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CMIC has been criticised recently for owning shares in pub companies (pubcos) such as Punch and Enterprise, who are widely regarded as one of the main causes of the problems pubs are currently facing. At the CAMRA AGM, the National Executive was accused of being far too cosy with the pubcos, and urged to take a more radical stance against them - in other words, campaign against them, as in the first word of the organisations' name.
The argument for holding the shares is that it entitles CMIC to attend the pubco AGMs. That's not much of a defence, especially as I've yet to hear of a single campaigning achievement resulting from attending. In my view, holding the shares can be interpreted as endorsement by CAMRA of the pubcos, even though I know that was never the intention; the trouble is you can't dictate how other people construe your actions. It would help if CMIC renamed itself something like the Real Ale Drinkers Investment Club, because so far the attempts to put some distance between it and the Campaign haven't really worked. To be fair to CMIC, they've said they will sell the pubco shares if CAMRA asked them to. So it's up to CAMRA, which should bear in mind what they say about he who sups with the devil.