Friday, 3 April 2009

The Greenwich Society Through The Looking Glass

On 29 January 2009, a Special General Meeting of the Greenwich Society considered a Resolution proposed by Sir Frank Berman, seconded by Michael Goldman, and supported by at least 69 members of the Society: to oppose the holding of the Olympic 2012 cross country equestrian event in Greenwich Park. (The other two major amenity societies - The Blackheath Society and the Westcombe Park Society - had already supported the resolution.)

To the world outside of Greenwich, the Greenwich Society sounds important, so naturally the Chaiman of the Society, Tim Barnes, was diligent about ensuring that the outcome of the meeting would be one that pleased the Government. To this end, Tim Barnes not only opposed the resolution - and his opposition was seconded by the Secretary - but also chaired the meeting. He generously allowed many comments from the floor, not quite all of them from well-primed Executive Committee members who obediently followed the "whip".

Some welcome light relief was provided by the Secretary who was permitted to make an impassioned appeal for "public spiritedness", although the relevance of this to the resolution and/or the objects of the Society eluded most who heard her.

But the organisation of the voting was what will live on in Greenwich folklore for generations to come. Unusually, the ballot papers did not record votes For or Against the resolution but Yeses and Noes, and this ensured that some people voted the opposite way to the one they intended. Even so, it must have appeared to the Chair and Secretary that, despite all the command-and-control procedures, the result might still go "the wrong way" and therefore, in an exciting re-enactment of life in pre-Olympics Athenean societies, couples who held one Society membership between them were nevertheless allowed two votes, one each.

At the end of the evening, having by these creative devices achieved the result that would make the Minister happy - 86 to 58 against the resolution - Tim Barnes and the local MP rambled off together into the sunset: mission accomplished. MG/RM


More NOGOE nonsense said...

I dont remember you being this dismissive of the Greenwich Society when they originally backed NOGOE's motion some months earlier.

Funny that...

Anonymous said...

Sadly the Greenwich Society, "Friends" hahahaha of Greenwich Park & The Westcombe Society are not equipped to deal with the likes of the Olympic Delivery Authority - these antiquated little societies are terribly good at organising delightfully posh summer garden parties for each other & the local geriatrics but really the whole Olympic issue is above their competency levels and the fact they were consulted in the first place was part of Nick Raynsford & Greenwich Council's idea of "Consultation" aka "Nobbling" - they are merely clubs for the retired and semi-retired in "Nice" houses in a Greenwich which no longer exists. Barmy. They DO NOT represent even a SMALL minority of The Borough. The trouble will come when the common majority revolt - it will be too late for LOCOG to relocate. Thousands are prepared to lie in front of bulldozers but they won't quite know how to protest until then because there are no facts..........embarrassing all round I'd say......ring side seats anyone?? :-)