Censorship – will they ever learn…?

Why are we having this discussion in a public forum?”

This is a statement I have read so many times over the last number of months and years on a number of Rotary related Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages and even in the comments section in RotaryBlogger.co.uk.

We are having these discussions because that’s the way things are done now-a-days; it’s called social media.

You see, increasingly I struggling to understand why so many of those in the Rotary Establishment fail to recognise that we are living in a new world of media where everybody with access to the internet has the ability to become a roving reporter; with a voice; an audience; an opinion; a right to be heard and a plethora of fora from which to report or broadcast.

So why then is it that Rotary as an organisation seems to be continually missing this point?

I am sure there are many of those in high office (and perhaps even some Regular-Rots) would have this blog censored – in fact, I am sure there are some who would rather it went further and that RotaryBlogger.co.uk didn’t actually exist – far less being censored. But it is here, and it’s purpose over the years has always been to encourage open, two-way thinking and discussions about some of the points which I believe are impacting on the success of this organisation, particularly in Great Britain and Ireland. Like many other publications out there around these islands.

“The only valid censorship of ideas is the right of people not to listen” (Tommy Smothers)

One such publication was a newsletter for one of the Districts in RotaryGBI – which just happens to be the District in which I am a member of the Rotary eClub of East Anglia.

Rodney Howell has been Editor of a District Newsletter which has been a well put-together online communication circulated to members in District 1080 and beyond. Like many other District newsletters, the 1080 version has covered all the usual internal affairs of interest to its Regular-Rots. However, in addition the Editor has also reported on some of the wider RotaryGBI and Rotary International issues which he thought would be of interest to his readers.

Now, like RotaryBlogger.co.uk – I am sure the 1080 News, under Howell’s Editorship has, at times been a thorn in the foot of the RotaryGBI elephant throughout its publication lifespan. However, this blog has never been subject to discussion at the General Council meeting (well at least not formally) whereas the 1080 News actually does have that very special ‘badge of honour’. It is understood that concern was expressed regarding the content contained within the newsletter and the way in which the Editor was conducting business – and that both should be pulled in line. A request it would appear resisted by this year’s DG Derek Rothwell.

However, now it seems that incoming District Governor Robert Lovick has taken a different position and decided to grab his District’s newsletter by the proverbials and RotaryBlogger.co.uk understands the incoming boss has taken the decision to have the final say on what will and will not be published in the newsletter.

Surely this usurps the role of an Editor?

It’s interesting that right at the same time this four-way-test fracas is happening in District 1080, it is against a publicised backdrop by the RotaryGBI National Magazine’s new Editor Dave King, who is quoted in the last edition of the magazine:

I don’t edit by committee. I never have done in my 35 years as a journalist.”

Needless-to-say back in District 1080, Howell has taken a decision not to continue as Editor of what he describes as a “modified version of the current product.” Due to the fact that to do so he would have had to agree to the conditions, “that [the newsletter] contained only news originating within, and about the activities of, (sic) our District” and that everything published in the newsletter was to be “subject to the District Governor’s non-negotiable veto.”

The Editor signs off by saying, “Since I do not like to undertake a project that I know I cannot fully deliver and because I did not want to enter into anything that I knew in my heart of hearts was going to end in tears at an inconvenient time, I informed our District Governor Elect Robert Lovick that I would not be able to take part in this vision…

RotaryBlogger.co.uk tried to contact the incoming Governor of District 1080 to offer him an opportunity to clarify and elaborate on this ‘vision’ but received no response to the contacts made.

It seems a great pity that another Rotary publication that looked to report accurately to the membership – albeit sometimes in a challenge to the establishment – will now cease as a result of what appears to be ‘Rotary establishment censorship’. The like of which (in his own words) clearly wouldn’t happen to the national magazine Editor – so why should it apply to the Editor of a District newsletter?

The members of District 1080 and beyond are now, it seems to receive a vanilla flavoured circular that will no doubt move towards a self-aggrandising newsletter full of ‘grip and grins’, bling and cheque presentations.

As far as grasping and understanding how the modern world of social media and online communication works, Rotary seems to be stuck in an analogue rut in a fast-moving digital highway.

