and so on similarly faces closure this time due to the owners putting it up for sale without consultation or warning. It will be auctioned off. (http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2013/oct/25/gay-hussar-soho-restaurant-for-sale). I have some personal insight to offer here. A photo of my grandfather Patrick (on my mum’s side whom I never met) who was Chairman of the old Liberal party (1949-1963) hangs above the stairs in the restaurant next to that of Clement Attlee. As such my family has been keen to get the picture should the establishment fold. The staff have kindly offered to give it free of charge to us but they are quietly confident that enough old regulars and wealthy sympathsiers will pull their fingers out and the restaurant will be saved. I’m similarly optimistic though have signed a petition linked below if only to delay and give time for old lefties to put their money on the table. (http://www.change.org/petitions/prospective-new-owners-of-the-gay-hussar-in-greek-street-save-the-gay-hussar). Besides it is a great place, traditional decor, good food and atmosphere. It’s got a great history and even those who don’t consider themselves on the left must see that it is generally a great little British institution (serving only delicious Hungarian grub) that is worth saving. I’m told even the Iron Lady used to pop in from time to time.

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