Part 3 – Hungry like the wolves

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.


Has the festive season meant the whole Presidential Election debacle has slipped from the radar? It would seem not – the wolves are circling ready to pounce

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 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


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30 thoughts on “Part 3 – Hungry like the wolves

  1. for the first time in a while I shall make no comment as I am closely involved with one of the candidates on good terms with another and aware of another’s efforts to make the wold a better place but I shall make representations to my club on behalf of them and put forward the name of my preferred candidate (if that is permitted) Meanwhile I shall be hoping that the Walk over The Millennium Dome (o2) is widely supported as last year and we celebrate rotary for what it truly is. Rotary blogger is climbing so join him or sponsor the heck out of him….top man!….see you up there

    1. Not missing a trick to advertise eh Adrian? 🙂

      Bit of a cop out though with the Corkson affair because the issue is not about te current candidates it is about the fairness and justice in dealings with the nomination of a joint candidates.

      As a formal appeal has been submitted [and this was known prior to the start of the elections that would be forthcoming itcannot be fair and proper to carry on with the election regardless.

      if the appeal hearing finds in favour it is no use after the election is complete so we should all be calling for a halt until the appeal and been heard lawfully, fairly and justly.

  2. Mac Purcell says:

    Another missed opportunity to partner with an organisation that we were instrumental in creating and indeed had the honour to host the first meeting of the UN General Assembly on this day in January 1946 in London. London District 1130 were asked to host the event, where over 50 nations were represented.

    Why has this significant event not been celebrated, or even mentioned by Rotary, missed opportunity to partner with the UN on a joint event in London, another missed opportunity to publicise our achievements, to maybe, even encourage like minded people to become Rotarians?

  3. Mac Purcell says:

    The ‘Corkeson’ candiditure offers the way forward avoiding the ‘more of the same’ the future for this organisation is through partnerships with like minded organisations. The CSR approach is the way to engage with business, we could be the link they need with the local community, while at the same time offering the opportunity to be part of our global organisation.
    Today, a great opportunity was missed by Rotary to create awareness, to partner with the UN, and increase its membership.

    1. Really interesting angle to take Mac. Most people have looked at the ‘Corkeson’ ticket as a joint application to become president – but you have pointed out, this is actually about a PARTNERSHIP of two people doing the same role. Well played.

    1. Semantics have to come into it here Ron – therefore in actuality the SAC believe they have not chosen a ‘preferred’ candidate. They have however chosen the one who “fully meets the criteria” – meaning the other three don’t but are still eligible for election. And in doing so it appears the SAC under the chairmanship of former RIBI President Mike Webb has actually ‘promoted’ one of the candidates above the others. The fact it has happened again, surely it cannot be allowed to reoccur in the future.

  4. Ron Duxbury says:

    One really good move this year is to be able to look at and listen to a presentation from each candidate as to why they should be elected. I would urge the decision makers in each and every club to make arrangements to have a look at these and then make up your mind.

    1. Absolutely agree Ron – however information that has been fed to indicates that despite the video pitches being available – some Clubs are still reverting to form and voting without viewing the footage. It is vital that somehow the message has to get out to Clubs to look at the videos and read the CVs – and then vote based on who they believe to the be the best candidate to lead the organisation.

  5. Keep the secretariat …dump the rest!

    Do not vote for the recommended candidate as a protest to the whole fiasco

    Make noise about the SAC decision to invalidate the Corkeson nomination … It has not been proven to be a sound decision!

    Revolution as well as evolution as Paul Harris said!

  6. David Simpson says:

    The role of RIBI is questioned by many Rotarians. A pity but hardly surprising when any form of change is apparently resisted in order to preserve a cosy status quo.
    Change is uncomfortable and as such often resisted but to move forward essential.
    We must honour decisions re no preferred candidates and consider different approaches to the traditional to survive and advance.

    1. AS outlined above David – it is most likely the SAC would argue they have not chosen a ‘preferred candidate’ despite how it may be perceived by Regular Rots interested in the process. Unfortunately, it seems your views are echoed by other in terms of the value of RIBI increasingly so due to their reluctance to change – if this view were to grow it would be a great pity.

  7. Janet Porter says:

    Could we not write in a candidate – as in US elections? If enough of us voted for “Corkeson” (as I suspect our club would) regardless of the name not being on the ballot paper – someone might be forced to take notice.

    1. From information received by – it would appear that ‘someone’ is going to be forced to take notice of the way in which the Corkeson situation has been handled. is hoping to report further on this in the forthcoming days.

  8. Lindsay Pearson says:

    I suspect “someone” is keeping their head(s) well beneath the parapet and hoping it will all go away, so that the aforementioned status quo can be maintained.

    I still haven’t had any reply to the suggestion I made previously, that leaving the decision to disallow “Corkeson” was left until the very last minute smacked of a panic response to the possiblity that “Corkeson” could win the election, when the bid for a joint Presidency was known by members of the Constitution Committee in July and could have been openly discussed. I found it ironic that Peter Davey, in his letter to all Club Presidents, makes much of “transparency”. Apparently this is selectively applied ?

