CTC political campaigning

jahs
Posts: 2
Joined: 24 Nov 2015, 4:48pm

CTC political campaigning

Postby jahs » 24 Nov 2015, 5:10pm

Hi all, I just sent this to CTC and I'd like to repost here to stimulate discussion regarding CTC's political activities.

"Hi, I'm a member and today I've just noticed that the CTC is endorsing the "People's March for Climate, Justice and Jobs" as shown at http://climatejusticejobs.org.uk/partner-organisations/.

Regardless of one's opinion on the march or its aims, it troubles me that CTC has chosen to support such a political march. As the "national cycling charity" I believe it is core to CTC's purpose to remain an apolitical, "big tent" organisation. Entering into association with fringe left wing political parties and pressure groups tends to alienate the "silent majority" who are moderate, or going by the last election, centre-right.

Please could you reconsider your support for this, and other, political activities. I would prefer to remain in an apolitical CTC which simply focuses on cycle touring."

Thanks.

User avatar
Graham
Moderator
Posts: 6489
Joined: 14 Dec 2006, 8:48pm

Re: CTC political campaigning

Postby Graham » 24 Nov 2015, 6:18pm

Good for the CTC.

This demo appears to be very congruent with cyclists interests.

A very wide range of supporting organisations from every part of the political spectrum. Some not even one iota political.

Thanks for bringing this to my/our attention. I might have missed it otherwise. :wink:

bluemootwo
Posts: 101
Joined: 21 Aug 2015, 7:14am

Re: CTC political campaigning

Postby bluemootwo » 24 Nov 2015, 7:18pm

I share Jahs' concerns. Look at what is happening to the RSPCA now - it has become politicised and is in real trouble. Stick to your core business - there is plenty to do there without jumping onto other bandwagons.

User avatar
Heltor Chasca
Posts: 3016
Joined: 30 Aug 2014, 8:18pm
Location: Near Bath & The Mendips in Somerset

Re: CTC political campaigning

Postby Heltor Chasca » 24 Nov 2015, 7:28pm

Welcome to the forum jahs. Interesting 1st post.

I'm in support of CTC being part of this march too. In various guises I support some of the other organisations too. As CTC is an 'organism' of sorts, I think it's pertinent to team up with like minded organisations. We can all all share and transfer our skills and knowledge. Didn't yuppies call this networking?

Should an individual stick to one hobby or professional skill for life? Dull.

Psamathe
Posts: 12261
Joined: 10 Jan 2014, 8:56pm

Re: CTC political campaigning

Postby Psamathe » 24 Nov 2015, 8:18pm

A difficult one (and I'm no longer a CTC member so it has nothing to do with me anyway).

Difficult because I support the aims of the specific campaign so am naturally positive and the more people joining in the better, etc. However, what if CTC were political campaigning on e.g. Sunday Opening, Trident, etc. i.e. giving their support to a campaign (many) members might not agree with. OK, examples given are unlikely to be pursued by the CTC but there is something of a continuum when it comes to "being within your remit" and there will invariably be members who will disagree with the CTC stance (e.g. I can think of one or two CTC members on this forum who may easily be unhappy about the aims of the campaign the CTC is supporting).

Last year I had a "letter writing" time with another organisation I was a member of who decided to support the introduction of GM crops (in a general manner which has major political aspects). They had some justification in that they were "qualified" to have input on the biological safety and impact aspects. But the subject of GM is far far broader than the part they were getting involved in and I am in no doubt that a significant part of their membership did not agree with the support they were giving. They were providing political support "beyond their remit".

Ian

Vorpal
Moderator
Posts: 18752
Joined: 19 Jan 2009, 3:34pm
Location: Not there ;)

Re: CTC political campaigning

Postby Vorpal » 24 Nov 2015, 8:56pm

How, other than politics, should the CTC work for a better cycling environment in the UK and more funding for cycling initiatives?
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

User avatar
Heltor Chasca
Posts: 3016
Joined: 30 Aug 2014, 8:18pm
Location: Near Bath & The Mendips in Somerset

Re: CTC political campaigning

Postby Heltor Chasca » 24 Nov 2015, 9:01pm

Vorpal wrote:How, other than politics, should the CTC work for a better cycling environment in the UK and more funding for cycling initiatives?


