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/ INTERVIEW: BMC Presidential Candidates

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UKC/UKH Articles - on 31 May 2018
BMC, 3 kbThe BMC's Annual General Meeting will take place on June 16th in Kendal, where proposed constitutional changes will be voted on and a new President, Vice President and other key roles elected. We got in touch with the two candidates for BMC President - Lynn Robinson and Les Ainsworth - to find out more about them as people, climbers and potential BMC Presidents...

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john arran - on 31 May 2018
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

"When I started climbing female rock climbers were certainly a rarity, but I am pleased that there are now several women climbing both as mixed and same sex pairs."

;-)

toad - on 31 May 2018
In reply to john arran:

Yes, well. Let's just say I've voted for lynn Robinson

Mike Highbury - on 31 May 2018
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles: One says: 'Outdoor activities such as clean-ups or barbecues can also work very well, and can provide a great way to meet up' and the other: 'I joined my local university mountaineering club'. 

Well, I guess that it takes a certain type to sit on a committee. 

 

paul__in_sheffield - on 31 May 2018
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

I abstained on this section, because following the other votes, the BMC requires an experienced leader preferably with experience managing change. This should have been the foremost criteria when choosing candidates for pres. 

jon on 31 May 2018
In reply to john arran:

> "When I started climbing female rock climbers were certainly a rarity, but I am pleased that there are now several women climbing both as mixed and same sex pairs."

Welcome to the 70s.

 

syv_k - on 31 May 2018
In reply to john arran:

> "I am pleased that there are now several women climbing both as mixed and same sex pairs."

Maybe it was an unfortunate typo as he ummed and ahhed between several thousand (bit low) and several million (bit high unless you’re talking globally or including hillwalkers which, by talking about pairs, he doesn’t seem to). I don’t know enough about his record to suggest whether he should be given the benefit of the doubt.

toad - on 31 May 2018
In reply to syv_k:

Its worth reading the rest of his answer regarding encouraging women.

Rob Parsons on 31 May 2018
In reply to paul__in_sheffield:

> ...This should have been the foremost criteria when choosing candidates for pres. 

Candidates aren't 'chosen', are they? Having candidates relies on people putting themselves forward.

ChrisBrooke - on 31 May 2018
In reply to syv_k:

> I don’t know enough about his record to suggest whether he should be given the benefit of the doubt.

No, nobody should ever be given the benefit of the doubt. The worst possible motives should always be assumed. Isn't that the modern way?

paul__in_sheffield - on 31 May 2018
In reply to Rob Parsons:

My fault, I wasn’t familiar with the process here. Where I work, similar level posts go through a task and finish group to ensure equality, diversity and strategic fit.

> Candidates aren't 'chosen', are they? Having candidates relies on people putting themselves forward.

 

spenser - on 31 May 2018
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

As far as I was concerned Les made a fool of himself at the Peak Area meeting by seemingly misrepresenting a competition related incident (claimed that some members had been threatened with being kicked out of the BMC due to a kerfuffle about an incorrectly insured car accident, this was disputed by Zoe Spriggins (BMC Staff member)), heavily criticising the methodology used by the ORG (concerns about survey design, fair enough there were some issues but equally with the apathy of members on the subject of the review they had to be kept simple), displaying a poor knowledge of how NC functions while criticising  how it functions (shot down by NC reps on the subject of area reports rarely being presented at NC meetings, Alison and Dave confirmed they usually are), and seemingly expecting to work the current volunteers harder than they already are. Perhaps Les is actually a really great guy who would make a great president but he did a really good job of convincing me otherwise at the Peak Area Meeting.

Also, that shirt, if you are reading this Les, PLEASE return that shirt to the 1970's where it belongs!

As far as I am concerned Lynn will do a good job, work hard to represent the interests of members and will be supported by a strong team to implement whatever changes are accepted at the AGM, while Les seems perfectly happy to antagonise the people whose support he would need to implement the same changes.

syv_k - on 31 May 2018
In reply to ChrisBrooke:

> No, nobody should ever be given the benefit of the doubt. The worst possible motives should always be assumed. Isn't that the modern way?

