Bar Man, by Jeff Hoyle, March 10, 2017

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There’s a new girl in town and we had arranged to meet her at the London Porterhouse.

As we arrived, the Bar Wife received a text that she could not make the rendezvous, but nothing was lost as it was the evening of the fortnightly quiz, and we like a quiz.

As it happened we did quite well, beating off the opposition and using our knowledge of famous paintings to win a free pint of the excellent Wherry bitter. The locals were friendly, and a good night was had by all, but how long can events like this continue in our ‘post-fact world’?

I was reading online a copy of a rival local newspaper recently and came across a reference to the Spanish Armada which, according to the author, tried to invade England in 1558. Being pretty sure the date was incorrect, I did something which I very rarely do, which is to leave a comment at the bottom of the page correcting the date.

Shortly afterwards I received the following email from the newspaper: ‘A web comment you posted has been rejected by a site moderator. Article Name: Has the British monarchy always been loved and admired? The evidence would appear to say no. Comment: I think that you will find that the defeat of the Spanish armada happened 1588, not 1558.Complaint Reason: - other.’ Puzzled as to why they would reject a factual correction I contacted the editor. She apologised and said that she had no record of the comment. When I sent further details, she suggested that it was filtered automatically.

It seems that my method of checking facts is not only outdated, but positively frowned upon and the way to go is to present things as gospel on the flimsiest of evidence and then to dismiss attempts to correct basic information. It’s going to make setting pub quizzes a bit difficult in the future though I suppose you could accept any answers as correct and award everyone a prize as happens in all school sports events since political correctness was invented by the communist feminist liberal elite luvvie snowflakes.

On the other hand, writing columns will be a bit quicker if I don’t have to spend so long verifying facts. So what about the great Badger Cull conspiracy? Secret EU laws insist that products have to contain what is on the label, so Badger bitter has now got to contain real badgers. Obviously, there would be an outcry if the public ever found out, so a cover story had to be invented. Under cover of darkness, marksmen are out and about shooting badgers, but the story is that this is to prevent the spread of bovine TB. In reality, it is to gather the ingredients for the best-selling and very tasty beer brewed down in the south west. Most people are taken in by this ruse, even though a cursory glance at the figures will reveal that this is a spectacularly ineffective way of preventing cattle disease.

Why is fox hunting still allowed? The knowing will tap the side of their nose and point to the bottles of Fox bitter on the shelves. As for the beer brewed by Wychwood, named after a part of a dog’s anatomy, perhaps it’s better not to go there. As is now the standard amongst some parts of the media, any comments on this article will, for one issue only, be met with blank indifference or at best animated bluster about fake news and lies, and rejected by the moderator, aka me.