Saturday, June 19, 2010

One member, one vote

It's ten years or so since I was last at the Erskine Bridge Hotel. The occasion then was a Glasgow University Medical Students' Final Year Dinner. A great night, happy memories.

Today, I did wonder if my visit back to Erskine for the AGM of the Royal Caledonian Curling Club would be anything like as enjoyable! As it turned out, it was a good day.

Prior to the meeting, several Past Presidents pose for a photo.

Photographer Jim Law had more difficulty marshalling members of the Areas Standing Committee!

It was a big day for the incoming President, Robbie Scott, here taking a moment or two to go over his notes, with his wife Kathleen on hand for support.

The meeting itself was well attended. One hundred and ninety-three members were at the meeting. Some had already voted by post, and only 128 of those in the hall had a vote to cast. A total of 593 members had voted by post or left proxies.

The meeting was efficiently run and business was concluded in a little over ninety minutes.

So what happened? For a start, for the first time in my memory, no letter was received from the Royal Patron. A delay? An oversight? Who knows. Perhaps Scotland's curling governing body is about to become just the 'Caledonian Curling Club'!

Grand Match Committee Chairman Jim Paterson was invited to speak following the CEO's report. Yet more reasons emerged why the attempt to hold the Grand Match on the Lake of Menteith last January ended in failure. Apparently the unknown number of spectators is a problem. Thousands crowding on to the ice amongst the curlers could cause the ice to collapse. You might think that restricting access to the ice would be the answer, and indeed this was suggested. However, it was pointed out that because the Lake of Menteith lies within a National Park it would not be possible to prevent the public's legal right to roam, even on to the ice!

Jim emphasised that if, in the future, the Grand Match could be held at either of the Club's preferred venues, Loch Leven or Piper Dam, spectators would be strictly controlled and would not have access to the ice itself.

A commitment was obtained that the minutes of the Grand Match Committee will be posted on the Royal Club website.

The proposal by Dalbeattie Ladies CC to change Bye-Law 1.6 to remove the requirement for clubs to purchase copies of the Annual received the necessary support.

I already mentioned that I disagreed with one section within Special Resolution 2 which suggested that the list of the Royal Club's possessions (books, paintings, historical artefacts and records for example) should be "Deleted for security reasons. The Royal Club does not think it is wise to publish a list of valuable artefacts." I spoke up in an attempt to convince those present, including the Board, that it is important that the club keep a record of all its possessions, especially things that have been donated recently, available for the members to see and appreciate.

We all discovered that there is a list, but just how complete this is was not clear. Anyway, it can be consulted at Cairnie House. Apparently.

The proposal went to a vote. Although rejected by the majority in the hall, the proposal still passed (480 for, 88 against), the postal votes and proxies carrying the day. At least though the topic got a good airing, and the other important changes in Proposal 2 were not held up.

The exercise illustrated an important point for the future. If there are controversial decisions to be made, which could be influenced by discussion and debate on the day of the meeting, the outcome could still be decided simply by members exercising their right to vote, or leaving proxies, IN ADVANCE of the meeting. I must admit that it is a consequence of the 'one member, one vote' that I had not considered until now.

But today, everything else continued smoothly. Robbie Scott was duly elected as President. Pat Edington is the Vice-president.

In the election for the two directors positions on the Board, Kay Gibb received 463 votes, Trevor Dodds polled 434, and Bill Marshall will be disappointed as the one to lose out with 296 votes.

And here's an informal pic of Trevor and Kay after the meeting.

Look out for an official report of the AGM on the Royal Club website in due course.

It was great to see so many friends at the Erskine Bridge Hotel today. And after witnessing curling democracy in action, it was a pleasant run home!

Pics © Skip Cottage