Wednesday, April 05, 2017

The Status Quo Stands as CAMRA's silence in effect backs a wrongun while blocking all pub sector reform ...

Greg Mulholland caused a stir when he published his open letter to CAMRA members on the first day of CAMRA's 2017 AGM since when internal CAMRA memos have threatened a lawsuit - this response is a measure of their upset and simply indicates how remote, haughty and up their own arses CAMRA HQ are since everything Mulholland said is BANG ON THE MONEY and CAMRA is guilty as charged.

I've worked on campaigns with CAMRA HQ since 2007 when I co founded the Fair Pint Campaign with Steve Corbett , Nicky Francey, Dave Law, Simon Clarke Brian Jacobs, David Morgan and a handful of others - I've literally sat at the table when CAMRA HQ has backed out of the battle to save pubs from pubco asset stripping ... in some disbelief we've all been WAY too polite to CAMRA HQ in private and WAY too quiet in public because we hoped we could win them round ... this happened BEFORE Tim Page was appointed but SINCE he was briefed for the job of CEO they've simply edged further away from the URGENT ISSUE of the end of pubs and distanced themselves from people who are vociferous about #GreatBritishPubcoScam

The 'revitalisation project' is part of the evidence. There was no need for it anyway - where CAMRA should be going is bleeding obvious - what is fine delicious idiosyncratic ale without fine delicious idiosyncratic pubs to drink it in while sharing it with friends or family? CAMRA saved ALE now it should be saving the natural home of ale - the Public House. What happened to 'revitalisation'? It ground to a halt. Why? Internal wrangling and stubborn refusal by some part of the edifice to take a stand against private equity ransacking British culture... What a load of nonsense. What better reminder of the meddling in the background could there be than this?

My take on the situation has been this - as below - for years. I've been discouraged by close friends from saying any of it in public... in case CAMRA responded badly.

The Campaign for Real Ale has a serious problem... CAMRA's refusal to take a stand on pubco reform is damaging communities and the fabric of social well-being of every part of Britain - nowhere, no community anywhere, is free of the blight of the pubco hegemony that has been asset stripping Britain's genuinely unique social and cultural heritage, timeless traditions and our very Sense of Place by running down and rendering OUR Public Houses to alternative use on industrial scale for the last 25 years. No person in Britain is unaffected by the loss of local amenities and services supplied by well run Pubs, the secular meeting places that were the core, the foundations of humanity's original social network...

When it comes to pubs and beer CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, is the ONLY 'independent' body in the UK with enough clout to make any impact on the status quo in the British Pub sector. Newspapers, television and government all listen to CAMRA yet since 2014 CAMRA HQ has been silent on the fate of pubs in the hands of tied pubcos.

CAMRA HQ's refusal to be drawn into stating a position on pubco reform and most recently the appointment of a totally compromised Pubs Code Adjudicator is tantamount to support for a Tied Pubco Hegemony that has been asset stripping Britain of OUR pubs on an industrial scale. CAMRA's position is fundamentally deleterious to the health of the British pub sector. Thousands of communities have been damaged permanently by their local pub closing forever. Time, history, will prove that the true costs of pub closures to the UK's fundamental social fabric are so costly as to be incalculable in conventional financial terms.

Until November 2014 CAMRA was a key member of the Fair Deal For Your Local campaign coalition that was instrumental to bringing the Pubs Code into law. Then, while celebrating backslapping themselves 'our job is done' while another two years' government imposed 'consultation' on the Code lay ahead CAMRA dropped pubco reform like a hot potato - we do not know why - it was just as if CAMRA were a carpenter who'd been hanging a door and left it with only one hinge in place.

Since 2014 CAMRA's absence of a position on pubco reform has in effect endorsed pubco's continued asset stripping of British pubs everywhere and with the appointment of a director of Fleurets the pubco's estate agent of choice - Paul Newby - as Pubs Code Adjudicator CAMRA's silence has pretty much rubber stamped the hiring of a very serious 'wrongun' to police abuse of the tied pub sector.

CAMRA's negligence in the matter is quite frankly unbelievable. All over Britain at Regional and Local level hundreds of well informed CAMRA members, particularly local Pub Protection Officers, while remaining loyal to CAMRA's founding ethos, are dismayed, disappointed and distressed by what they regard unequivocally to be HQ's negligence towards pubs' protection. Internally they are highly critical of CAMRA HQ's refusal to get down and dirty where they need to be on attacking pubco's shockingly delinquent behaviour toward OUR national pub stock, and the thousands of tenants whose lives they ruin while extracting all the profit from the supply chain which they use to pay interest on the gargantuan loans the pubcos raised to buy 'their' (OUR) pubs in the first place...

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