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Why we all love Wetherspoons

The backlash to Tim Martin’s knighthood has exposed the snobbery of the cultural elite.

Fraser Myers

Fraser Myers
Deputy editor

Topics Brexit Politics UK

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Is it finally time to scrap Britain’s honours system? According to the #FBPE set (those middle-class pseuds who convulse with rage at the thought of St George’s Day or full English breakfasts), one of the names on this year’s new year’s honours list has brought the whole system of royal gongs and baubles into irreparable disrepute.

Some of us might have thought that the titles bestowed on Sir Tony Blair (awarded in 2022), Sir Jimmy Savile (1990) or Sir Oswald Mosley (inherited from his father) had already done enough to sully the reputation of the honours list. Honorary knighthoods have even been awarded to Robert Mugabe, Nicolai Ceaușescu and Benito Mussolini.

Yet for very-online Remainers, the real disgrace is the upcoming knighthood not of some warmonger, fascist or paedophile, but of Tim Martin, the founder of beloved pub chain Wetherspoons and an outspoken Brexiteer. Martin, who established the first Wetherspoons in 1979 and now runs a chain of over 800 Wetherspoons pubs, is to be honoured for ‘services to hospitality’. The horror!

Apparently, both his pubs and his politics are equally deserving of contempt. For terminal bore Otto English, Martin is a ‘Brexit wrecker honoured for his services to the chaos’, thanks to his donations to Vote Leave, Labour Leave, the Tories and the Reform Party. Meanwhile, Madeleina Kay (formerly known as EU Supergirl) protests that Martin has been honoured for his ‘services to alcoholism’.

There is, of course, only one reason why the #FBPE cultists hate Tim Martin and Wetherspoons so much – snobbery. The condescension drips from every Spoons-bashing tweet. All across X, Martin has been condemned for his supposedly ‘ghastly’ pubs, their ‘ghastly’ food and, naturally, the ‘ghastly’ clientele – many of whom, like the Spoons founder himself, also voted for Brexit.

Of course, anyone who is not blinded by class prejudice can see why Wetherspoons is so successful – and why Tim Martin deserves his gong. At a time of a grave cost-of-living crisis, the cheap price of a Wetherspoons pint is nothing to sniff at. Martin’s pubs have become one of the few holdouts against rampant inflation. In what other pub in 2024 could you pay for a round with a tenner and still expect some change back – even in London? As a recent letter to the Guardian notes, the price of a cup of tea in Wetherspoons has gone up in the past year or so, but only by a measly 2p, from £1 to £1.02.

It’s these low prices that have allowed many local Wetherspoons pubs to become genuine communal hubs – just like the average pub used to be before the arrival of the smoking ban and the rise of the posh gastropub. Today, Wetherspoons pubs are some of the only places you’ll encounter a genuine cross section of British society. This is precisely the ‘diversity’ that liberals claim to love.

And then there are the buildings. Many of the best Wetherspoons pubs are housed in stunning older buildings – from former banks to opera houses to railway hotels. Thanks to Wetherspoons, places that might have fallen into disrepair – or would have been converted into plush hotels for visiting oligarchs – have instead been made accessible to the common man.

For all this, Tim Martin is clearly far more deserving of his knighthood than the usual roster of party donors, senior civil servants and other establishment cronies who tend to blight every honours list. His pubs have certainly made a far greater contribution to national life than, say, Aviva CEO Amanda Blanc, who is to be honoured for her ‘services to Net Zero’, whatever that means. The anger at his honour merely confirms that the #FBPE cult is as snobbish and intolerant as ever.

The rest of us should raise a cheap Wetherspoons pint to Sir Tim Martin – a true hero of modern Britain.

Fraser Myers is deputy editor at spiked and host of the spiked podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @FraserMyers.

Picture by: YouTube.

To enquire about republishing spiked’s content, a right to reply or to request a correction, please contact the managing editor, Viv Regan.

Topics Brexit Politics UK

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