A Message to Members in London

A place to discuss the issues relating to the proposed change in the national CTC’s structure.
Regulator
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A Message to Members in London

Postby Regulator » 29 Mar 2010, 7:51am

Well, the two London Councillors (me and Helen Vecht) have composed a message to go out to all the CTC members in Greater London.

We've sent it to National Office and asked them to send it out, as they have done on behalf of other councillors. It will be interesting to see if National Office does send it out, or whether they refuse. Also, we'll wait and see if they try to amend or censor the message.

In case anyone is interested, the message appears below (please feel free to pass it on to your CTC contacts throughout the country):



A message from your CTC Councillors for London


Hello everyone

Over the next few days, the April-May copy of Cycle will be dropping on to your doormat. Along with the magazine will be the agenda for CTC’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 15 May, together with a proxy voting form. It is the AGM, and certain motions before that meeting, that we are writing to you about.

At the AGM on 15 May, Council will be asking members to agree to changes in the status of the CTC – these changes will have significant and far reaching implications for the membership and for the future of the organisation. Council wants members to authorise it to change the Club, the organisation that has existed as a membership company for over 130 years, into a charity and to merge it with the CTC Trust.

You may have noticed over the few months that there have been a lot of positive messages put out about the proposals – for example the new issue of Cycle which accompanies the AGM agenda and proxy voting paper has a pro-change article on pages 6 and 7, and subtle (and some less subtle) hints have been appearing in the weekly CTC email newsletter. There has been a ‘hard sell’ going on and, although a previous issue of Cycle had an opposing view eloquently put by Simon Legg (a former Councillor), those who may oppose the proposals have been denied full access to the resources being deployed by Council and National Office to persuade you to vote in favour.

For Council’s decision to put these proposals to the membership was not unanimous, and as more information about the possible implications for members and member groups has emerged, a number Councillors have become uneasy about the direction Council and National Office are trying to take the Club in. We are two of these Councillors and, despite a number of unfortunate attacks on the personal integrity of those councillors and former councillors who do not support the proposals, we have made our views known publicly as we believe that is what you, the members, would want.

We oppose the proposals being put forward by Council as we are of the firm opinion that they are not in the best interests of the members, the member groups or the Club. Making the CTC a charity will not restore control of the Club and the trust to members – indeed it will have the opposite effect.

Under charity law, Councillors (who would also be trustees) would have to put the wider public interest and the interests of the organisations before the concerns of members or member groups. No amount of spin or fine words from those supporting these proposals can change this simple fact. And the members of other organisations, such as the Youth Hostelling Association, have found to their cost that the lure of supposed tax breaks doesn’t make up for losing control of your club.

There is also the issue of Club and Trust finances. These are far from transparent but it is clear that the Club is pumping in large amounts of members’ money to ensure that the Trust is able to balance its books - £453,051 in the last financial year alone. This is addition to the £407,000 paid by the Club for services provided to it by the Trust.

Council and National Office have assured the membership that the finances are in fine fettle, and they have made much about offering a meeting on the accounts to those with concerns. But we have to report that this meeting was far from successful. National Office and Council were not able to adequately explain the finances and the figures they were putting forward as supporting the proposal to change the Club to a charity did not stand up to scrutiny. These are not just our views – but those of an expert accountant who was at that meeting.

Council has tried to suggest that those who are opposing the changes are doing so for nefarious reasons. This is not the case. Those who have concerns over the proposals (us included) simply believe that there is a better way forward for CTC and that, with proper governance and clearer accountability, the present structure can be made to work properly and in the best interests of members.

We would urge all members to consider the proposals very carefully. Look at all the information that is available and take care to look behind the spins and rhetoric. You might also find it useful to look at the discussions on the CTC’s forums (http://forum.ctc.org.uk) or the information available on the Save the CTC web-site (http://www.savethectc.org.uk).

Please bear in mind that the changes being proposed by Council – if agreed and enacted – will be irreversible. You are being asked to take a step that will not only affect you and your family, but future generations of CTC members.

Our personal recommendation to members is that they should vote against Motions 8, 9 and 10 at this year’s AGM.

But whatever you do, and whichever way you decide to vote, please ensure that you do vote in this AGM. If you are unable to attend the AGM itself in Loughborough on 15 May, please use your proxy vote. If you haven’t received a form you can ask for one from National Office.

