CAMRA like to champion the "Community Pub" I applaud that. When we ran The Woolpack Inn I was a little unsure about the term Community Pub, as ours served the Tourist Industry more than locals, but still, a minor point I feel. Even a pub that serves tourists is serving the tourist as a transitory local I guess.
Now, the commercial minded side of me says that competition is good. If the public want Wetherspoons over other forms of pub then that is fine. However, CAMRA on the one hand fights to keep pubs open but then instigates a commercial partnership that is contrary to that. If CAMRA want to support Wetherspoons then they just have to accept that other pubs will fall as casualties as a result.
Harry Berger bought The Woolpack off us. He and his wife are making a fine job of running it. They buy our beer and as far as I know have it on the bar most of the time. Harry phoned me up the other day, quite outraged really, because CAMRA had asked him to help recruit members, and display information1 about the Wetherspoons vouchers.
He isn't pleased. It's not that he doesn't want to help increase CAMRAs membership, and would happily display the information if it didn't contain the reference to a competitor. But to ask a favour of publicans with this lack of sensitivity seems slightly ill thought out and so I agree with him. I feel this is one of the many issues that irritates a lot of publicans when it comes to CAMRA.
1The information is in the form of a tent card which is designed to be displayed on the tables in the pub. I expect it was a waste of money on CAMRA's part as Harry probably isn't going to display them, and to be honest I wouldn't either.