+1....or there's my imagined utopia: Can I be in charge of cycle-brainwashing and enforced cycle commuting instead of tax?

Yehuda Moon said, "Riding a bike in our car-normal society is like being a button in a Velcro world."

Psamathe
Posts: 12261
Joined: 10 Jan 2014, 8:56pm

Re: CTC political campaigning

Postby Psamathe » 24 Nov 2015, 9:07pm

Vorpal wrote:How, other than politics, should the CTC work for a better cycling environment in the UK and more funding for cycling initiatives?

To me it is a broad range where some campaigns are clearly within their remit (related to cycling) but there are other things that are maybe more marginal and some campaign that would clearly be outside their remit. And I suppose it depends where on that range any given campaign falls as to how many will disagree with their involvement.

But there are quite a few ways that can also work to create a better cycling environment. For example, the work their Technical Officer did on quick release mudguards (no politics yet improving safety), cyclist education and training, etc. Not that they should be constrained to completely non political stuff, but there are certainly plenty of non-political things they can do as well.

Ian

bluemootwo
Posts: 101
Joined: 21 Aug 2015, 7:14am

Re: CTC political campaigning

Postby bluemootwo » 24 Nov 2015, 9:11pm

I would like the CTC to campaign for better secure facilities at stations and more space for bikes on trains. For safer junctions for cyclists. Better route marking. Cycle to school schemes. A "red-Amber means bikes can go but not cars yet" campaign. The removal of the plethora of markings and street furniture that makes urban roads less safe for us all. The normalisation of cycling so we are not expected to wear iridescent clothes and a plastic hat. You know, cycling stuff. Not climate, justice or jobs. I mean, I like a nice climate as much as anyone. Justice is great! And having a job is splendid of course. But I think this looks like the CTC getting into that pernicious modern trend called 'virtue signalling."

User avatar
Graham
Moderator
Posts: 6489
Joined: 14 Dec 2006, 8:48pm

Re: CTC political campaigning

Postby Graham » 24 Nov 2015, 9:23pm

For the purposes of this topic, perhaps we need to define what "politics" means . . . . .
I borrowed this from Wikipedia to give the a sense of what it means to me . . .
Wikipedia wrote:Informal Politics is understood as forming alliances, exercising power and protecting and advancing particular ideas or goals. Generally, this includes anything affecting one's daily life, such as the way an office or household is managed, or how one person or group exercises influence over another. Informal Politics is typically understood as everyday politics, hence the idea that "politics is everywhere"

irc
Posts: 4831
Joined: 3 Dec 2008, 2:22pm
Location: glasgow

Re: CTC political campaigning

Postby irc » 24 Nov 2015, 10:05pm

jahs wrote:Entering into association with fringe left wing political parties and pressure groups tends to alienate the "silent majority" who are moderate, or going by the last election, centre-right.


I agree. Though as I'm no longer a CTC member I've no dog in the fight.

As for the aims of the march? Well everyone I know seems to be happy using their gas central heating, their diesel/petrol cars, their foreign holidays, and using electricity provided mainly by fossil fuel and nuclear. I suspect most marchers will be the same.

bluemootwo
Posts: 101
Joined: 21 Aug 2015, 7:14am

Re: CTC political campaigning

Postby bluemootwo » 24 Nov 2015, 10:37pm

Much easier to march and wave a banner than actually do something : http://theafterword.co.uk/virtue-signalling-is-a-thing/

Vorpal
Moderator
Posts: 18752
Joined: 19 Jan 2009, 3:34pm
Location: Not there ;)

Re: CTC political campaigning

Postby Vorpal » 25 Nov 2015, 6:40am

We had a whole thread on virtue signalling viewtopic.php?f=15&t=101400

If you think that's what the CTC is doing, feel free to join another organisation.