Those in Rotary who believe they can censor the online world of communication and discussion are clearly deluded

I have said before in this blog, that those who think they can control the messaging on social media; on blogs like RotaryBlogger.co.uk and other online platforms continue to delude themselves. The world is changing at a rate which Rotary appears unable to keep up – a world of 24-hour news and communications; a world where the individual on the street is now able to broadcast quite literally to billions of people around the world via a device they can keep in their pocket and a world where average people are able to speak directly to the Leader of the Free world in only 140 characters – and genuinely expect a reply.

So instead of trying to censor those trying to keep Regular Rots informed; instead of asking the question, “Why are we doing this in a public forum?” why don’t we focus on having those “uncomfortable conversations” within the organisation – and coming to some positive outcomes that are then implemented and not just done as a tick in the box to silence “The Mavericks*”.

In concluding, let’s give the last word of this blog to Dave King, Editor of that national RotaryGBI Magazine, who in the same response above referred to Lord Diplock summing up a case involving Lord Silkin and Beaverbrook Newspapers in the 1950’s saying:

The basis of our public life is that the crank and the enthusiast can say what he honestly believes, just as much as a reasonable man or woman.”

Perhaps some of those in Rotary in positions of influence either now, next year or in the future, and who think they understand modern communications should heed Lord Diplock’s words – and take a moment of reflection. Those words are every bit as important today as they were over half a century ago…perhaps even more so.

 

*(Remember the meeting of the great and the good summoned to Alcester earlier this year where they were giving the opportunity to “Fix Rotary in only Eight Minutes“…? What exactly was the result of that meeting other than allowing some existing egos to get bigger than they already were? Maybe we should keep pressing for the outcomes – as despite ongoing questions RotaryBlogger.co.uk certainly hasn’t come to any further conclusions about what that meeting achieved…

 

Images in order of appearance by Ben Raynal and thatguygil  by CC

 

34 thoughts on “Censorship – will they ever learn…?

  1. M. Lela Cote says:

    I do agree with you 100% and this “ego business” is going from bad to worse!!

    The “Rotary Social Clubs” are in demand and is very hard to find Young Rots to join the Organization.

    I do thank you for your communication.

    My best

  2. Ivan Palmer says:

    DG with no B—-s, I have known Rodney for a number of years, sometimes he tries to be overbearing, and can be obnoxious but he has always held honest and straight with his views, and he should be supported.

  3. Sometimes you wonder whether it worth the effort, nay struggle. Just this week a couple of my club members declared non renewal and they were not oldies and not likely to be the last and we are not replacing them it seems. Rotary used to be an organisation people wanted to join (I did) and were prepared to jump through hoops to be accepted, (I didn’t) now we stand outside bus stations (not literally) with a placard saying ‘Join Here’.

    Rotary overseas seems to be more dynamic, enthusiastic, less parochial and those clubs here that have embraced social media are moving forward.

    Personally I do not believe our concentration in one area of focus helps. I had a couple of people didn’t join because if it.

    We need balance and more than that openness. Censorship in any form should be anathema to us. If someone has an opinion listen to it…not dismiss it because of out dated rules and regs.

    Can I drop in here a coupe of lines from Desiderata:

    As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.
    Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others,
    even to the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
    Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
    If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter,
    for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

    #PEACE

    1. As usual you speak sense Adrian – you have long promoted a wider-appeal than the one-trick pony you outline that Rotary has become. Many of the younger generation simply cannot even relate to Polio – or dare I say even know what it is…a mint? (I jest).

      Thank you for your quote on Desiderata – everyone has a view and opinion and it they should be given an ear. This is probably one of the most important messages to send out – particularly in today’s modern 24-hour communications world.