This is your club and your chance to have a say in its future! Please make sure you vote.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us. Greg’s e-mail is greg.price@ctc.org.uk and his telephone number is 07986 217852. Helen’s e-mail is helen.vecht@ctc.org.uk

Kind regards

Greg Price and Helen Vecht
CTC Councillors for Greater London

Regulator
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Re: A Message to Members in London

Postby Regulator » 2 Apr 2010, 9:09am

Surprise, surprise... National Office hasn't sent the message out - and there's been no reason given. We'd guess that the Chair of Council stopped it going out as he doesn't want to play fair with the AGM rapidly approaching (as his column in the recent issue of Cycle showed).

This is obviously such subversive propaganda that the Dear Leader thought that it shouldn't see the light of day... :roll:

When will they learn? :roll:

John Catt
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Re: A Message to Members in London

Postby John Catt » 4 Apr 2010, 11:23am

Regulator wrote:Surprise, surprise... National Office hasn't sent the message out - and there's been no reason given. We'd guess that the Chair of Council stopped it going out as he doesn't want to play fair with the AGM rapidly approaching (as his column in the recent issue of Cycle showed).

This is obviously such subversive propaganda that the Dear Leader thought that it shouldn't see the light of day... :roll:

When will they learn? :roll:


I wouldn't get too concerned yet. It took a week for my message (see http://witherthectc.blogspot.com/2010/02/message-to-ctc-members-in-east-midlands.html ) to be sent out. At present someone at NO has to go in and extract the email addresses.

I'm hoping that eventually councillors and groups will have a facility to email out from a ctc address to relevant members, but I'm told that this could involve the CTC being listed as a spammer. So we may need to put our thinking caps on.

Regards,

John

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Si
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Re: A Message to Members in London

Postby Si » 4 Apr 2010, 11:28am

but I'm told that this could involve the CTC being listed as a spammer.


how does that differ from NewsNet then? Or are they suggesting that NewsNet is different because you have to sign up to it, and the councillors/Groups mails would just be shot out to all people in that area (however, is it not the case that on joining the CTC you give NO your email address with the knowledge that it will be used for such purposes?).

workhard

Re: A Message to Members in London

Postby workhard » 4 Apr 2010, 1:57pm

John Catt wrote:I'm hoping that eventually councillors and groups will have a facility to email out from a ctc address to relevant members, but I'm told that this could involve the CTC being listed as a spammer. So we may need to put our thinking caps on.


LMAO. That's even better than the DPA excuse. So, so lame. Which century are these people actually in?

Makes you wonder how large charities manage to email their supporter base without getting blacklisted as spammers doesn't it.

drossall
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Re: A Message to Members in London

Postby drossall » 4 Apr 2010, 4:50pm

workhard wrote:
John Catt wrote:I'm hoping that eventually councillors and groups will have a facility to email out from a ctc address to relevant members, but I'm told that this could involve the CTC being listed as a spammer.


... Makes you wonder how large charities manage to email their supporter base without getting blacklisted as spammers doesn't it.


It's challenging. Remember that you have no control over the people who blacklist you as a spammer; they do it because you fit their definition. The Internet is a bit anarchic like that. If you send lots of similar-looking messages to lots of their users (because lots of your members are their users), that's enough for some people, and spammer you are. There are lots of ways now for them to tell other people that you are a spammer too.

The easiest way to avoid getting your domain blacklisted is to use a special one (but then it wouldn't be a normal CTC address...)

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gaz
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Re: A Message to Members in London

Postby gaz » 4 Apr 2010, 9:16pm

In the latest Cycle, on the same page as the "pro" arguments, is an offer for members to be entered into a prize draw for Wiggle vouchers if they provide or update their e-mail address. This is because "If we don’t have your current email address on our system, you are missing out on CTC’s weekly e-newsletter ‘Newsnet’ and other important online communications and offers."

So do I congratulate National Office for their innovative efforts to increase the number of e-mail addresses held, or should I be more cynical about their motives?
2020 : To redundancy ... and beyond!

Regulator
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Re: A Message to Members in London

Postby Regulator » 6 Apr 2010, 2:14pm

Funnily enough, after a little adverse publicity and a few complaints, the message from London Councillors has now been sent out, albeit it with the following 'introduction' from National Office:

The message below and attached is to all CTC members in the London area, sent by CTC National Office on behalf of Greg Price and Helen Vecht, Council members representing London. The letter represents the personal views of these two members of Council and members should be aware is contrary to the resolution approved by Council as a whole.


They can't quite break the spin habit, even in that statement. The resolution was not approved by Council as a whole... :roll:

workhard

Re: A Message to Members in London

Postby workhard » 6 Apr 2010, 9:02pm

drossall wrote:
workhard wrote:... Makes you wonder how large charities manage to email their supporter base without getting blacklisted as spammers doesn't it.


