They’ve really gone and done it this time.
The comments below the articles about CAMRA’s latest outrage in this week’s national dailies are damning:
“And because of that I’ve just cancelled my membership.”
“Right, thank you. I will not be renewing my CAMRA membership. This is absolutely disgusting.”
What have CAMRA done that’s so terrible?
Well, it seems they have been “overrun” by “woke communists”.
“I will just have stop drinking real ale now because it has just become “Unreal Ale”. An utter woke joke.”
“That’s my membership cancelled , can’t believe camra has gone disgustingly woke”
“Go woke go broke. Another organisation overrun with communists who will now lose membership.”
“You have just lost this normal person with your wokery.”
“CAMRA try to appease B,la c k Lives Mateer Marxists because they are scared. of them”
In doing so, the supposedly real-ale-supporting organisation has revealed that, far from wanting to preserve one of our greatest cultural assets, its secret agenda is to destroy Britain itself.
“When will the real people in this country take it back from those who want to destroy it.”
Obviously, CAMRA is not powerful enough to do this on its own. It’s obviously become part of a global conspiracy.
“Why does all this seem Co-ordinated world-wide? Who is the global puppet master?”
(I could take a pretty good guess at the kinds of people the commenter thinks might be behind this.)
But here’s my favourite comment, and this one is dedicated to the overworked people at CAMRA’s head office and the thousands of volunteers who make the organisation run with no financial reward in return:
“Looks like CMARA has gone the same way as the NT and the British museum,and quite a few more our national institutions,they are now run by overpaid woke and PC executives.”
‘Going woke’ is a terrible crime, particularly in the eyes of people who use the term daily without having the slightest clue of what it means.
So what form has CAMRA’s wokeness taken? Has it banned beards? Has it insisted that everyone at GBBF must take the knee before the bars open? Given that it is now run by communists, has it called for the means of beer production to be seized by the proletariat?
No. Worse than that, CAMRA has asked people to complete a QUESTIONNAIRE.
CAMRA has asked for feedback. Via a SURVEY.
What evil fucking Commie bastards they are. Why don’t they just burn Olympia to the ground like they so obviously want to?
After years of being criticised for only being relevant to white middle-aged men, CAMRA is asking how it might broaden its audience from that base. After decades of women reporting that they are patronised, ignored ridiculed, harassed or even assaulted at beer events, CAMRA is asking people for their experiences, to gauge how serious the problem is and, if necessary (spoiler alert: it is) to do something about it.
Speaking as an overweight, bearded, middle-aged real ale drinker, I’d say this is long overdue, and is to be welcomed. Many people like me on Twitter share the same view. But the sewers that run below the lines of Daily Mail articles contain creatures that are less happy:
“what the hell do women know about beer…”
More than you know about how to write a sentence, mate.
“I better stop drinking, then they can have more of the other lot”
“One of the last bastions of being a white middle aged man is going. Can we have nothing that is ours alone, why does everything have to be shared with minority groups!!”
Dudes. Not enough people are drinking beer for all the people who make it to stay in business. There’s lots of real ale. If all the women, gay people, trans people, black and brown people, and all the people I have not mentioned in this sentence all start drinking it, there’ll still be more than enough left for you and your mates. And didn’t your mummy tell you that it’s nice to share?
This is the odd thing about people who are frightened of sharing the planet with other people who are different from them in some way. They believe rights and freedoms are like a cake – or a pint, I suppose. We middle-aged white men have more rights and freedoms than most. If other people win more rights and freedoms – the (lack of) thinking goes – then that must mean we lose some, because the cake is only finite in size.
If we’re not scared – or “triggered” – by the thought of sharing a space with people who are a bit different from us, we might actually gain quite a lot. The size of the whole cake grows. Which is better for everyone.
Eventually, this fear turns itself inside out and becomes slightly surreal:
“If CAMRA do not give up this woke nonsense then you expect there to be a splinter real real ale group that ANYONE can join, no questions asked, you just need to like real ale.”
Yep – if CAMRA carries on trying to broaden its appeal so that anyone who likes real ale can feel happy to join, then don’t be surprised if there’s a rival organisation springing up to replace it, based on the radically different principle that anyone who likes real ale can feel happy to join.
It’s easy – and necessary – to take the piss out of small-minded, ignorant bigots. It’s alarming to live in a world where initiatives to be open, friendly and tolerant are seen as evil, disgusting and communist, and people who despise anyone different from them, who feed on hate, somehow feel that it is they who are normal and decent.
I get that some of this driven by genuine fear, however misguided or based in ignorance that fear might be. But I’d suggest the fear of being ignored, patronised or physically or verbally assaulted that women and minority groups share is more justified, based as it is on real-world experience.
Since the 2010 Equalities Act, it is illegal for any public body, company or organisation to allow discrimination, harassment or victimisation on the basis of:
- gender reassignment
- marriage or civil partnership (in employment only)
- pregnancy and maternity
- religion or belief
- sexual orientation
If CAMRA did preside over a culture where such behaviour was endemic, then like any other public body, society, workplace or organisation, it would be breaking the law. Workplaces must have policies in place to protect their employees against such behaviour. Even before you get to the fact that it might be a nice idea if flagging real ale sales could be boosted by making it more relevant to more people, CAMRA has a legal responsibility to make sure people feel safe at its meetings, events, and offices.
It’s also worth noting that CAMRA is asking everyone to complete this survey. Nowhere does it say that overweight, middle-aged white blokes are excluded. I filled it in weeks ago, and I didn’t get a response saying “Sorry, you don’t count.”
If membership and punters respond and say there’s nothing wrong, that everyone feels safe and happy at beer festivals etc, and there’s no evidence of widespread discrimination, then fine – nothing needs to change, does it?
But somehow, I doubt that will happen. I suspect the survey will uncover stories as troubling as craft beer’s “Me-too” moment did last spring. And if that does happen, then CAMRA has an obligation to act. It’s incredibly positive that the organisation is being so proactive in recognising that. So please, take the survey, whatever age, weight, ethnicity, gender, sex, colour, race or sexual orientation you are. The whole point of this is that everyone matters.
And you know what? In the unlikely event that CAMRA is taken over by woke communists who go out of their way to put women, people of colour, trans people and differently abled people into every key position in the organisation, even then, the stereotypical CAMRA man will still be as welcome in every aspect of the organisation as he is now.
Except the people who left the comments I cut and pasted above, and the far worse comments I felt I couldn’t repeat.
Those people can fuck right off.
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