The main headline in this month’s edition, and the one which really attracted my attention, reads “Pubs key role in reduced figures for alcohol abuse”. According to the article, research by the Local Alcohol Profile for England, (whoever they might be), has revealed a significant fall in the number of hospital admissions related to harm caused by alcohol. The fall is across all age groups and applies to both sexes.
Nothing new there, but this is where CAMRA’s chief executive Tim Paige, throws his hat into the ring by stating, “This is why it is especially important we continue to support pubs across the country, to ensure everyone has a local within easy distance of their home or workplace”.
So far, so good, but Tim then goes on to spoil things by stating “We at CAMRA believe there should be greater acknowledgement by government, of the distinction between those who drink in moderation in responsibly-managed social settings, and those who abuse alcohol – most often bought from supermarkets and drunk at home”.
I really thought CAMRA had moved beyond this, but it would appear not, and it is back to the same old rhetoric about supermarkets selling beer at a cheaper price than water, and unless you purchase your drink in a pub, and consume it there under the watchful eye of the licensee, you are abusing alcohol and are at serious risk of harm. Really???
I wrote about this very thing just over three weeks ago, pointing out that many of us drink at home for personal, family, financial reasons or just the plain fact that there isn’t a decent pub within walking distance. I don’t want to go over the whole article again, but speaking from personal experience I drink far less within the confines of my own home than I do when I’m in the pub.
|Tim Page - CAMRA CEO|
Now I had the pleasure of meeting Tim a few weeks ago, at the “Consultation Meeting” I attended in relation to CAMRA’s “Revitalisation Project”, and he came across as a pretty level-headed sort of chap. I am therefore more than a little surprised to see him coming out with such a statement; especially as it is fundamentally flawed.
You are obviously not listening Tim; or if you are you are only hearing what you want to hear. If CAMRA continues down the road of alienating the large, and still growing, section of the population who, for whatever reason prefer to drink at home, it will be doing itself a grave disservice. Furthermore it will provide ammunition to those lobbying for minimum pricing for alcohol - an issue which had almost faded away, but which now seems to be rearing its ugly head once more.
Alcohol is alcohol, and to make out that pub bought booze is somehow more virtuous than a few bottles bought from a supermarket is akin to talking out of one’s rear end!