    1. Something says that whilst the process may continue and even complete, the matter surrounding ‘Corkeson’ is not going to go away – in fact we could be looking at an ‘iceberg’ situation. President Peter Davey does read the blog and to be fair, both he and Amanda Watkin, General Secretary have always been extremely supportive of the blogs work as well as being very willing to offer any statements or explanations on a particular position or situation. And it is only fair to inform readers that this situation has been no exception.

  9. Beryl Cotton says:

    I was appalled at the presentation skills during the three minute presentations. Only one candidate shone out. The other presentations were very weak or self centred.
    Is the real problem that the preferred candidate is not the Rotarian you wish it to be? Shame on you.
    A joint RIBI president – come on – get real!

    1. Two things Beryl

      * I agree that the video presentatiosn were not good – all of them. the best delivery was certainly the person I think you refer to but the content was rubbish … nothing about what she is going to do to move Rotary forward at all and just anectdotal storytelling and rhetoric! … and this is nothing to do with who I would prefer – I was the president of the Norwich Speaakers Club [Toastmaster International] and whilst delivery is important the content has to be good also … a good speaker talks to the audience as if they are in it listening … that way the listener hears the correct message.

      * open your mind Beryl to the future … A joint president is not only feasible but very likely in this day and age … if you read the Corkeson manifesto with an open mind then you will discover that it is a real option. It is innovative, practical and positive for moving this organisation forward.

      I find your “get real” comment really quite disrepectful!

  10. Peter Davey says:

    I do indeed read the blog and have commented before. My aim for transparency is genuine and not at all selective.
    All I can say about this is what I have said before. Clubs should be encouraged to consider all the information that they have this year and then use their vote responsibly. In addition to transparency I am determined that we evaluate everything that we do and we will evaluate this process at the next meeting of the General Council in February and report to clubs as usual on the outcome of all our discussions.

    1. Bill Hitchen (PDG 2006-07) says:

      The only democratic solution is to abandon the SAC (interestingly predictive text turned that into “sacred”) and let Rotarians read, listen and vote.

    2. Rodney Howell says:

      All well and good Peter but consideration of the actions of the SAC at the next General Council will be too late as the voting will have closed by then.
      At its District Council Meeting on Wed 13th January (i.e. earlier this evening), the D1080 delegates passed a motion instructing the District Secretary to write immediately to request that the actions taken in respect of the “Corkson” candidacy be reviewed and that the appeal that has been requested be carried out as soon as possible and that, in the meantime, the election process be suspended.
      This must be the equitable course of events as it is no consolation to win an appeal after the decision has been made.
      So many things are wrong about this affair:
      “Corkson” stated they wished to appeal the Constitutions Committee decision and turned up for their scheduled interview pending that appeal only to find out, having answered questions put to them, that they had in fact taken part in an appeal! What form of appeal process is that does not announce itself in advance so allowing those appealing any time to prepare their argument and does not state that it is an appeal until after the event?
      Does the SAC have the power to act as an appeal body anyway? If they do not have the power to overturn a decision of the Constitutions Committee then there is no chance of a successful appeal.
      The SAC members have clearly gone against the expressed wish of the ABM. Whilst they have not used the word “preferred” they have in fact gone much further by explicitly stating that only one candidate matched a list of questionable and highly subjective attributes and that the other three did not (although they did not state how close they came). The implication is clearly that only one candidate is worth your vote and the other three need not be considered. Going so far out on a limb is clearly canvassing – if that information were to be released by an individual then it would, quite rightly, be condemned.
      It should be admitted that this election has been unfair to four of the candidates and it should be abandoned and the whole thing re-run. We are so keen to spout the four-way test at every available opportunity, this is one time to apply it and act accordingly.

    3. You are to be congratulated Peter for your attention to social media and it is pleasing that you are really the first president to embrace it. Long may it continue as it ihere to stay 🙂

      The main problem is that as there has been a formal appeal to the nomination rejection of the joint candidacy it is really not feasible for the process to continue and be fair, legal and not suffer further detriment [legal term] . in fact you coud say that the other three candidates not “recommended”have also suffered detriment.

      It is not sensible to wait until the next Gen Council meeting as this is after the voting ends and would render any outcome of the appeal unjust and unfair.

      The only way to resolve this is to immediately cancel the voting process until the outcome of the appeal which I hope will be conducted in a lawful, fair and just manner which is open and transparent.

      Let us try to get away from perpetuating this fiasco further and be sensible in the next steps …. cancel the voting and set up a proper hearing for the appeal.

      Based upon the responses so far once the majority of Rotarians are aware of what has gone on [and they will] there will be a loud and strong call for justice. in D1080 the DCM was almost unanimous

      I hope you will exercise your authority and bring this matter to a satisfactory conclusion and put some respect back into RIBI.

  11. Lindsay Pearson says:

    Just to add to Rodney’s summary, the District 1080 delegates voting for the motion, at an approximation, numbered 100, those abstaining or voting against, approximately 4, based on a quick scan round during the vote.

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