Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Killing the thing you love

Some trenchant words here from Simon Cooke about CAMRA’s blinkered and self-deluding response to the neo-Prohibitionist agenda:

CAMRA along with the idiots at Greene King and the nutters at Diageo have fallen hook, line and sinker for the nannying fussbuckets' agenda. Introduce a minimum price per unit for alcohol (just 40p say the bearded ale-suppers) and it will all be fine! Except it won't.

That 40p will soon be 50p. Then 60p and in no time £1. And the prohibitionists, nannying fussbuckets and adherents to the Church of Public Health will still scream about the terrible damage alcohol is wreaking on society.

So we'll get advertising restrictions and advertising bans. We'll get licensing restrictions and regulatory controls. High alcohol content beers will be banned. Warning labels will be placed on alcohol products - getting more and more extreme with each new iteration.

Soon universities and colleges will close their bars. Some will ban alcohol on campus. Only teetotallers will be recruited by the NHS and having alcohol in their private cars will lead to some workers being sacked.

And still the prohibitionists will scream about the evils of drink. We'll still get haggard doctors frowningly explaining how even one sip of booze could lead to alcoholism, liver disease and cancer.

This is not what CAMRA want - this is an organisation supposed to be an advocate for a healthy, mature and quality approach to boozing. Yet they are lining up with the ghastly people whose aim is to "denormalise" drinking, to make it something that normal people don't do - to kill the very thing that CAMRA campaign for.
It sometimes seems to me that CAMRA has slowly but surely metamorphosed into the thing it was originally set up to oppose, the “very fat man who waters the workers’ beer”, just as the pigs in Animal Farm eventually started walking on two legs and behaving just like the oppressor class that the animal revolution had overthrown.


  1. I'd be interested in the results if CAMRA sent one of it's survey to all their email savvy members asking for their opinion on this.

  2. PS. I'd vote against it. It's got bad news written all over it.

  3. Me too, though this exaggerates to make its point.

    The thin end of the wedge exists

  4. Yes, like many blog posts, it is a bit hyperbolic, but there is a fundamental truth that the leadership of CAMRA are playing a very dangerous game. As I said here, 'One day, though, something will happen to make them wake up and think “oh shit, this really does mean us!”' By which time it will be too late.

    I don't detect much enthusiasm for this particular line of argument at the grassroots, though.

  5. Thanks for the link - and for correcting the horrendous spelling error in the original!

  6. As a CAMRA member, I disagree strongly with the campaign's support for a minimum price. As I've said on my own blog, once the principle is established, the level at which it is fixed is just a detail - just a sentence in the Budget, lost among all the other announcements.

    CAMRA's support is not hard to understand: they want to be seen as a responsible organisation, plus they are calculating that 50p per unit (the most touted rate) won't affect the price in the pub. That is of course correct, until the rate is increased, perhaps on an escalator like beer tax.

    Once the principle has been conceded - as it has - all that is left is opposing the rate at which it is set. Opposing the rates of beer tax shows how successful such campaigns are.

  7. If you ask me, it was all over after the 1552 Licensing act.

  8. CAMRA is a well meaning organisation with decent people that wish to promote a beery tradition that doubtless would disappear if it were not campaigned for.

    They do appear a bunch of lefties, though, with little idea of unintended consequence.

    The point about a minimum price accelerator is true (it exists for all other sin taxes)

    You'd think the tax alterations for 7.5% grog would have some beards waking up a bit. A tax cut in 2.8% pisswater that no one wants is nothing to be excited about.

  9. Hi there PC.....,
    you've seen this appeal for Chris Carter in Ireland who is due to hand himself into the police for imprisonment on Saturday morning? we've reached £767.30p but need another monkey (£500) asap. All details are over at all assistance very much appreciated. Any chance of posting for us please kiddo?

    Phil J

  10. In the February issue of What's Brewing, there's an article by Rhys Jones, who is someone I've known for twenty-five years and who, while I don't always agree with him, is someone whose opinions I always respect.

    He says: "There's a saying that, given time, all organisations end up as if they were run by a conspiracy of their foes."

    That certainly seems to apply to CAMRA in respect of its pathetic appeasement of the anti-drink lobby.

  11. There is a similar campaign being run here in Ireland by the Health Minister Rósín Shorten. Here as elsewhere, younsters drink too much and the blame is on so called cheap booze. The remedy, increase the price of booze and penalise everyone. Will the kids stop drinking, I doubt it. Will pubs suffer as the less young drinker stays at home, undoubtedly.

    Childhood obesity is/was the new devil. Why not a minimum price on junk food?

  12. CAMRA really got going in St Albans, and is still based here. Most of the people who started the organisation were members of the Socialist Workers' Party. Need I say more?


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