But there are lots of Right to Ride representatives who work very hard for improvements in the cycling environment. You may never see what they are doing, or realise that you see the results of their work. But they deal every day with local authorities, contractors and government agencies about projects in their areas, improvement plans, safe routes to school and other things, and I think they would very much resent
bluemootwo wrote:Much easier to march and wave a banner than actually do something
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

bluemootwo
Posts: 101
Joined: 21 Aug 2015, 7:14am

Re: CTC political campaigning

Postby bluemootwo » 25 Nov 2015, 6:46am

Exactly - those activities are what is core to CTC, and we can keep them on the straight and narrow by raising concerns when they get tempted away from that path into flag-waving territory.

jahs
Posts: 2
Joined: 24 Nov 2015, 4:48pm

Re: CTC political campaigning

Postby jahs » 25 Nov 2015, 3:48pm

Thanks for your replies and kind welcome. It is good to know that others (bluemootwo, Psamathe, irc) share my concerns.

My motivation for raising this is not to disparage the march (or other political events), but out of concern for CTC to appeal to the broadest possible audience. I do have a lot of affection for the CTC, given its history, culture and most of all the volunteers that make it all happen. It would be a shame if members felt they had to choose between the CTC and their conscience and, as a result, leave.

I agree with Psamathe, in that I would say this is a specific example of a more general point, that it is good practice for any organisation to try to avoid offending the conscience of its members/shareholders/customers. Instead of adopting a position on a non-core issue, it would be better to remain silent and claim that not to do so would be "ultra vires". In other words, an organisational equivalent of being polite and not talking politics over dinner. Or indeed, on a bike ride!

As to the specific event, I don't know if this will feature a disruptive, violent element (as other similar marches have done in the past) but obviously if it did this would reflect poorly on CTC.

If I may address some of the replies:

Graham says the march is congruent with cyclists' interests and has support from organisations spanning the political spectrum. I must admit I do have trouble seeing this. Purely with a cyclist's hat on, what is relevant? Perhaps the lobbying element in the march calling for transport spending on cycle infrastructure. Though I have to say I'm in the camp that views fixing potholes to be the most important task for transport infrastructure, before creating cycle lanes etc. but I can understand how others disagree. I may have missed it as there are organisations listed that I am unaware of, and I do agree some organisations are apolitical, but many do appear to be left or far-left wing. I didn't see any on the economically liberal end of the spectrum.

Heltor Chasca says this is good for CTC to "network" with other similar organisations and for an individual to stick to one thing for life is dull. If this were a cycling march with organisations such as Sustrans etc. then I would agree and not see this as such of a problem. However, how many of the organisations listed have a similar core mission, i.e. specifically related to cycle touring and cycling? They appear to be predominantly trade unions, political parties, tax/regulation lobbying groups etc. It may be dull, but I believe an organisation like the CTC, rather than an individual, should indeed stick to one thing. By contrast, as individuals we of course can, and should, do many things - but in a personal capacity or through multiple organisations, each with a clearly defined purpose.

Vorpal asks how other than politics should CTC campaign, and Graham asks what is meant by "politics". I should be more precise here that I intended to mean "political" not in the informal sense that Graham sites, but in the more formal sense of "the influence, acquisition and control of state power, and so ultimately, threats and use of the monopoly of violence". So we have four possible types of campaign - either the "end" being a core or non-core issue, and the "means" being either civil society or the state. I see the march as being in the most troublesome and indeed objectionable "non-core/state" zone. By contrast I would prefer CTC to stay within the "core/civil" zone. An example of this could be an awareness campaign to show how capable even unfit people are on bicycles, encouraging them to cycle to school or work, or providing cycle training. Calling for spending on cycle infrastructure comes into the "core/state" bucket, which I personally dislike but concede is a necessary evil, and many people hold different views on this. The last, "non-core/civil" zone may alienate people but is less offensive than state lobbying.

Thanks.