  4. David Ellis says:

    Great blog again and opening up ( I hope) discussions on what we do next. As one of the ” great and good” who attended the pretence of a useful dialogue, I have to say I see very little action on the points raised by the 10 of us invited to Alcester. We have Rotary 2 from incoming president Denis which scratches the surface of our problems, they lie in at the door of leadership. I was asked many times why I put myself forward to become the RIBI president and it was to address the very issues that we face now, I saw this coming in 2012 and it gives me no pleasure in being proved right. Appointments are made on the basis of who knows who instead of merit/knowledge, I must mention the Public Image committee, what new initiatives have we seen in the last 2 years. I was chair and was fortunate to have a Social Media Specialist, a Radio Broadcasting specialist, two Image coordinators with real solid press experience, what do we have now? The latest flyer that has been “produced” from the PI Committee was a design my committee commissioned in 2014. Sanctioning of good publications like the D1080 news will not effect the dialogue of those who want our organisation to move forward. My comments here may appear blunt but, I feel, the time for dancing around the subject is well and truly over. Let’s hope we get a positive response and not the usual defensive comments from people taking it personally.

    1. Thanks for commenting again David and for some very ‘on the mark’ comments as usual. I think that you are absolutely ‘on the money’ in terms of no longer dancing around the issues. For over 10 years we have heard the phrase, “thing are changing” and that “it takes time to turn a tanker around in the waters” – but we are seeing very little demonstrable evidence of this – in fact in many way, the organisation seems to be going backwards.

      So let’s hope more take your lead David and take off their dancing shoes in favour of some steel-toe-capped boots.

  5. Mike Jackson says:

    In response to your comment about the meeting held a few months ago we can give you an update. We being Corkeson, a name you lovingly bestowed on us, when we tried to stand for joint RIBI President in December 2015.
    We are Mike Jackson and Nick Corke District Governors of 1110 and 1080 in 2014/15.
    We did attend the meeting you referred to and our ideas where taken on board by the General Council.
    As established Rotarians who have given immense amount of time and money to the organisation over a number of years we have also been critical of the way Rotary things are run in this country. That is why we attempted to stand as Joint RIBI President. We wanted to try and make a difference. We were prepared to put our money where our mouths were. We were called “Blue Sky Thinkers” and were prepared to put up new ideas not just knock the existing ones.
    Well one of those ideas is now being considered by RIBI. We have presented our ideas to the RIBI Executive Committee, had meetings with the General Secretary and with three members of the RIBI Executive Committee selected to investigate our idea. That is an ongoing process which is running its course. Hopefully a proposal will go to the Executive in July and General Council in August.
    Now the events of the last few days have shown us the power of Social Media. The ability of everyone to air a view and be listened to. The problem is that because everyone can air those views they all think their views are correct and are not so keen to have them examined. And what then happens is that people can just concentrate on expressing views that they do not have to defend or justify. They can say or claim anything.
    Much as we would like everything to be discussed, debated and agreed in public, we also know that this does not work in practice. Communism and extreme Socialism are wonderful concepts but eventually fail because they come up against Human Nature. And Human Nature says that I am all for these wonderful ideas as long as they do not conflict with my personal position. As long as I am not adversely affected.
    Now one of the great things that binds Rotarians together is that we are prepared to put Service Above Self. But I am afraid that as we get older that spirit tends to wane. We have too much time on our hands and start to become too critical of everything.
    So let us take the lessons of the General Election and start to dream a bit more. Jeremy Corbyn allowed the younger voters to dream a bit. He said things could be done differently. Railways could be nationalised, student fees could be abolished, wages could go up, the rich could be taxed more heavily to pay for it all. Well he could just be right. But what was not examined in the run up to the election was just how would these new ideas work. They were not put to the electorate before they had to vote.
    Well this is the same with the Corkeson ideas that have gone to RIBI. They seem to be good ideas but they must be thoroughly examined before decisions are made. And this is what is happening now. We are examining and costing the proposals. And these are not best done in an open forum because you cannot have 45,000 different opinions being aired, everyone believing theirs are the best.
    But what we will say is that we are also not prepared to let our ideas die because of the views of a few. We will let due process take its course. But if it appears that our ideas fall on deaf ears it will not be too late to place them in the public arena for discussion.
    One way or another we will share our views with you in September.

    1. Ahhh – the Corkeson Partnership – how I have very fond memories of the blogposts around the time of the Hodgegate Presidential Elections. I remain and always will feel sorry for Incoming President Debbie Hodge who, when grabbing hold of that RIBI Chain of Office, will in the eyes of many always be there by default instead of by way of a democratic process.