There is a lot of witch hunting and politician baiting in which public figures have an off the cuff remark misinterpreted, possibly deliberately by the media in order to generate controversy. You are right, this is an unsavoury part of modern life. However this is a public statement by the candidate, and if I were standing for office I would proof read the thing ten times over to make sure it said exactly what I thought it did. If it turned out there was something dodgy in it, it either means that the candidate lacks attention to detail, which will count against them for the role, lacks insight about how other people will interpret it, also makes them unsuitable for the role, or that the candidate did mean that, which is very problematic! 

spidermonkey09 - on 31 May 2018
In reply to Rob Parsons:

> Candidates aren't 'chosen', are they? Having candidates relies on people putting themselves forward.

Exactly. People seem to forget these are voluntary positions...

john arran - on 31 May 2018
In reply to toad:

> Its worth reading the rest of his answer regarding encouraging women.

I read the rest as 'I'm not in favour of positive discrimination and I'm hoping someone might come up with other ideas instead.' Did I miss anything?

In reply to spidermonkey09:

We had a peculiar altercation at the last Peak Area Meeting when an individual (who shalt not be named) shouted out "who are you?!?" quite abruptly and aggressively to our area Sec. This was then followed up with a similarly venomous "and are you a BMC member of staff??", which clearly - to anyone in the know - she isn't, she's a volunteer.

Reflecting on this I thought several things were strange: the first being the individual's suspicious attitude towards BMC staff and the second being the disrespect given to someone that is fundamentally given hours of their time to benefit an organisation they know and love. 

Leading on from that, I have a huge level of respect for both Lynn and Les in stepping into the fray for a position they're not going to be paid for, is likley to take up a whole load of time, and - after the AGM - have a whole bunch of major changes to implement within the organisation (assuming Option A does indeed get voted through). With all that's gone on I think it's a miracle anyone would want to put their hand up for this role, but it says a whole lot about the people for doing so in spite of this.

Long live the volunteers!

p.s. spidermonkey09, this includes you too for your efforts at resolving the Kilnsey parking situation - we all owe you a pint and/or belay for that one

Post edited at 16:04
spenser - on 31 May 2018
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

That was a rather bizarre start to the meeting, he went off in a right huff after realising that people in the room actually knew what was going on!

Andy Syme - on 31 May 2018
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

>AGM proposal B – as recommended by J.Booth and supporters

John was one of T1 proposers who withdrew at the 15 May meeting.  He may have changed his mind since but are you sure your information is correct? 

FactorXXX - on 31 May 2018
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

> We had a peculiar altercation at the last Peak Area Meeting when an individual (who shalt not be named) shouted out "who are you?!?" 

Was his name Roger Daltrey?

 

 

Offwidth - on 31 May 2018
In reply to paul__in_sheffield:

I really think you are talking about the new proposed position of BMC chair (or maybe independant directors). The President 's role is different now... really a members champion in the new structure.

CV's here (alongside those of the other two posts):

https://www.thebmc.co.uk/bmc-agm-candidates

 

 

 

 

UKB and BMC Shark - on 31 May 2018
In reply to FactorXXX:

> Was his name Roger Daltrey?

If only

Actually Phil Bartlett described as a Mountaineer and Writer.

He has written an article on Crag Jones’ not-so-independent website titled “To Hell in a Handcart” 

https://sites.google.com/view/bmc-rr/reviewdocuments

Another article of his:

https://www.grough.co.uk/magazine/2017/10/09/the-death-of-mountaineering-one-climbers-view-of-the-recent-british-mountaineering-council-turmoil

 

 

 

Offwidth - on 31 May 2018
In reply to UKB and BMC Shark:

Phil signed the motion (as some of the comments below in Grough say) so its pretty disgusting he pretended to be writing as an independant observer in that article. All the ongoing dishonest secret letters.... someone else from the old trouble makers recently using his son's UKC account to attack the BMC.... when does this anti-democratic fake news nonsense end?

