2007-04-28 11:52 pm (UTC)
Hear hear! *hug*
I left CAMRA. Although that was more about ceasing alcohol consumption generally.
Do CAMRA not campaign for compliance? Because if not and you are a member I'd definitely write to them.
The full pints thing is one of their old standards that they have used for years to get members - it's something easy that you can get a drunk person at a beer festival to understand and care enough about for long enough to give some cash. They campaign for lots of other things as well and sometimes even listen to their members :)
Quite, it's something they can get more people interested in easily.
2007-04-29 02:35 pm (UTC)
My thinking was to bounce the idea off you lot and then contact CAMRA if it seems to be a reasonable one.
I can see that the full pints thing is appealing to many, but I've started to find it rather offputting recently.
Given that CAMRA's raison d'être is good quality pints, and that part of a good quality pint is not getting ripped off by dodgy pubs serving short measure (a good pint both tastes good and is, errm, a pint), I think they've got a pretty damned good reason to highlight it.
As it happens, I'm fairly sure (although I'm no longer a member) that they care a lot about pubs and good beer being accessible to all. But, given that beer quality is what they care most about, I think they should leave a specific DDA campaign to a different organisation. Frankly, other groups could do a better job.
Stepping respectfully into a controversial subject, I'm not entirely sure I agree. Feel free to pick me up on my many assumptions and ignorance of any facts you see!
CAMRA, from what little I know of it, are focussed on the preservation of pubs and getting your money's worth at the bar. Does it fall upon them, then, as a body associated with that aspect of pubs, to take up other unquestioningly important issues which don't lie in the remit of the original association? Or are they being almost "bullied" into taking on these issues because it looks so bad to turn them down?
Shouldn't there be a separate entity responsible for pushing access in pubs - or shouldn't the existing disability rights organisations be picking up the pub access issue (or why aren't they already)?
It just seems wrong to me that an organisation could be set up for one thing, then lumped with an expectation of responsibility for a separate cause because they're superficially similar.
Out of curiosity and because my brother is wheelchair bound I looked up the CAMRA website to see whether campaigning for increased access to pubs actually does fall within their remit. They list five Aims:
1. Protect and improve consumer rights
2. Promote quality, choice and value for money
3. Support the public house as a focus of community life
4. Campaign for greater appreciation of traditional beers, ciders and perries as part of our national heritage and culture
5. Seek improvements in all licensed premises and throughout the brewing industry
IMHO I would say that CAMRA should be campaigning as nou suggests in order to fullfill points #5 and, most importantly #3. After all how can a pub be trully a focus for a local community if it excludes a portion of that community?
That's not the point though; although I agree the remit can be interpreted as extending to disability rights, it's clearly CAMRA's aim and purpose to sort out things like that missing 12.5p of beer, get more ales on tap and make sure pubs are held to a higher standard of service.
I'm not saying disability rights aren't important - they very clearly are - just that CAMRA wasn't set up to deal with them and you shouldn't expect campaigners to pick up nearby banners that they aren't as passionate about.
There's nothing to say that the membership of CAMRA can't separately belong to another campaigning organisation for disability access in pubs.
2007-04-29 02:38 pm (UTC)
CAMRA have been trying for a few years now to appeal to a broader membership base. Pushing this full pint thing so hard may well be harming them in this goal — I don't know.
On a highly cynical level, would switching tack to access rights help them out here? A lot of pub-goers can get behind a campaign for more bang for their buck, and have. Although extending focus to access rights would undoubtedly attract new members, the existing members might very well feel disenfranchised as the organisation which is supposed to represent them is, in a very literal sense, not doing so -it's spending its resources representing a different minority and cause.
Emphasising how compliance with the DDA would further aims 1,3 and 5, and that DDA compliance is so often a question of attitude (re-training staff rather than spending thousands on rebuilding), might go down well.
Also that being seen to lobby for that as part of good service might increase their number of members quite considerably...
Have you actually written to CAMRA requesting that they consider adding this to their list of campaigns? They have quite a few campaigns on the go at any given time. I don't think that because the disabled access issue exists they should therefore not campaign about any issue which you consider to be subordinate to that.
There are local & national government organisations and charities already devoted to ensuring full disabled access wherever possible - they might be a better place to go to take up any issues you may have with access and pubs, since their remits will cover all public buildings within the scope of the existing laws.
The full pint campaign is currently CAMRA's main focus, because this is something about which their members (real ale drinkers) feel strongly. Like any consumer group they exist to protect the rights of their members and to secure for them value for money. Would you suggest that other consumer organisations should drop their campaigns for value for money and focus on the disability issue as well?
2007-04-29 02:40 pm (UTC)
See reply to Billy above — this post is a preliminary to writing to them, not a substitute.
I don't think they should drop the full pint campaign, since I'm sure a lot of members do care about it. It just feels to me as though they're pushing it to the exclusion of everything else.
I have mixed feelings about this. I'd certainly agree that the DDA is more important than full pints. On the other hand, if CAMRA gave up on all the campaigns which I personally think are stupid, they'd no longer have a reason to exist :)
As I understand it, CAMRA's main credo seems to be that "real" ales/ciders are intrinsically better than "fake" ones, so people just need to try them out to find what they've been missing. Personally, I drink mass-market brands like Strongbow because I actually like the taste of them; I've tried the "real" versions, and I can stomach them (unlike coffee), but I've made an informed choice to avoid them. Consequently, CAMRA's goals seem like snobbery, so I don't have any interest in joining them.
Stating the obvious, I think the best way to contact CAMRA is directly, rather than via LiveJournal. While I don't speak for them at all, I can guess at a few possible policies from them:
a) We are focussed on the things that are directly important to us, trying to change the rules, and we'll let the police/councils enforce the laws that have already been passed.
b) We're already addressing this, on behalf of our disabled members. (Page 12 of Saving your local pub
refers to the DDA.)
c) We don't have any disabled members, and we want to preserve traditional pubs the way they are. (See Pub Preservation
Are there any specific pubs you have in mind which don't have disabled access?
Stating the obvious, I think the best way to contact CAMRA is directly, rather than via LiveJournal.
Ah, and I see that you addressed this point in your replies to other people while I was writing the previous comment, so disregard that :)