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Itís your BMC, and we need your vote (Read 7819 times)

shark

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Itís your BMC, and we need your vote
May 21, 2018, 02:28:19 pm
Itís your BMC, and we need your vote

(Info on how to vote is here)

Climbing, hill walking and mountaineering are changing. We need your help to shape the future of your BMC.

Thereís never been a better time to be a climber, hill walker or mountaineer. Itís never been easier to take part Ė at walls, on the rock and in the hills and mountains.  Weíve got the most advanced kit ever and technology can do everything weíve ever dreamed of.

Did you know that more people now go climbing, hill walking and mountaineering than play football? Weíre now the fifth biggest participation sport in the UK: with almost 2 million hill walkers, around 100,000 outdoor climbers and 170,000 indoor climbers.

Your BMC is growing too. Weíve come a long way since 1944, when Geoffrey Winthrop Young Ė leading climber, mountaineer and president of the Alpine Club Ė had a vision: to create an organisation, open to everyone, to represent all ďmountaineersĒ.

Nearly 75 years on, we remain true to his values, and consequently our activities are constantly developing: from owning crags to nurturing future talent; from raising over £300,000 to mend mountain footpaths to organising courses to help young people make the move outdoors.

Weíre not the same organisation we were in 1944, 1984 or even 2004. As the world moves forward, the BMC needs to evolve to move with it Ė to stay relevant and speak for everyone with one clear voice.

The latest step in our evolution was an organisational review last year, when an independent panel looked at how well our organisation and decision-making currently worked. They came back with a whole range of recommendations on how we should adapt to continue to meet the needs of over 80,000 members.

Now itís your turn

This year, weíre asking members to vote on some important changes to our constitution (our Articles of Association: the legal document that sets out what the BMC does and how it operates). These changes stem from the organisational review, and have been developed by the BMCís National Council in consultation with membership as the best way forward for the organisation.

You can vote on two options: Option A (the formal recommendation of the BMCís National Council) or Option B (developed by a group of BMC members as their alternative).

Voting for Option A

This is the version formally recommended by the BMCís National Council and Board of Directors. Their view is that the BMC will be stronger and better by focusing on being an umbrella body for all mountaineers with transparent and clear governance that allows members, volunteers and staff to work collaboratively to ensure the best outcomes for all members. It will clarify organisational decision-making, increase transparency and ensure we comply with company law. It will put in place a high standard of organisational governance (meaning that good decisions are made by, and for, members). Together with our partners in Mountain Training and the climbing wall sector, it will ensure we remain eligible to receive government funding under the Sport England Tier 3 funding stream: the highest level of funding available to us.

READ: The full PDF version here

Voting for Option B

This revised version of the constitution has been developed by a group of BMC members as an alternative which would mean fewer changes to the way the BMC works and would retain a similar representational and decision-making structure to that which has operated within the BMC for the past 20-30 years or more. Under such a structure the BMC would no longer be eligible to apply for Tier 3 funding and our partners in Mountain Training and the climbing wall sector would have to apply for support individually under alternative (Tier 1) funding streams.

READ: The full PDF version here

Itís time to vote

This year, every vote really does count Ė so please take a few minutes to complete the online form.

In order for a new constitution to be formally agreed, 75% of the votes must be cast in favour of either Options A or B.

The BMC has made its formal recommendation for Option A, and the final decision is up to you Ė our members.

Have your say Ė vote today and help set your BMC on the right course for the future.

tk421a

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Voted.
What happens if neither 9a or 9b get 75% of the vote?
Thanks for posting updates on this.

shark

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Voted.
What happens if neither 9a or 9b get 75% of the vote?
Thanks for posting updates on this.

Consultations and machinations leading to redrafted motion(s) presented at an EGM for a further member vote I expect. 

