Monday, 18 April 2011

The Camra AGM

Nice place Sheffield, but somewhat hilly. Lots of good pubs and beer and a great tram system taking you to the door of many of said pubs.  Trams are the biz.  There's also a chance to meet old friends and drink a few beers too and to listen to the great and good of CAMRA speak on what many regarded as a somewhat boring agenda.  Somehow this turned into a close run thing with tellers called a few times as votes were so close, though not you'll be glad to know, on the two nuttier resolutions mentioned by Jeff Pickthall in his blog.  These were unequivocally thrown out.

The Strategy Review document which I was involved in, was expertly presented by our committee Chairman, ex MP John Grogan and seemed to meet with a fair bit of approval and even the most sceptical agreed it was a good piece of work, though we the members need to ensure it is driven through into action.  Lively debates on JDW vouchers and non real beers at festivals were good to listen to and the guest speaker, Chris Holmes, who runs a chain of pubs and a brewery, was both entertaining and thought provoking.  Far from being a bigoted bunch of old duffers, there was much passion and thought in what was said, though of course the odd unreconstructed type was there too.

The Bloggerati even got a mention by the National Chairman along the lines of "drink what you like, but we campaign for real ale" which some readers may find inconvenient, though surely not surprising and with a very positive Campaigns Report from Mike Benner, our CEO, it was pretty reaffirming for those there, actually enjoyable and a reminder that being part of something is really rather satisfying.

So for CAMRA, it is business as usual, but with the Strategy Review feeding into the next Strategic plan, we'll have more focus and I believe, undiminished enthusiasm. We campaign for real ale. No apologies for that!


Ed said...

Good stuff.

Rob Nicholson said...

Hmm, whilst the review will bring a lot of positive change, it's more of a series of operational steps and not quite an answer to the question to life, the university & everything - are we ready for the next 40 years. But maybe it'll put in place better communcation channels to faciliate that strategy. I await the CAMRA strategy update from the NE & Mike Benner with interest as I read the last one a lot and came to the conclusion that nobody followed it.

Rob Nicholson said...

PS. Sheffield is like Rome built on seven hills and been born there, it was a trip down memory lane.

Tandleman said...

It was never meant to be the answer to everything as it wasn't a policy document. Policy comes from the members and is only ever as good as what they (we) propose and pass. It should however give the members much more focus in deciding that and operationally we are going to be better off as we do so due to the review.

We recognised the disconnect between strategy amd local and our proposals on local campaigns etc should hlp as should the way things come out from HQ.

Tandleman said...

PS. Still a hilly beggar!

Rob Nicholson said...

I don't want to detract from how much I welcome the review and the recommendations but it just shows that one can interpret a simple phrase like "Fit for purpose" in different ways.

For example, "Is the GBG fit for purpose?" and "Is What's Brewing fit for purpose?" and "Are the current four aims fit for purpose?" etc.

I did expect some hard questioning of some of the key foundations of CAMRA.

But as I said, one of the key recommendations to improve discussion and communication over the strategy happens, then it will have to address the above.

As for hills, I moved to Manchester in my early 20s and really missed the hills so when my girlfriend and myself wanted to move house and she asked what was my main criteria and I said "Hills!". Then again, my nickname munrobasher alludes to a certain madness concerning up hill :-)

RedNev said...

I didn't make it this time. I'm glad there has been an appropriate response to the people who demand that CAMRA changes what it campaigns for. As I've said before, you never hear people complaining that cat protection charities don't protect dogs.

If CAMRA doesn't suit what you want in a beer campaign, go and form your own ~ just like four blokes did 40 years ago in an Irish pub.

Cooking Lager said...

Glad you enjoyed your piss up. What was the beard and sandals count?

Tandleman said...


Erlangernick said...

"What was the beard and sandals count?"

Disappointingly low. Then again, I live in a fairly beardy area of Franconia, so, perspective. Still probably enough for you to have enjoyed a bit of pointing and laughing though, I reckon.

Was a great time all around, even if I never made it in to the droning on and voting. An amazing array of pubs to wander to, and yes, the hills help to burn the beer off: Five days of full English breakies, pies, chip butties, even a good Sunday carvery (at a place run by Welsh!) --let alone gallons and gallons of ale-- and it seems I didn't gain a pound.

I'll have to right something up about it.

HardKnott Dave said...

"drink what you like, but we campaign for real ale"

I'm happy with that. I love real ale, which is one reason to remain a member of CAMRA.

I'm not happy with "don't drink that chemical fizz" and the other various nonsense campaigns that occur as a spin-off.