Thursday, February 02, 2012

They'll be banning Bloody Mary next

It baffles me how some people go in search of things to be upset about. You would have thought that there are plenty of genuine inequalities in the world that Kate Green, shadow equality minister, could choose to bring up with the Government, but today she used parliamentary time to lobby for the removal of a beer from the Strangers Bar in the Commons.

A bar, incidentally, into which she says she has not set foot in almost two years as an MP, but which sells beer at a taxpayer-subsidised £2.70 a pint. Those of us who have to pay getting on for £4 elsewhere in London might suggest that there are other forms of inequality she should be worried about.

The beer, one of those guest ales that pubs buy in from time to time, was called Top Totty - which is surely better than Middle-Ranking Totty, as Tracey Crouch, a Tory MP, tweeted - and offended Ms Green not just for its name but because the label on the pump features the image of a cartoon bunny girl and has such advertising phrases as "stunningly seductive" and "voluptuous hop aroma". So she got it banned, for that is what Labour MPs exist to do.

It's not witty or even that classy - isn't that the point of guest ales? - but it was apparently a good beer and other MPs, including women, liked to drink it. Top Totty was first stocked in 2007 and sold out in three days, which is surely good news for the small brewer that makes it. Not any more.

What next? Should all copies of The Sun be banned from the parliamentary estate because of page 3? Or how about taking on other offensive drinks? Spitfire tastelessly glorifies conflict; London Pride neglects other parts of the country and as for Bishops Finger...

Nor should we stop at beers. Cocktails are definitely offensive (if we must use a filthy body part then give it the unisex renaming of Genitails) and surely it is time to ban the Bloody Mary out of respect for Catholics.

Incidentally, when I worked in Parliament more than ten years ago, the Strangers Bar used to make the best Bloody Mary in London. "You want it cooked?" asked the barman. Cooked meant it came with extra Tabasco, lime and Lea and Perrins. Curry in a glass.

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