Offwidth

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I'm becoming increasingly worried about the lack of public communication from the Option B folk. The BMC are facing a huge variety of questions on Option A and getting quite a bit of stick at times on their communications on that. For Option B we still don't know which of the 44 proposers are left backing it (there is an unoffical list on UKC showing those pulling out are more than those remaining,  with about  third left to contact). Worse still, there is no clear indication that the option is even Sport England compliant. This is easy enough to confirm if true : so why hasn't it been done? Next, all the argument from the likes of Andy Say and gallam (ie Rodney Gallagher), the only two so far still commenting on UKC as proposers in support of Option B, claim it retains the democracy of the BMC. These are emotive words but in the rules, ALL Tiers of Sport England compliance give the Board primacy (decision making responsibility) and although Option A has numerous carefully negotiated safeguards to retain as much membership input and control as possible in such circumstances, Option B appears to have none of these. Until confirmed otherwise, under Sport England rules, it looks much worse than Option B for member democratic input. How do we ask questions of those making these proposals to hold them to account before the vote closes? On UKC Andy Say just dodges the questions and obfuscates.

This is all highly reminicent of the MoNC, where dirty tricks like secret communication of misinformation mainly recruited their sizable number of proxy votes; as Bob turned down most serious possibilities for public debate (including not submitting anything for  Summit when asked on at least 2 occasions). This was soundly defeated partly due to a campaign online and at climbing walls. This year there is no campaign as yet. Because of this I strongly urge people to vote, whatever your views, so that the BMC democratic position is more honest. I also think we need a rule change in the BMC such that motions need to be clear, fact checked by some independant party, have clear opportunity for debate before and AGM and be confirmed to be retaining the neccesary level of named proposers to the point that they are delivered at the AGM.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2018, 09:43:34 am by Offwidth »

petejh

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I've a certain amount of sympathy with anyone from 'the other' camp not wanting the online hordes of ukc (and ukb) to question their stance. From what I can tell they've set out their position and you can vote on it or not. That's democracy isn't it, nobody said you have to be held there to be questioned by those who disagree with your opinion.

Sick to death of the whole BMC politics debate, as I've no doubt most others are if they were even interested in the first place. I think I'm at the point of not caring what happens in the vote. Climbing in all its forms will continue with or without a functioning BMC. That's the good thing about climbing - it doesn't require an organising body to facilitate it. No building of tennis courts or velodromes or cycle lanes required. No sports coaches needed. No funding streams. Only access to the countryside and a keen partner for those curious enough to want to try it. Access is the number one priority. If the BMC fell apart tomorrow - which it won't, because the core of what they do has the support of most climbers - then a climber's access group would spring up out of the wreckage. The important stuff would get taken up and the rest - sport england tier one/tier three funding and ''being the official umbrella body of climbing'' etc. - can die off for all I care.

habrich

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Access is the number one priority. If the BMC fell apart tomorrow - which it won't, because the core of what they do has the support of most climbers - then a climber's access group would spring up out of the wreckage.

+1

I think I have banged on about this before but here in Canada we have local access groups (currently I head up the Squamish one - still puzzled as to how that happened) ... and that's it. We don't even have a national body like the US's Access Fund. It seems to work just fine. The notion that insurance, guidebooks, comps, training and god knows what else belong under the same umbrella as access work would raise eyebrows here.

petejh

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Quite right. It's partly knowledge of the US and Canadian system that makes me quizzical of the need for the BMC in its current and proposed form. The more I think about the BMC and some people's reactions to the last couple of years of debate the more I think it's an organisation that's become too self-important and self-interested, and I wouldn't be against it being smaller and with less remit and lower funding, not larger.

jwi

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It's not like NA access work is in any way impressive. Most everywhere in NA climbers can barely hold on to access to public land!
« Last Edit: May 26, 2018, 07:25:07 pm by jwi »

Offwidth

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Exactly. The US is disastrous at times for access and many major areas haven't had a guidebook in print for well over a decade. National and state parks too often completely set agendas, often anti climbing. Lack of affordable insurance alongside their health system leads to regular social media campaigns to help famous climbers afford  medical bills.  The major bright spots are where people work together on things like access or safety in a proto BMC format.

