For Tuesday night saw the award for CAMRA’s Parliamentarian of the Year go to the MP for Burton-on-Trent, Andrew Griffiths.
The rationale is that Griffiths has -- as he well ought to do as chair of the All-Party Beer Group -- supported the cut in beer duty that CAMRA has called for for many years, and was finally implemented in 2013.
But another of CAMRA’s key campaigns has been for reform of the parasitical pub companies that are making it impossible for so many publicans to make an honest living. This campaign too had a major parliamentary success at the end of last year -- but it was no thanks to Griffiths, who was arguably the parliamentary leader of opposition to the reform and fought against the legislation every step of the way.
It makes no sense to dish out awards to people who are enemies of your most important campaigns, whether or not they were allies in the past. It negates the acres of editorials and the thousands of pounds of its members’ money that CAMRA has spent arguing for reform.
It will most certainly alienate the struggling publicans that CAMRA has allied with to fight for pubco reform -- and it will also drive away many of CAMRA’s own members who have -- at the request of St Albans, by the way -- spent time and effort lobbying MPs.
What is the logic here? I genuinely can’t see it.