      Thanks for clarifying your role on the ‘Great and the Good Meeting’ back in February – which is interesting. I have been made aware of the Corkeson project but won’t blow your big announcement before September – suffice to say it will be interesting to see if you retain any support when it comes to the organisation putting its hand in its pocket, what with the figures and costs of your project I’ve heard bandied about.

      However, I appreciate your comments are the first to break ranks about that ‘Great and Good Meeting’ (other than David Ellis’ comment above) where it seems nothing has really be achieved by the meeting.

      I had my own (perhaps suspicious and cynical) views as to why the meeting was pulled together and as time has moved on I fear that I may have been correct. Ironically, around the time of the meeting, RotaryBlogger.co.uk was made aware there was a head of steam developing within a group of Regular Rots who were keen to move the organisation forward by way of challenging the status quo. Sadly when some people received their “golden ticket” to attend the meeting – it seemed, egos and personal agendas took over and the topic was no longer about the greater good I’m afraid but individual outcomes. If the meeting achieved nothing else – it certainly silenced this small minority of challengers.

      The General Election this week in the UK has been example of who the world is changing – that said, so was the Trump election and the Brexit result. The world of social media and modern communications is having an impact on the global population as a whole – I still find it frustrating that Rotary doesn’t seem to be watching BBC News24 or Sky News to see this happening.

      1. Mike Jackson says:

        Are you implying that we have received a “golden ticket” and have let our egos and personal agendas take over?

        1. Ultimately individuals (or pairs) must do what they think best to take the organisation forward – and they should not be criticised for that. How does the Corkeson ideas and those of the others sitting round the table that day dove-tail? Do they? As it seems off the back of that meeting it’s only a very small number are still in discussions with RIBI in any way (see David Ellis’ comments above).

  6. Lindsay Pearson says:

    “The like of which (in his own words) clearly wouldn’t happen to the national magazine Editor – so why should it apply to the Editor of a District newsletter?”

    because this particular Editor published some unwelcome truths (note that last word) about RIBI management practices. It is a matter of record that DG Derek called a web meeting to discuss what was in effect censorship, something he clearly didn’t want but had been pressured to attempt, and this was robustly and unanimously kicked out by District Executive, and confirmed at a subsequent DE meeting that the Editor would continue in his role for the next three years to maintain continuity, with full Editorial control.

    It is extremely regrettable that this has been discontinued, for whatever reason.

    1. Thanks for your comments Lindsay – as you say, it was good that the incumbent DG resisted any calls for censorship or otherwise on the District Newsletter. It would have been interesting to find the reasons the incoming DG has taken an alternative position – however, as outlined the blog despite more than one attempt to get a comment – no responses were received. Maybe he would like to comment on the blog.

  7. Peter Davey says:

    An interesting blog. There is one major difference between Rotaryblogger or other social media channels and 1080 news. On blogger those who disagree, feel the need to add some facts or just wish to comment can do so live and instantaneously. Thus the counter point is aired straight away and included in the debate. I have done so several times over recent years. It is not for me to comment about 1080 news – it is after all the District’s and the DGs Newsletter. Those who wish to disagree or comment upon content in any district magazine (as opposed to a live blog) can only do so next time by which time it is really too late.

    1. Peter Davey, thank you once again for taking part in the discussion. I have always appreciated that as a Past RIBI President, and even during your time in office – you were willing to have a discussion in public (via the blog) about some of the issues. You are most certainly the exception rather than the rule in terms of RIBI Establishment – and many of your successors could most certainly learn from your example.

      You make the a really good point about being able to comment on a live online blog as opposed to a News Letter – I wonder if this point has been taken on board by the D1080 Incoming District Governor? Could the 1080 news have been transferred over onto one of the live blog sites such as Mailchimp – which may have really may have really turned the newsletter into a positively interactive piece of work. Would this have been a ‘first’ for a District in RIBI? A real, live and interactive monthly newsletter – now there’s a novel idea.

      That said, it’s a moot point if the DG wants to have the “non-negotiable veto”…

      Thanks again for pulling on your tin hat and sticking your head above the parapet Peter.