The BMC umbrella includes indoor walls, mountain training, clubs, land management (Craig Y Forwen next on the purchase list hopefully) mountain heritage and government funding and lobbying power. This is a fabulous set up when it works well and recent hicups have mainly been down to a small minority of old trouble makers  rather than any mass dissatisfaction evident from member surveys. The biggest problem in the BMC itself is a small number of honest mistakes made by the National Council. The current Option A seems to me to strengthen both Board control and mass membership input (through a Memoramdum of Understanding negotiated with the likes of Crag Jones and Jonathon White) so future mistakes like Climb Britain become very unlikely. I think the old trouble makers are more afraid of the Olympics, Hill Walking and mass member interference in their individual influence than governance niceties.

I'm amazed some people think its democratically OK to have Option B with no clear list of who still backs it (so members can question them)  and that claims are being made (mainly in private email lists like the MoNC nonsense again) seemingly  in direct contradiction of the Tier 1 Board primacy required to be Sport England compliant (which they say it is with no confirmation from SE). By the time the AGM comes round and someone actually speaks formally to the option, it is very unlikely those who can afford to attend,  will be able to swing anything (given how proxys are already seemingly well over average attendance). If we had live votes at the AGM that might have been possible but we don't.. electronic proxies close on June 14th.

jwi

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No one who deem any one of the factors access, crag maintenance, competition climbing, gear safety, guidebooks, or youth development important would conclude that it is better to organise according to the US model than the French, the Japanese, or indeed the British model. All those factors are more or less catastrophic [in the US] compared to most of the rest of the advanced climbing nations. If you want to exert pressure: organise in as large groups as possible. A thousand likeminded people is a sect, hundred thousand likeminded people is a politically important pressure group.

Muenchener

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True in general, but as a slight counter example the DAV is a large, wealthy & influential organisation with a hundred thousand memebers in the greater Munich area alone. And yet outside the actual Alps the access situation for rock climbing in most of the rest of Germany is a catastrophe.

Some argue that this is because the DAV is *too* large, wealthy and influential and more interested in hillwalking and running huts & trekking holidays (and climbing walls, these days) than in climbing as such; others that large, weatlhy & influential though the DAV may be, conservationists and hunters are poltiically connected and more influential.

Either way, I suppose without an effective national organisation matters could be even worse.

habrich

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No one who deem any one of the factors access, crag maintenance, competition climbing, gear safety, guidebooks, or youth development important would conclude that it is better to organise according to the US model than the French, the Japanese, or indeed the British model. All those factors are more or less catastrophic [in the US] compared to most of the rest of the advanced climbing nations.

I am surprised by this conclusion. In the US, the Access Fund is a large and well funded group. If they have not always won their battles, I would say that reflects the wider spread of political ideologies in the US compared to Europe. There are significant portions of the Republican party who have the same disdain for recreational land protection as they do for, say, a publicly-funded health system.

For the same sort of reason, access to climbing in Canada is generally excellent. Outdoor recreation is close to being the national religion (and MEC our church).  But we still have nothing resembling the BMC and no perceived need.

petejh

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I'm surprised you think that Offwidth. Can't say I agree based on my limited knowledge but maybe I'm out of date regards the US. Canada however, nothing at all wrong with their access setup and no BMC-like entity to be seen. I think it's a can-do attitude versus a British 'lets form a committee' attitude, with all the bureaucracy-loving characters that attracts.

10 mintues from me is Craig y Forwyn. Crag of national significance 'banned' - I use the term loosely because we still climb there - since 1980-something. Yes the BMC are threatening to buy the crag, now that the landowner has finally moved on. Hope they deliver. But they certainly haven't done anything to-date that a Canada/US-style local access group couldn't have done and now that a different landowner is willing to sell the cliff, well it's just a matter of having a big wad of funding isn't it - not exactly the fine and subtle art of negotiation and government representation it's being claimed we require a BMC for.

Pen Trwyn. Illogical access restrictions in a few places on the Great Orme. The school holidays one is especially dumb. The bird restrictions on places like Castell y Gwynt and some other crags are likewise illogical and based on personality more than any evidence. As above the BMC haven't done anything that a local access group couldn't do.

