When the government suggested implementing a smoking ban that would include pubs they were warned that this would have disastrous consequences for the great British pub - and so it has.
Pubs are now closing nine times faster than in 2006 and 18 times faster than in 2005, the figures, compiled by market researcher CGA Strategy, show. A total of 1,409 pubs closed during 2007.
These are not the town centre drinking warehouses which are closing - flashy, noisy, soulless places full of flashy, noisy, soulless people drinking themselves into a stupor as quickly as possible. The ones that are closing are the pubs which were, once, the social centres of communities and neighbourhoods - the village pub and the pub on the corner. Places where it was once possible to meet your neighbours - not necessarily the ones next door - and have civilised discussions over a Sunday lunchtime pint of ale and a cigar.
I'm sure many people will not be bothered by the loss of the great British pub, but I am. They are a vital part of British culture and heritage the loss of which will be sorely missed as a civilising influence and social gathering place. Their demise will only speed up the break down of communities and lead to an ever more fractured society.