Phil says in his Grough article that all the BMC leadership were climbing nobodies apart from Dave?... really??.. if you are going to insult people in such an out-of-date, weirdly partial way (hill walking is the no1 activity in the membership now and the full CVs of the VP's Nick and Ru who were the 'suits' on the high table are pretty impressive for their BMC roles)  at least make it vaguely believable.

I first came across Phil as a thoughtful writer on mountaineering and exploration... where does all this ill targetted anger and dishonest action come from?

Post edited at 19:11
UKB and BMC Shark - on 31 May 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

I wasnt aware of Rupert’s hillwalking achievements #darkhorse

In reply to UKB and BMC Shark:

> Another article of his:

I find it difficult to rationalise the self-awareness and perspective of the author of this article with the loud-mouthed ******* who started ranting at the beginning of last week’s meeting. 

Alan

UKB and BMC Shark - on 31 May 2018
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

You don’t find the article a little odd? (Nostalgia for the BMC as it was under Dennis Gray!!?) I sat next to him at the BMC AGM last year. He came across as odd and excitable then too.

I discovered earlier googling that he’s written a book which he himself describes in an Amazon customer review as “Unashamedly intellectual”. What kind of person describes their own book in that kind of way?

Post edited at 20:22
john arran - on 31 May 2018
In reply to UKB and BMC Shark:

> You don’t find the article a little odd? (Nostalgia for the BMC as it was under Dennis Gray!!?) I sat next to him at the BMC AGM last year. He came across as odd and excitable then too.

This para jumped out at me a showing a particularly notable out-of-touchness: "In the 70s if I rung up their offices the person who answered the phone not only knew [who] I was, they recognised my voice. If I ring up now the person answering the phone certainly doesn’t know who I am. But much worse, I don’t know who they are."

Hankering for the days when climbing was a tiny niche pursuit is one thing; expecting tens of thousands of climbers who don't share your background to share your hankering is quite another.

Offwidth - on 31 May 2018
In reply to UKB and BMC Shark:

Didn't BMC support for comp climbing start under Dennis?

In reply to UKB and BMC Shark:

> You don’t find the article a little odd? (Nostalgia for the BMC as it was under Dennis Gray!!?) I sat next to him at the BMC AGM last year. He came across as odd and excitable then too.

Well it is odd, and it does have plenty of rose-tinted nostalgia, but at least he seems to recognise that it is rose-tinted nostalgia in the article. The guy at the meeting last week was a 'bull in a china shop'. Admittedly both versions seem to struggle with talking to people who haven't got, at the very least, 2 first ascents in the Himalayas, but there is a kind of ironic acknowledgement of this fact in the article which was absent from the angry old man rant.

Alan

 

paul__in_sheffield - on 31 May 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

> I really think you are talking about the new proposed position of BMC chair (or maybe independant directors). The President 's role is different now... really a members champion in the new structure.

> CV's here (alongside those of the other two posts):

Yes, a bit slow on the update there, got it!

UKB and BMC Shark - on 31 May 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

> Didn't BMC support for comp climbing start under Dennis?

Yes 1988

Mick Ward - on 31 May 2018
In reply to UKB and BMC Shark:

> I discovered earlier googling that he’s written a book which he himself describes in an Amazon customer review as “Unashamedly intellectual”. What kind of person describes their own book in that kind of way?

Maybe the same kind of person who once led the first(?) onsight FA of an E6?

Maybe he's warning you that it might not be an easy read?  Me, I'd be warning you that it would be an easy read!  But each to their own. The guy was a physicist. They have standards...

I've never met P B but (until now) have always held him in the highest esteem. I'm with Alan - the second article (couldn't get into the first) shows a wry self-awareness (though it does go round and round the houses) which is markedly at odds with the horrific rudeness. I guess we all have our off days - but that's certainly no excuse for taking it out on someone else who's blameless and trying to do their best. 

