I WILL gladly join Graham Snowdon in raising a glass to Camra whose campaigning has raised the experience of pub-going to an unprecedented level (Yorkshire Post, June 16).
However, I disagree that reports of the pub industry’s demise have been greatly exaggerated.
Camra is a middle-class organisation. If the trends continue, Mr Snowdon and I will never be short of a pleasant watering-hole with a choice of ale where we can indulge in our favourite pastime. A different kind of drinker is already being disadvantaged: the pensioner who used to drift down from his council flat for a pint or two and a game of dominoes now finds his estate pub a crumbling shell of brick and chipboard. He settles for an evening of solitary TV and supermarket beer. Not just the elderly are affected; younger working-class drinkers are consuming cheap alcohol in uncontrolled environments.
None of this is the fault of Camra, whose only sin has been to champion variety and quality in ale; successful pubs now tend to be run by micro-breweries. The real culprits are the large pub-owners who have become property developers, putting tied-house managers out of business with extortionate rent. Your typical tied-house is an estate pub. Not so long ago many pubs could boast a diverse clientele. Now pub-going is becoming a middle-class privilege; another manifestation of the class divide.