Tuesday 10 February 2015

The Road to Irrelevance is Paved With Insularity

"Well take your money, but come back when you're 55"
So, the much anticipated furore about the future of CAMRA has finally broken out, prompted by an article in their monthly publication "What's Brewing" from a long-term activist bemoaning the fact that his branch is made up of nothing but codgers. (It even almost says that a beer doesn't have to be cask conditioned to be good, but you could almost hear him tiptoeing around the dreaded "K" word).  Meanwhile, Paul Bailey has admitted his local branch is moribund and, basically, will die a death in the near future.

I fear there is little to be done about this.  CAMRA has a reputation of that similar to SAGA - a worthy and useful organisation, but not something a young person would want tobe involved in.  It's true a lot of branches are insular - case in point being, as ever, my local Central Lancs branch.

I've not seen any of the Active Members from the organisation for quite a while.  I think the last was at The Moorbrook during the summer.  Several of them came into the bar, ordered a pint each, then went into one of the rooms and shut the door.  So much for openness and inclusivity.

They tend to hold their Branch meetings and committee meetings at strange places and at odd times.  If they want new blood, then perhaps organising events at out-of-the-way pubs in places like Chorley, Leyland or Bamber Bridge on Monday evenings is not the way to go about it.  I suspect they don't want new blood, and prefer it to be the private drinkers club exclusively for those who've been active CAMRA members for 35 years.

Maybe I could, as I have often imagined doing, crashing the Central Lancs Committee Meeting one day at somewhere like, say Ye Horns at Goosnargh, and waving a pint of the coldest, fizziest and most Evil Keg I could get my hands on, and say to them "By God, this Imperial IPA's good!".  Then I would produce my membership card, thus entitling me to a vote on all the issues.  It wouldn't get me anywhere, but would be funny nonetheless.

In fact, they said on the website in August that they would be contacting all members in the branch (I think it's nearly 1000 now) by email and asking them what could be done to make them more involved.  I have yet to receive anything after 6 months.  Maybe they read this, or this, or this, or maybe even this.  Yes, come to think of it, that probably explains a lot.

If CAMRA wants to be a Private Members club, only welcome to the longstanding and ideologically acceptable then fair enough. There's room for all kind of organisations in the world.  But I can't see it progressing or even continuing as a locally active organisation.


  1. Once again you seem to be tarring the whole organisation with your own rather unfortunate experiences.

  2. Why not pop over for one of Clarkey's beard club jaunts and see the pinnacle of beard club?