It was a brilliant week. Many of you will, I hope, have heard my contribution as wine and drink correspondent to this particular station and also the thoughts of many other people from the drinks industry, publicans and brewers, and those who try to regulate the trade. The programmes treated the situation fairly and squarely by raising not only the problems but also the many wonderful things about going down the pub and the importance of the pub as being the last social centre to many communities.

They made the Black Horse Melbourn their base and the antipodean landlord and his wife spoke throughout the week about every aspect of the pub trade. Richard Naseby from the Milton Brewery was also featured and it was refreshing to hear that he is taking over the Devonshire Arms Cambridge, so another real ale outlet opens.

A couple of weeks before this I had the honour of pulling the first pint at the newly re-opened Three Horseshoes Harston. Whilst it is bleak that seven pubs a week are closing, it is good to see that there are individuals out there trying to reverse the situation. Things are tense especially with a couple of pub companies reportedly on the verge of collapse. If this does happen there will be many more pubs closing. The only good thing that may result is that enterprising landlords will take over the scraps and many more free of tie houses will be there for us, the thirsty punter.

It is now time, in general election year, for us to rally and tell the prospective political parties that we will not stand back and allow our heritage to go down the pan. Whoever gets in must make pubs and fair prices a priority, by reducing business rates and duty on alcohol. Their priority must be to help out our struggling licensed trade.

There are worrying signs that in Scotland they are planning to raise the duty on drink, thus punishing the social drinker. This will not stop the problems of alcoholism and binge drinking; all it will do is push up crime because many people with a drink problem will do anything to get their hands on the stuff. We must resist this strongly. Any party that suggests this ridiculous action happening in England will not get my vote, and I hope we will all stand up against it.

We must be stronger and more militant or our traditions will be lost forever.

Jerry Brown