In this, the first RotaryBlogger post of 2016 we wonder what the New Year will bring in terms of the good, the bad and the ugly of Rotary International, particularly in the Great Britain and Ireland territory.
So as we left 2015 embroiled in the RotaryGBI Presidential Campaign it seems we move into the New Year with the same topic still in the minds of many. As the Clubs return after the festive season break they will start to consider where they will put their ‘X’ in the ballot paper in terms of electing the individual who will become their leader in three years time.
In the interest of fairness it is appropriate to name all the eligible candidates. So the runners and riders are David Ellis (Salford and Swinton); Graham Jackson (Irlam) and Mukesh Malhotra (Hounslow).
However, readers of the blog will be well aware that the remaining candidate Debbie Hodge from the Rotary Club of Ware is the candidate who has effectively been put forward as the ‘preferred’ candidate by the RotaryGBI Selection Advisory Committee (SAC) under the chairmanship of former Rotary International Director and National Past President Mike Webb.
There also remains the issue whereby many believe the SAC have actually breached Rotary’s own rules and regulations by naming Debbie Hodge – with some seeing this as overt canvassing [by the SAC] on behalf of one candidate over the others. Having reflected on the way things have been done – it seems difficult to establish how naming one candidate before the others doesn’t actually breach the non-electioneering rules. But again, this remains to demonstrated at some point in the future by the Committee who clearly believe it to be otherwise.
In previous years the ‘preferred’ candidate has always won through to victory and become national President. However taking into account the anecdotal information and comments being received by RotaryBlogger.co.uk from across these islands it is not Debbie Hodge who appears to be out in front; but one of the other names seems to be continually coming to the fore. So could this be the year where we see the apples from the cart rolling down the street at the end of January? Only time will tell…
The other issue that remains a talking point is the disallowed joint application from Nick Corke and Mike Jackson aka ‘Corkeson‘ – where both had applied on a ‘job-share’ set-up to take the role on the basis that ‘two heads are better than one’ and far more can be achieved.
RotaryBlogger has obtained information that would have featured in Corkeson manifesto had their application been allowed to progress to the next stages and it makes for interesting reading.
In their ‘manifesto’ they refer to internal reform – perhaps the biggest and most noticeable being that of job-sharing the Presidency. And as well as asking for ‘fundamental change’ and full review of large-scale Assemblies they went on to say,
The continued use of the same broken model will not get us the reforms necessary.”
Corkeson were also looking to make big moves into the corporate sector seeing the benefits of pulling a Rotary ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’ programme together on a nation-wide basis – as well as looking to maximise collaboration with other organisations where Rotary has a connection.
Their manifesto also went on to consider Rotary’s relationship with external charities. The Corkeson partnership picking up on a very current topic regarding how much of the charity pound is actually dedicated to being spent on the work of the organisation and not going towards administration or senior management salaries.
The Corkeson manifesto looked at other areas including; innovative ways to increase members; promotion of satellite clubs; the generation of a Rotary Football Fellowship and the creation of Rotary Members Health Benefits.
However, interestingly though it is not their policies but the previous RotaryGBI processes which seem to be giving the joint-application ‘doubters’ the licence to make their comments against having a job-share President at RotaryGBI. Comments being received,
Well if they can’t get the process right for one President – how are they going to manage it with two?” or “Club Rotarians don’t care that much about the Rotary President so why would it be any different if there was two of them?”
So whether or not as a reader you agree with the Corkeson application – the irony is that in what is probably one of the most forward thinking and radical challenges to the ‘norm’ – it appears to be the processes from the past that continue to dissuade and disengage individuals from paying attention to what Corkeson is proposing leaving the duo a potentially difficult challenge to persuade Regular Rots of their validity.
So we have a few more weeks to go in the Presidential election campaign for 2018/19 and it remains to be seen what the outcome will be. As a representative from RotaryGBI explained – they hoped individual clubs would vote with integrity and not in a way designed to give the ‘establishment’ a bloody nose – which is all very well and good.
However, that same establishment must realise that the patience of Regular Rots (albeit perhaps only those interested in the process) is now starting to wear thin. Undoubtedly something needs to be done to address the increasing concerns and views that it is merely hollow words and promises escaping out of Alcester in terms of the change and modernising agenda. And in no way should the current feelings be underestimated nor swept under the carpet.
The wolves are once again circling with an increasing hunger. It would be folly for those in positions of influence not to pay close attention to what could quickly becoming an every decreasing wolf-circle…
Images by Ronnie Macdonald by CC