Ahead of a pub crawl around Manchester tonight with Ron from Shut Up About Barclay Perkins, I was looking at the Good Beer Guide's section on the city centre.
Two of Manchester city centre's Wetherspoons are in the GBG. I'm not against Wetherspoons pubs being in the GBG if they are the only places in a town with cheap and well-kept beer but neither of those things is the case in Manchester. I'm not even sure Wetherspoons really qualify as pubs - they normally have the size and atmosphere of an aircraft hangar. I also object to their inclusion at the expense of gems such as the Briton's Protection, Hare and Hounds, Lass O'Gowrie, Peveril of the Peak and Unicorn.
There has been criticism of the commercial relationship between CAMRA and Wetherspoons whereby the former send out discount coupons to their members on behalf of the latter. Given that entries in the GBG are decided by CAMRA members at local level, I don't think it's a case of Wetherspoons directly buying influence but rather that CAMRA members with vouchers are more likely to frequent their pubs for the discounts on already cheap beer and then vote for them. Traditional working-class pubs that sell well-kept cask beer in Manchester seem to fall under the GBG radar, presumably because the percentage of CAMRA members among their regulars is much smaller.