It's challenging. ...

.... The easiest way to avoid getting your domain blacklisted is to use a special one (but then it wouldn't be a normal CTC address...)


Not getting blacklisted is a piece of cake, as is spoofing the sender address. Getting unblacklisted is inconvenient but easily done. And hardly any of the blacklisters rely solely on end user reporting. It is all about being proactive and planning your e-mail marketing/communication strategy accordingly.

Never had a domain I managed blacklisted on my watch yet....

thirdcrank
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Re: A Message to Members in London

Postby thirdcrank » 6 Apr 2010, 9:42pm

John Catt wrote:[ ... I'm told that this could involve the CTC being listed as a spammer. ...


Now that the message in question has gone out, I feel less inhibited about hijacking this thread by commenting on the technicalities etc. The whole spam thing generally is beyond me but if it is suggested that this was the reason why some emails were initially not sent when others giving the opposite view had been, I have to say it sounds like nonsense. Is it really suggested that if CTC members receive an an email from the CTC, they are likely to bleat spam? Even more absurdly, is it suggested that those who receive something arguing against the charity conversion proposal will be particularly outraged?

As I've noted before, the stock reaction to the stuff from pro-councillors has been to circulate it even more widely, but adorned with a laugh.

drossall
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Re: A Message to Members in London

Postby drossall » 6 Apr 2010, 9:54pm

workhard - depends on whether you are thinking of blacklisting by local administrators or more widely?

workhard

Re: A Message to Members in London

Postby workhard » 7 Apr 2010, 8:18am

drossall wrote:workhard - depends on whether you are thinking of blacklisting by local administrators or more widely?


I was thinking of spamhaus, spamcop, style blacklists, etc.. What local sysadms do on their own systems is their own affair and probably governed by their own or their employers IT policies about appropriate use.

AndyK
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Re: A Message to Members in London

Postby AndyK » 7 Apr 2010, 1:31pm

workhard wrote:
drossall wrote:workhard - depends on whether you are thinking of blacklisting by local administrators or more widely?


I was thinking of spamhaus, spamcop, style blacklists, etc.. What local sysadms do on their own systems is their own affair and probably governed by their own or their employers IT policies about appropriate use.


Yes, there is a risk there. A good mailing-list service will let you check your email for spam-worthiness before you send it, minimising the chances of sending content that spam filters will misinterpret. There's nothing to stop the CTC using a managed mailing-list subscription service, then giving councillors and group secretaries limited access to it. You could give, say, a London area councillor the ability to mail members in his area without being able to see the individual email addresses, avoiding any spurious data protection arguments. I'd be happy to help with setting that up if there's no-one in HQ who knows how to...

charming
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Re: A Message to Members in London

Postby charming » 12 Apr 2010, 8:07pm

Can someone advise on proxy voting please? Do I proximate 'The chair of the meeting' or one of our London named councillors who oppose. Or doesn't it make any difference?

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gaz
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Re: A Message to Members in London

Postby gaz » 12 Apr 2010, 9:05pm

TC summed it up well on another thread.

thirdcrank wrote:
Regulator wrote:...If you can't attend the AGM then make sure you use your proxy vote. That way you will have a real chance to oppose and have a say.


And at the risk of stating the hemorrhaging obvious, be careful how you complete the form. If you don't specifically nominate a proxy and leave the choices blank, you are as good as voting 'yes.' If you do want to vote 'no' mark the 'no' boxes and nominate a committed 'no' voting proxy (as listed on the savethectc site.) That covers the possibility of a trojan horse arriving on the agenda under the cover of darkness.


thirdcrank wrote:
Regulator wrote:...Yep. But I must stress, as I have said before, I have no reason to believe that someone from the the pro-camp would act in such a manner.


I'd be the last person to suggest there might be some form of vote-rigging or malpractice but there are at least two circumstances where a proxy vote could end up being cast "perfectly legally" in a way that the voter did not expect. I tried to cover this in my advice above, without spelling it out.

AFAIK:-

1. If you name a proxy who then does not attend the meeting, your proxy passes to the chair of the meeting, unless you have deleted the chair on the form as well as writing in the name of your proxy. The chair must then follow the voter's instructions on the form, but if they have left it open, trusting the discretion of their proxy, then they would end up giving that same discretion to the chair.

2. I cannot now remember the wording, but the proxy form gives the authority to vote on any other business properly coming before the meeting. That is what I meant by trojan horse.


TC's good at this sort of stuff. I reckon his advice is sound.
2020 : To redundancy ... and beyond!