Beer Blog

Has the Dust Settled Yet? CAMRA Revitalisation a week on.

I thought long and hard before writing about the Revitalisation shennanigans.

I probably wasn’t going to write anything until I saw a reply to my comment on another blog post from Pubcurmudgeon, saying he might need his tin hat on a Pub Forum day out next week?

You won’t mate, but we might have a bit of a laugh about it all, because what else can you do? And that’s what I’ve been doing all week, just watching what’s going on.

Some people really must get a life you know. I mean it’s not a matter of life and death is it? Not for me anyway, I can’t even be that bothered to delve right into the nuts and bolts neither, I just see things the way I see it.

What does the fall out from the Revitalisation thingy mean to me, then?

Firstly, I didn’t expect much to change. Could one ever expect a large 3rd sector organisation to change overnight? Well, the answer to that one is all about trying to turn an oil tanker around.

Secondly, has anything changed? I think it has actually, just a little bit, in so far as there are now new Articles of Association in place and the door is slightly ajar, in terms of further change.

And what about all those who’ve resigned? I wonder, apart from the high profile instantaneous ones, how many there actually are? Can’t be many, there were only a small part of the membership actually voted.

That sort of leads me into the National Executive vote. I quite liked the sound of Bradley Cummings, I didn’t vote for him though. I’m well versed in change management across a large organisation and how best to implement it across teams and amongst individuals. My view was that Bradley would have been too much, too soon. Maintain your profile, remember to keep talking sense, and come back in a few years lad.

I haven’t shown any of my cards yet? But mentioning the National Executive forces me to do so. I’m sure Lyn Atack is a very nice lady, but having heard her speak publicly on two separate occasions regarding these issues, I have to say she is the very antithesis of my position. Diverse and inclusive as I try to be, she won’t be getting asked round to ours for a can or two of Northern Monk Heathen and a night of vinyl because she’s only got one record and it’s one of those 33rpm, 2 minutes and 30 seconds playtime jobs.

So where do I stand then? Not on a Boycott CAMRA ticket (did you see that one), that’s for sure. I like being a member of CAMRA, well Leeds CAMRA actually. I like the people who are involved, bearing in mind that’s about three dozen (out of roughly 2,800 branch members). I like the diversity of age, gender and outlook. I like it that we are open minded and progressive and that individuals can agree to disagree. I like editing and writing for the branch magazine (New Full Measure). I like helping with the beer festival (7th to 9th June and back in the City Centre). I don’t much care for the Regional and National part of it and I know the town hall politics and rigmarole would bore me rigid.

That leads me to ask, ‘Is CAMRA relevant for me?’. Something which other commentators have declared it not to be? Well, the answer for me is. ‘Probably not so much at National level, No it isn’t. But it is at Branch level’, and I include other branches here as I have volunteered and attended beer festivals in other areas where I have been warmly received.

I’ve wondered whether what CAMRA stands for nationally is actually still viable? Yes, there are some very positive aspects. But, we decided not to stand for all pub goers. Yet we continue to campaign vehemently on National issues that will impact on ALL and EVERY pub goer. How can we selectively implement these policies without benefit to all, or are we to have ‘CAMRA suitable pubs’ and ‘Pubs suitable for all pub goers (No CAMRA members)’ in the future?

I could go on, but I’m not going to. So, it’s business as usual for me.

I’ll continue to love good real ale, which includes cask ale, particularly when it’s from the wood, and I will cock a snook at the many brands of real ale that ‘I’ consider are crap and the good ones that poor cellar skills have turned into crap.

I’ll continue to embrace modern progressive styles of beer, whatever container it comes in. I’ll continue to drink lager, and cider and wine and have a drop of the hard stuff whilst reading a book by the fire on a cold winters night.

I’ll continue to go to the pubs and bars that ‘I’ like and stay out of others, but wherever I go I’ll still talk to other ‘pub goers’ whatever they are drinking.

And I’ll continue to perform several CAMRA Branch committee functions in the way I see fit, until such time as CAMRA HQ and the NE advise me not to.

They won’t.

Categories: Beer Blog, CAMRA, Point of View

9 replies »

  1. Wise words Richard.

    I must confess that the voting and results of The CAMRA Revitalisation Project has been fascinating to read about. It all reminds me of my youth in 1976 and 1977 when another new wave Revitalisation took place. I confess I was gutted when The Tiny CAMRA Rebel came in fifth, but it’s importmant we see that the other 23 year old New Wave Artisan Craft Beer Lover did make the exclusive top four. As for Doncaster Lynn’s Atack on the new wave, all I’ll say is her approach is more likely to bring about the fall of her beloved CAMRA than save it. For me it’s quite simple CAMRA can try and hold back the waves and sink like a King, or surf the new wave, embrace what’s happening in the majority of Britain’s Cities and live to campaign again. Richards right about how long this will take. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Dynamo or Dinosaur. For this old Punk, it’s a very East choice. Love Beer. Let taste decide.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think her words, the first time I heard her speak, were, ‘if this gets voted in then my branch will leave en-masse and go to another organisation!’ That’ll be SPBW then (of which I am a member). Only thing is I don’t think SPBW want her neither.

      Thinking about it, she probably didn’t say ‘en-masse’ they don’t use term of phrase like that in Donny, do they?


      • One of the good things that’s come out of these twin votes is at least it’s now more out in the open. Two Champions of the extremes with battle lines drawn.

        Let the games begin.

        Let Quality Beer be the victor.

        Love Beer. 💛🍻

        Liked by 2 people

  2. CAMRA has always supported the interests of all beer drinkers through campaigns such as beer duty, strength labelling and full measures. It has always supported the interests of all pubgeors through campaigns such as planning reform and business rates. This happened before; it isn’t going to stop happening.

    And this stuff about “‘CAMRA suitable pubs’ and ‘Pubs suitable for all pub goers (No CAMRA members)’” comes across as hyperbolic nonsense.


  3. Richard,
    You can’t even be that bothered to delve right into the nuts and bolts of the Revitalisation shenanigans but I’m not sure if anyone else has bothered to properly do that,
    You didn’t expect much to change and in terms of further change I’m not sure if anyone else has much of an idea what might happen, certainly not in terms of numbers of bright new hipster drinkers rushing to help out at our beer festivals and on branch committees.
    It has taken three years for the intended changes, or most of them, to be approved and my main criticisms have been that it’s all about the future of CAMRA rather than the future of Real Ale and that “the democratic credentials of the whole exercise were very suspect” or, more bluntly, “the whole thing was reminiscent of a Soviet Bloc election”.
    Oddest to me is that “we decided not to stand for all pub goers” which is something we have most definitely been doing for 42 years.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Interesting to read the page in Donny Drinker leading CAMRA members in how to vote in the recent Revitalisation Project.

    I’ll send it over to you.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.