    2. Peter …. actually that is not so because 1080 Newsletter is posted on the members section of the District website for download and there is a comments box available … there is also contact links and details of ALL the executive officers where any member can express IMMEDIATELY there support, discontent or add their comment. The editor contact details are also in the newsletter too

      This is exemplified by the fact that within minutes of the newsletter going out several officers and the editor received communication from all these channels … interestingly all saying this was not really acceptable and praising the publication … these have been passed on to Robert

      Over the past six months the DCM members have made comment and the consensus was clear about the interference from higher officers in RIBI was not acceptable and this was conveyed by the current DG .. also there was support for the Newsletter to remain as is at the March DCM , so it is incorrect to say that feedback is not effective.

      BTW .. it is the district newsletter not the DG’s … the constitution, bylaws and any rules do not specify anything about about a DG newsletter per se .. the only requirement is for the DG to communicate monthly in any method they choose [ page 4.2] … therefore the Gen Council is incorrect in it’s last minute that the DG is responsible for the content .. the appointed editor is a formal member of the District Council [Bylaw 11 Clause 2j] It is the district council that approves the establishment of the District Executive. [ByLaw 11 Clause 3a ]

      1. Peter Davey says:

        Martin, my point is that in a blog we can all publish our arguments to whatever is being said; thus anyone who receives the blog can easily respond to any comment and can see the comments of others. With a newsletter that is not the case. Yes anyone can contact the editor or any of the district team but the response is not “live” for all to see in the same way.
        As for the minutes I suggest that the DG or any officer attending next time raises the point when they are reviewed if they wish. (My time is up so I won’t be there) I hope you can see that I can’t go into the workings or decisions of your Officers, Exec or DCM.

  8. Anon says:

    I have really looked forward to each e-copy of D1080 news (and indeed each of your blogs, James).

    It is a bit rich to say it is just a matter for D1080, when there clearly has been pressure on the DGE (a member of an all male club etc) from elements at RIBI and GC. Indeed I have heard it called “a scurrilous publication”, and the editor called just “a disgruntled Rotarian”, instead of acknowledging his past central role at RIBI as chair of the secret audit committee, and chair of a censored taskforce.

    Like others, I have looked through past editions, and have only found an excellent and truthful publication.

  9. Lindsay Pearson says:

    ” It is not for me to comment about 1080 news – it is after all the District’s and the DGs Newsletter. ”

    It seems that RIBI General Council do not entirely agree

    Decision 10

    ******and it was reiterated the DG has overall responsibility of (sic) the content of the district newsletter

    so does that mean he or she edits the content, or simply discusses it with the Editor and hopes to persuade them of the error of their ways ?

    If it is the former, we are back at square 1 with a previous “Decision 24” that required all questions, specifically to the National Treasurer, to be communicated via the DG (who may pass it on, or not at his or her discretion, though of course, as Eve Conway told me, it can always be raised at the Annual General Meeting – err, how likely is that?)

    If it is the latter, a wise Editor would look at the suggestions, make a judgement and publish or not. To have the DG decide on content removes the Editor’s freedom to comment upon matters concerning the management of the District (or Club, RIBI and RI) for which the DG may have a personal axe to grind.

    But of course, in this world of instant communication, covering up incompetence, stupidity, stubborness or poor judgement, by trying to restrict publication, is futile.

  10. I have to take issue with “******and it was reiterated the DG has overall responsibility of (sic) the content of the district newsletter” because there is NO rule, bylaw, constitutional para or policy where it defines that the DG is “resonsible for the content of the newsletter” .. This is thecpreserve of the appointed editor.

    If someone can recite the relevant document where rfe Gen Council can deem this so I would like to know!

    The only thing the DG is constutionally required to do is to produce a ” monthly communication” the code of policy and the bylaws outline quite clearly that it can be in many form but at no time does it refer to a district newsletter

    Fundamentally here is the problem that, due to pressure from above on our existing DG Derek, he called an special executive meeting to discuss whether it felt sanctions were nececcary and we concluded that there was no case to ansewer. We also discussed the need for continuity and what the three year leadership would want.
    Robert was out of step ( in fact he did not attend the online meeting as he was in Portugal .. But that is the point of and online meeting is it not? !!).

