The recent CAMRA National Conference decided to set up a Task Group with the remit to “research and build extensive evidence on the importance of community pubs and real ale to the promotion of responsible drinking with the underlying principle of reinforcing the rights of adults to enjoy alcohol responsibly” (my bold). This is potentially one of the most important developments in the history of the Campaign. I have argued in the past that CAMRA has dragged its feet on this issue, seeing the big brewers as the main enemy and indeed occasionally even misguidedly making common cause with anti-drink campaigners in fighting them. However, it has become increasingly clear that the major enemies of pubs and drinkers are now the government and neo-prohibitionist lobby groups.
There is a pressing need for a body not associated with the alcohol industry to stand up for the rights of people to drink alcohol responsibly, and to counter the exaggerated health scares that have been bandied about. Hopefully in the coming years this will become a major plank of CAMRA’s campaigning and take priority over all this irrelevant left-wing nonsense about public transport and beer miles.