Hopefully P B will come round and put his undoubted intellect to good use.

Mick

 

 

Offwidth - on 31 May 2018
In reply to Mick Ward:

I'm a  physicst too and have witnessed some of the most petty aguments imaginable in my tribe, even sometimes in physics. They are human like everyone else.  Phil signed the motion and feigned an independant eye at the AGM (and on Crag's site). It's really bad form even if you are being very generous. The most depressing thing about this BMC mess is seeing some of my climbing heros tag along with Bob and his terrible behaviour.

Mick Ward - on 01 Jun 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

Sadly I've witnessed my fill (and more) of arrogance, pettiness and blatant self-interest from those who should know far better. For me, the groves of academe were irrevocably tainted a long, long time ago.

My comment re P B's (erstwhile?) discipline was merely in response to Simon's approach (a quick spot of googling followed by rather a cheap slur). This I find distasteful.

Agree with the rest of your post. It's critical to avoid role conflict. If one has an agenda or a particular stance, it must be declared at the onset.

Viewing this continued debacle from a distance is rather sad and depressing. If must be far, far worse close up.

Will exit from this thread now as I don't want to be the cause of any more bickering. There seems enough already!

Mick

UKB and BMC Shark - on 01 Jun 2018
In reply to Mick Ward:

> My comment re P B's (erstwhile?) discipline was merely in response to Simon's approach (a quick spot of googling followed by rather a cheap slur). This I find distasteful.

If quoting something obviously self-regarding and pompous amounts to a slur these days then guilty as charged.

 

Misha - on 01 Jun 2018
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Thanks for this, it’s a fair article.

Les’s point about poor comms within the BMC structures is an important one. It is one of the main factors behind the current mess as far as I can tell.

I’m not sure I’m inspired to vote for either Lynn or Les to be honest.

Offwidth - on 01 Jun 2018
In reply to Misha:

The BMC are lucky two extensive and respected volunteers want to stand after the abusive and accusational letter campaigns the last two Presidents faced.

This sudden increase in elections is a really positive thing for me... too much recent BMC democracy has been about the only person(s) willing to stand. Peak Area had 4 excellent candidates for two NC positions, none of whom were chair or sec. Lynn won VP last year narrowly beating another excellent candidate. Having regional open elections (rather than 25 regulars in a bar choose who's turn it is to go on NC ) might really help shake things up, as might the proposed national NC posts.

Its no surprise to me that BMC communications have suffered when the organisation is effectively under attack from some of its grandees. Most modern organisations would have taken much firmer action on some of the written nonsense they received... the BMC have probably been too kind and gentlemanly and the organisational processes, staff morale and hence member support have inevitably declined as a result.

I really hope enough people vote for option A, after its long process of consultation, full democratic input and compromise so that the BMC is not stuck in another year of naval gazing on articles.

Andy Syme - on 01 Jun 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

> Its no surprise to me that BMC communications have suffered when the organisation is effectively under attack from some of its grandees. Most modern organisations would have taken much firmer action on some of the written nonsense they received... the BMC have probably been too kind and gentlemanly and the organisational processes, staff morale and hence member support have inevitably declined as a result.

From my perspective it has been painful to watch.  In trying to be fair to a small minority, because we want to be; let alone because of the repeated 'legal challenges' etc; the BMC have been unable/unwilling to state the basic fact that the majority of people who have looked at this in any detail believe that the BMC needs to move forwards with it's governance.  The additional small changes that are required by Sport England, on top of what we should do anyway, are far outweighed by the benefits.

The fact that the BMC are now getting on making the case for change is absolutely the right thing.

> I really hope enough people vote for option A, after its long process of consultation, full democratic input and compromise so that the BMC is not stuck in another year of naval gazing on articles.

The idea of another year of this form of navel gazing, rather than getting on with delivering the ORG Phase 2 improvements, fills me with dread!!!

 


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