    The important point is that even though the district executive specifically agreed unanimously at the meeting (with one abstention) that the 1080 News should carry on through the three years as is and with the editor having the same authority to edit as before. Robert has shown disdain to the executive body, which is actually formed under the constitution by
    the DCM, by going completely against them without discussion. … Fails the four way test really.

  11. Tony Jordan says:

    You say : So why then is it that Rotary as an organisation seems to be continually missing this point?
    I’m wondering what practical operational advice would you give RIBI as an organisation ?

    1. I think the blogpost outlines some suggestions Tony – but the facts remain (rightly or wrongly) that there are those in positions of influence in Rotary who are at the least perturbed by this menace that is the online world of communication, you see, “It wouldn’t have happened like this in my day.”

      My advice:
      – Embrace the new way of the world (but for real – not just in opportunistic soundbites).
      – Understand that good can come out of having online discussions, that Regular Rots can get their teeth into.
      – Don’t be frightened of the “Mavericks” and “usual suspects” who loiter around social media platforms; they could be your closest allies.
      – Proactively set discussions up on social media – with key Establishment individuals in the ‘hot seat’ to interact and engage – not another ‘All about Eve’ Livecast – but one which allows the ‘difficult conversations’ to take place from the comfort of your own home.
      – Peter Davey has been the only President to really engage online in a non-retaliatory manner. Others should follow his lead. It’s not all about posting Teddy Bears on Twitter.
      – I could go on…and on….and on….

      But one last vital matter – those in senior/influential positions must have an understanding of the modern world of communications. I remember (only a few years ago) personally posing a question to a panel consisting of the RI President, RIBI President and RIBI Director about social media and Rotary. I’d have been better asking them ‘the meaning of life’…

      Thanks for stopping by and posing the question Tony.

  12. says:

    Rotary Blogger has done it again. The blog is topical and relevant to the events happening within RIBI and his District. As a member of District 1080 I have also made representations to the incoming district governor to be met with a brick wall and his decisions reaffirmed in taking the District News in a backward direction.

    It is apparent that all this would never have happened if “The Establishment” from RIBI had not tried to take the present District Governor to task and as a result the incoming District Governor who then progressed censoring the Editor of the News letter. All he was guilty of was processing the truth, reporting the facts trying to get answers from “The Establishment” of RIBI who were conspicuous by their silence, even resulting to a recorded delivery letter from one Rotarian to another.

    In discussion with the Editor he informed me he could not work like that, as can no Editor. Editorial could be going back and forth with changes here, deletions there leaving gaps to be filled and layouts to be rearranged.

    Any Editor has the trust placed in him to do the job and as soon as censoring takes place the trust is gone and the relationship comes to an end. Editors are not dictators all they do is report news and facts in an impartial basis and sometimes a lot of work and digging goes on to pin down the facts. Some people might not like the facts but they are what they are.

    To some extent this is what was happening to the national magazine when I was Editor and decisions made by General Council concerning editorial without reference or discussion with the editor. There was an insidious takeover being made to usurp the editor, change articles so that they were written in a way that suited certain individuals.

    It is a great pity that the District 1080 Newsletter is disappearing, the Editor has done a great job and I fear the decision results in no going back.

    As for open discussion and the “Golden Meeting” we live in a world of social media where reactions of whatever nature are immediate and we all should embrace that progress as its not going away. There is a caveat however and that is to maintain a level of respect. I’ve seen it time and again where someone has accused another of being rude and offensive for purely disagreeing with them. Some seem to have benefited from the “ Golden Meeting” and are celebrating their success. They have sold their ideas to an Executive who could recommend to General Council to spend in excess of £60k to facilitate their ideas when Rotary International already has facilitated a programme that embraces much of what is being proposed but with a few tweeks and changes. It is noted the hubris with which this possible programme has been celebrated.

    This discussion would not be happening if we had progressive, inspirational, positive leadership in the organisation within the UK and Ireland. Internationally the organisation is really fantastic, has done some wonderful things over the years and has a great future ahead of it if only it grabbed the right opportunities out there. Stop trying to be all things to all men find a proper way without grabbing every little event that might bring in new members. As I have said before the departure lounge has many members waiting in it and is becoming overcrowded. The arrivals hall is open but not many are making it and they don’t want to collect the baggage before entry. Rotary should be reaching out, grasping opportunities to do good in the world. Not arguing amongst themselves, polishing their egos and promoting themselves. If that continues the departure lounge will start bursting at the seems as members make for the departure gate and none of us wants that do we?