I think the BMC are OK but don't actually do very much access-wise that an access group couldn't, without the BMC's political drama, bureaucracy, inertia and claiming to be 'the umbrella group of climbing'.

jwi

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No one who deem any one of the factors access, crag maintenance, competition climbing, gear safety, guidebooks, or youth development important would conclude that it is better to organise according to the US model than the French, the Japanese, or indeed the British model. All those factors are more or less catastrophic [in the US] compared to most of the rest of the advanced climbing nations.

I am surprised by this conclusion. In the US, the Access Fund is a large and well funded group. If they have not always won their battles, I would say that reflects the wider spread of political ideologies in the US compared to Europe. There are significant portions of the Republican party who have the same disdain for recreational land protection as they do for, say, a publicly-funded health system.

[...]

I should refrain to comment on the situation in Canada, as I am not knowledgable. But I totally fail to see how the ďamerican modelĒ with separate interest groups for access, safety etc. can be deemed a good model. The fact that US climbers can barely hold on to access to public land, never mind private land is a loud testament to the weakness of the model. In countries like Japan, France and the nordic countries, climbers have good access to climbing on private land despite widely different judicial, political and cultural systems & values. In France and the Nordic countries at least this is because climbing is a part of a bigger interest group of active people who wants access to public and private land for sport and recreation.

For a successful example of how to organise a strong group from people with somewhat align interest (hunters, american talibans, marksmen etc.) look no further than nra.

Don't even get me started on safety, competitions, or guidebooks, but just as an aside: you know that you are going to take a 30 meter fall on a single carabiner Ė new from the store, you can choose between a french or us make for the crab, which one do you use? If the carabiner is attached to a wire, also new and not inspected by you, would you choose a UK or a US make?

We can hardly blame the republicans for the state of the US comp climbing, gear quality, or the guidebook situation, can we?

Will Hunt

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Pete, you argue that the BMC doesn't do anything that a local access group could (I wholeheartedly disagree), but this isn't actually an argument for getting rid of the BMC, or even for wanting to see it reduced/removed. It's just a reflection of your innate distrust of any organisation larger than, say, 10 people. To characterise the BMC and its volunteers as committee-philes who just love to push paper around is a total shit-show. I'm sure there are people like that but I'm also sure that there's a lot of people doing many thankless but useful tasks because they just want to help out.

The politics is ugly and stupid but it's being caused by a very small number of old gits who will more than likely shuffle off into the great beyond before the Olympics comes around. Since the organisation keeps getting rocks lobbed at it, it unfortunately has no choice but to engage in its own defence. I'm sure there's nobody who's involved in the organisation who doesn't wish that it would just go away so they could get on with their other business.

If you think that small local interest groups don't have dramas and bureaucracy then I'd like to direct you to the Friends of Harmer's Wood. I was staggered at how heated things could get between a small group of retirees who share an interest in a small local woodland. The police had to get involved.

petejh

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Baffled by your comment on carabiners JWI. This has nothing to do with the BMC?! In short it has everything to do with EN standards.
Also baffled by your use of the US as a poor example. We're lucky in the UK to have ancient access rights to large parts of the countryside. This doesn't exist in the US. Or for a closer example look to Ireland or NI - where public rights of access to countryside isn't an ancient right as it is in the UK. Can be much trickier dealing with landowners there. So I'd say that access for recreation has far more to do with public access laws then whether or not there exists one large overseeing representative body for all things climbing.

Will. I'm not arguing for 'getting rid of the BMC' (I'm saying I no longer care what happens in the vote), so I didn't read the rest. And I'm simply pointing out that other ways exist to defend access for recreation which are just as valid.

Will Hunt

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Baffled by your comment on carabiners JWI. This has nothing to do with the BMC?! In short it has everything to do with EN standards.
Also baffled by your use of the US as a poor example. We're lucky in the UK to have ancient access rights to large parts of the countryside. This doesn't exist in the US. Or for a closer example look to Ireland or NI - where public rights of access to countryside isn't an ancient right as it is in the UK. Can be much trickier dealing with landowners there. So I'd say that access for recreation has far more to do with public access laws then whether or not there exists one large overseeing representative body for all things climbing.

