Remember back in 1999 or 2003 when the thought the internet would change the balance of things and open up opportunities for "citizen journalists"? Silly wasn't it. Instead, we have newspapermen writing "blogs" and politicians (or at least their staff) yapping on Twitter as if they knew what they were doing. Once in while, however, a veil is actually drawn aside and you see something you might not have before like this:
I promised I'd let you know the outcome of the small group CAMRA set up to look at craft beer. I am not sure that I'm meant to, but since the groups existence is in the public domain, I don't see why its outcomes shouldn't be. It was all done in a bit of a hurry, but taken very seriously by the participants. We corresponded a lot, exchanged views, read a lot of stuff including a lot of blogger articles and comments, which I contributed - mine and others - and met to decide what we wanted to put to the National Executive. There was no disagreement from any of the Working Party about the final proposals. We set the background by setting out principles behind the recommendations.
We have a lot to thank Tandleman for but nothing so much as making CAMRA more understandable to those of us who either are not members of live elsewhere in the world, unaffected by the organizations goals or processes. As I have written before, this is not an easy thing to accomplish so the reporting by Twitter today from the vote as well as the background posts frame CAMRA's ways in something that is far better informed than my knee jerk reactions.
That being said, the conservatism of CAMRA in the preservationist sense is fairly pronounced if not shocking. Rejecting a simple truth like this: "CAMRA officially recognises that good beers exist which are not real ale"? I am having a hard time distinguishing that news from other bits and pieces today like Google Hops or Orval in a can.
To each their own, I guess. As a lapsed Mason, I know the drive to embrace an abstraction or detached principle can be stronger than the cold sting of reality. Because it is easier. Folk like Tandy will continue along the tougher path, arguing for a larger raft approach. Sooner or later, if not embraced, rejection of common sense will likely find CAMRA's relevance slip or at least its actual purpose as a talking club supporting unresponsive benefit receiving staff and executive admitted. Fortress CAMRA. Who will care?