Tuesday, 20 April 2010

CAMRA AGM

It was rather pleasant to go to Liverpool for the ferry rather than Manchester Airport for a flight and it set both me and E wondering why we hadn't gone by boat in the first place. " Time" we recalled, time, but given the mill pond nature of the trip, the speed, the CAMRA company and things like that, it was a good option. The Mannannan is a former US Navy Fast Response Ship and it flies. 28,000 hp from four massive water jet engines propelled us over the Irish Sea in just under two and a half hours.

Douglas was looking spruce and continental with its palm trees and lots of people made it despite the volcanic ash - approx 500, though I understand around 200 didn't. There was good beer to be had and even though prices were London like, it was fun. We injected a few bob into the Manx economy of course. The Villa Marina, the venue, has been refurbished and was wonderful as a location. The quality of the debate was high, with some good speakers. I had the chance to speak a few times too.

The atmosphere was friendly and constructive.

So what was passed? Motion 5 which I drew up and seconded, calling for a "fit for purpose review" of CAMRA was passed overwhelmingly, though with the word "independent" being replaced by "objective." We'll watch out for how this is intended to be progressed. There was a distinct mood of dissatisfaction about some of the issues pervading the hall and the National Executive got a few kickings, particularly over the dumbing down of What's Brewing, our newspaper, but more generally over communication. Mike Benner the CEO gave a very capable speech in which he outlined the many successes, but the feeling was these were not widely enough known or understood by either membership or trade. I believe that this was acknowledged as an issue (certainly by Mike Benner to whom I spoke at length afterwards) and I'll be pressing for action on this, hence my withdrawing motion 13.

So a successful and enjoyable weekend with beers of the trip being Bushy's Bitter, Dr. Okell's IPA and Holdens Golden Glow. Pub of the trip was Bushy's Rover's Return.

16 comments:

Ed said...

Interesting stuff. I look forward to seeing the review.

Curmudgeon said...

Obviously I haven't been party to your discussions with Mike Benner, but it's a pity your motion ended up being withdrawn, as even if it had been defeated it would have been useful to air the issue in public. Very pleasing that the motion about the dumbing-down of What's Brewing was passed.

The Rover's Return was where I encountered this culinary delight – although I appreciate that if you're not eating it is quite a characterful pub.

ZakAvery said...

Motion 5 is very interesting - even if nothing changes, it's always good to take stock.

Tandleman said...

Mudgie. I thought long and hard about that but was convinced I'd be defeated and by private assurances that communication would be stepped up. I thought that the EC had got the message that more had to be done. This was reflected in what Ken Howie, Colin Valentine and Mike Benner said to conference.

It was in the spirit of "better sinners repenting" and all that.But we'll be watching. Oh and passing motion 5 helps.

Zak. I think things will be changing.

Tyson said...

Personally I think you've been sandbagged. Motion 13 was the one that would have really sent a message. It's the one most people were watching out for. Motion 5 is non-contentious and it's significant that "independent" has been replaced with "objective". Still, the NE are skillful in AGM managment and not much gets past them.

Glad you enjoyed the beer, though.

RedNev said...

I'd like to have gone, but when you're a rock & roll star ...

Tandleman said...

Tyson. I thought long and hard about it. I doubt if we'd have gained much.but motion 5 covers a lot of sins and people were saying to me that they felt motion 5 covered it in many ways.

It would have made little difference in the end. While the NE might still be in the clouds at times, Mike Benner isn't. Expect to see a beefed up Campaigner as well as WB.

Cooking Lager said...

All that pongy ale, for sure sets you up to pass "motions".

Paul Garrard said...

Glad to see that you made it there. Let's hope there are improvements in communication!

Paul Bailey said...

Sorry I missed you, yet again Tandleman. I looked out for you in the beer-ex, but it wasn't until I got back and read your post earlier today, that I realised it was your good self that was seconding Motion 5. (I obviously wasn't paying enough attention!)

I thoroughly enjoyed, what was my first National AGM in 25 years. I also enjoyed my first visit to the Isle of Man, and will definitely be returning at some stage in the future.

Like yourself, I travelled over via Mannannan, and was very impressed with the ride. Will be posting something on my own blog, before long, but the highlight for myself and the party from Wesr and Mid-Kent, was our Gateway to Kent Guide winning the local pub guide award!

Curmudgeon said...

CAMRA will never effectively combat the neoPros unless it accepts that those sections of the drinks industry not promoting cask beer or drinking in "community pubs" are not the enemy, and indeed are maybe people they need to be making common cause with.

Tandleman said...

Not sure I follow that Mudgie. You mean make common cause with the supermarkets and the binge drinkers?

If you do, that's a rocky road.

Curmudgeon said...

The anti-drink lobby don't distinguish between beer, wine and spirits, or between drinking at home and in the pub – they just want to discourage people from drinking, full stop. If CAMRA try to say to them "leave us alone, we're the nice responsible part of the drinks trade", they'll laugh in their face. The anti-drink lobby can only be effectively countered by defending the responsible consumption of alcoholic drinks in all circumstances.

Jeffrey said...

Sorry, bit reading those motions reminds me a bit of the one OUSU meeting I attended . . .

A little less use of the immoderate words "condemns" in motions might make the wording sound less harsh.

Tandleman said...

Just the way these things have to be termed.

Erlangernick said...

Rather quiet 'round here.