It had to happen.
I believe the tie system is the biggest challenge cask ale faces. I don't necessarily believe in an abrupt end and a change to a completely free system, but if were we inventing a system from scratch, without historical baggage, I would favour it.
I believe ties and tenancies should not mix. The jobs of brewing and selling beer become a game of estate agency and property management (and often squeezing tenants until the pips are beyond squeaking).
I am continually astonished that CAMRA supports the tie system. Then again, I'm not. CAMRA's underlying philosophy is that of the far-left. Any talk of increasing competition in the market is met with a wailing and gnashing knee-jerk reaction. I believe the Thatcher era is to blame. Raw memories are evoked by the word "competition". Quite rightly.
By criticising CAMRA's politicisation of beer observers have presumed – wrongly – that it is because I oppose the particular political flavour. They are wrong – it is the politicisation that I dislike. I believe it is irrelevent, misconceived and ultimately damaging to the cause upon which it has been imposed. Any superimposition of any political ideology is irrelevant to the promotion of the appreciation of good beer.
This came to a head recently when Tandleman called me an "old rightie". Oh how I laughed at this off-target student politics ad hominen! But I saw it coming. It had to happen.
It dawned on me long ago that CAMRA's keenest members tend to be politically motivated. Their pre-existing political ideals have been sublimated by the real-ale cause. The real ale cause, for many, is a surrogate for political beliefs. The political tail wags the CAMRA dog.
My curiosity has been provoked. Can I compile data that supports my view? Well, let's have a go.
I've created a survey that will hopefully shed light on the subject of CAMRA and politics. If I get a reasonable amount of data I will attempt some statistical analysis (if I can remember how to do this sort of thing, it's been a few years).
The first thing I'd like you to do is complete the Political Compass test. Do it and note down your result, you'll need it for my for my survey. You can also install the Political Compass as a Facebook application. Only do the test once. Don't go back changing your answers to fiddle with how you are perceived.
Done that? Good. Now please complete my survey.
Since you are wondering, here's a diagram of my Political Compass test. I'm the red dot. The others are various FB friends (number 4 is Woolpack Dave and number 8 is an American relative who swears by Fox News: you can't choose your rellies.)