  13. Mark Stewart-Clarke says:

    Good morning from Atlanta and the Convention, good to see some lively debate on the blog. As a passed D and gone I can feel for 1080 DGE at the end of the day the buck stops with him just a shame he cannot have trust in Rodney yes he can be brusque and very to the point, but he is accurate and well researched. While critics of past Task-forces make negative comment, much of the changes suggested do come to fruition in time we all need patience and sometimes a thick skin.
    I am with some 50,000 Rotarians and I am really getting the fix I need to carry on, these few days are showing me again why I became and remain a Rotarian and also why we are lucky to have RIBI with all its faults.

    1. Thanks for commenting Mark – appreciate you dropping by.

      I think the interesting part in your comment is the bit where you say that people need to have patience.

      From conversations I am having I think there is an increasing number of people who have heard for too long that changes are coming – and those changes have not yet come to fruition (in any way shape or form) albeit they could be in train. If that’s the case, it’s a very slow moving vehicle.

      Glad you enjoyed Atlanta.

      1. M. Lela Cote says:

        Can I put my two cents worth of comments?

        Of course, we need change and at the same time we need a Lady Rotarian as President of RI!! then, we will see the change we are looking for.

        My best. Rotariamente, Lela

        1. I could not agree more with your comments Lela – I look forward to this day happening – and also the day we have an openly LGBTI President of Rotary International. That’s the day we can say Rotary has turned the corner and operating in the modern world.

  14. Paul Hickson says:

    Like Mark I have just experienced an outstanding convention in Atlanta and being my first was overwhelmed with the breadth and scale of Rotary. I have been reenergised and as a consequence disappointed to read that the blog has appeared to once again focus on the bad and ugly rather than the good of Rotary.

    I have sought out the most recent D1080 newsletter online and found it to be an exceptional communication, possibly the envy of many Districts. It’s sad to think that it hasn’t been possible to mediate to retain an exceptional editor but maintain the respect due to an incoming DG.

    If a District cannot resolve it’s differences surely it cannot be outside the skillset of an organisation, that has virtually eradicated a disease, to find an acceptable solution recognising free speech whilst acknowledging that a DG must have some control of what is said in the name of his District.

    1. Thanks for taking time to comment Paul.

      Perhaps the reason for the blog’s focus on the bad and ugly rather than the good is because for many it is becoming increasingly difficult to see the good – as David Ellis says, particularly in these islands. Unfortunately, for me and many others, Rotary is about so much more than attending a one of convention but about what the organisation does back at coal face.

      Many of us will have witnessed this euphoria following attendance at conferences, seminars and symposia. But despite those 50,000 people in attendance (apparently 4% of membership) having been re-energised – we have to be honest and say that there is still a number of bad and ugly things associated with the organisation in 2017.

      So apologies if RotaryBlogger.co.uk has been a rainstorm on your Atlanta parade.

      In relation to your last sentence, regardless how you dress it up and what nice words are used, where a “DG must have some control over what is said” is perfectly fine – not is there is a non-negotiatable veto as the end result, otherwise the DG themselves become Editors.

  15. David Ellis says:

    I agree with Paul, the convention looked good from here in France, having experienced the fantastic breadth of positivity at the Sydney convention in 2014 it left a lasting impression. The Convention was all about all things Rotary, unfortunately our own national conferences focus too much on our president and not our organisation, where are the ideas for the future. The RIBI leadership need to wake up and smell the coffee and not treat every adverse comment as just another negative member having a go. I cannot stand idly by when some of the basics, particularly regarding PR, are overlooked.

    1. …and I think fewer and fewer are standing by – thanks in the main to way in which social media and online communication platforms can be used to allow the Regular Rot to have their say.

      The point you make about the Conference in Great Britain and Ireland is a very valid one – and I have to say one I haven’t really given much thought to. But having a bit of knowledge, yes, you are correctly the President is at the hub of any discussions around the wheel. #theirconference.

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