What are those ancient rights of access, Pete? I'm happy to be educated, but people being escorted off grouse moors at the end of a shotgun as late as the 90s doesn't seem very comprehensive to me.


Will. I'm not arguing for 'getting rid of the BMC' (I'm saying I no longer care what happens in the vote), so I didn't read the rest. And I'm simply pointing out that other ways exist to defend access for recreation which are just as valid.

I can see your point, but to be honest I think the small local initiatives that you describe are probably not too dissimilar to the BMC minus half a century of "organic" development.


petejh

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If you'd spent much time trying to access across any farmland in Northern Ireland you'd quickly appreciate how public friendly the rest of the UK's ancient public rights of way are. NI has access laws about as progressive as its abortion laws; not one long distance path and a dearth of public rights of way.

Will Hunt

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If you'd spent much time trying to access across any farmland in Northern Ireland you'd quickly appreciate how public friendly the rest of the UK's ancient public rights of way are. NI has access laws about as progressive as its abortion laws; not one long distance path and a dearth of public rights of way.

Fair enough. Though as we've seen recently, a right of way enshrined in law is no right to climb (see Whitehouses).

teestub

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Also baffled by your use of the US as a poor example. We're lucky in the UK to have ancient access rights to large parts of the countryside. This doesn't exist in the US.

This doesn't really illustrate the US picture, where a lot of climbing is in National Parks that are pro recreation and pro climbing overall, and there are only issues in places where climbers have been assholes (Hueco, and in recent years if people aren't careful, RMNP). A lot of the other climbing is on BLM land, where for a large part you seem to be able to do whatever the fuck you want.

Where there are local issues and climbing is on private land (RRG) then the local access group seems to have been successful in raising funds, but I can help thinking that a US wide body would have raised a lot more money and had more clout.

If you want to look at access to land in the UK that has changed in a positive way, then Scotland is surely the place to look at, I didn't realise that 2003 was considered ancient, I must be getting old!

Offwidth

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 Hi Pete

I don't know much about Canada but I do know the BMC don't cover Northern Island... maybe things would be better there if they did.

I've spent less than 1% of my BMC volunteering time in committees as a Peak Area regular for 2 decades  and of that less than 5% in more political committees like the AGM. I simply don't recognise the picture you paint of most BMC volunteers, who as Will says usually just get on with it. Like Will I see most of the recent BMC grumbling being due to a small group of old troublemakers using dirty tricks. Where real issues arise (and they do) the BMC is usually pretty quick to fix things ... most impressively and quickly with reversing Climb Britain. Some organisations I know would have needed to  go through the full '5 stages of grief' before being forced to act.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/KŁbler-Ross_model





« Last Edit: May 29, 2018, 05:19:36 pm by Offwidth »

jwi

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Baffled by your comment on carabiners JWI. This has nothing to do with the BMC?! In short it has everything to do with EN standards.

European climbing manufacturers are benefitting enormously from knowledge held by and research done by the climbing federations in the alpine countries, the pressure they are exerting on quality, and their influence in writing EU legislation.

habrich

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Also baffled by your use of the US as a poor example. We're lucky in the UK to have ancient access rights to large parts of the countryside. This doesn't exist in the US.
Where there are local issues and climbing is on private land (RRG) then the local access group seems to have been successful in raising funds, but I can help thinking that a US wide body would have raised a lot more money and had more clout.

We seem to be going around in circles. The US has a "US wide body". It is called the Access Fund. Good podcast on the topic.




teestub

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Thanks will have a listen, as I have understood it, the Access Fund supports local groups who are doing the heavy lifting, so your results will vary depending on the influence and popularity of your local 'coalition'.

Paul B

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Where there are local issues and climbing is on private land (RRG) then the local access group seems to have been successful in raising funds, but I can help thinking that a US wide body would have raised a lot more money and had more clout.

http://rrgcc.org/about-us/history/

My impression was a large amount (or at least the initial outlay) came from a few wealthy, or incredibly generous (or both) people.