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West Somerset Railway General Discussion

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by gwr4090, Nov 15, 2007.

  1. nine elms fan

    nine elms fan Member

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    These characters seem very apt on this thread. images.jpg
     
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  2. Greenway

    Greenway Part of the furniture

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    If what you suggest it correct then it seems to point to an unlikely smooth way forward for the WSR.
     
  3. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    TBH, I don't think there is a smooth way to do anything in the WSR. But the WSSRT Candidates way seems like a better alternative to my mind.
     
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  4. MellishR

    MellishR Part of the furniture Friend

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    It would be helpful if those opposed to the plan by the WSSRT Trustee Candidates would explain why; not just by vague terms such as "revolution" versus "evolution" (where anyway we can disagree as to which is which) but exactly what they think is wrong with that plan.
     
  5. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    IMHO that looks like a Midland Rly pattern GF hut in the background just to the left of the loco....
     
  6. D1039

    D1039 Well-Known Member

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    Is there provision for members to propose motions for an AGM?

    If I recall correctly, the WSRA (in "ex 6 + 1" days) held the EGM during the AGM, with the EGM business as a later agenda item?

    Patrick
     
  7. snappertim

    snappertim Member

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    I will try to respond with tin hat firmly in place,, merely as a bog standard member of the WSSRT for 12 years, with no inside track to the present Trustees. These are my personal observations.

    The group of 10 wouldbe trustees made their joint application, without any prior warning or discussion with the incumbrant WSSRT Trustees on the last permitted day prior to the date of the AGM. Whilst this was totally legal they made clear they wished to change the direction of the WSSRT . These tactic have been described as akin to the rough and tumble of a city takeover. Certainly I have not seen the group acknowledge the excellent work done by the present Trustees and their volunteer supporters in recent years. Indeed it could be seen as a vote of no confidence.

    This doesn't seem to me to be a great way of treating effective trustees and fellow volunteers with respect and common courtesy.

    Ah, but the WSSRT Trustees have backed the PLC in the latter's conflict with the S & DST by virtue of their silence in the matter. I very much suspect that they have tried to keep out of issues that do not directly concern the Trust, and I also suspect that private exchanges have taken place: social media is not the most effective way to resolve difficulties.

    So it is up to the members to decide who will lead the WSSRT in the future. Well I have a problem with this as well. I have been a member for 12 years and the charity has had a membership or around 100 all that time but I understand it has now doubled and presumably all have the right to vote. Quite legal again. However I submit that this is a distortion of democracy however the voting ends up and frankly it is not helped by the "10 group" encouraging those who might support their cause to join. How many of the members signing up in the last week or two, will still be members of WSSRT in 12 month's time [assuming it even exists that long] ? Not more than a handful I wager.

    I would back the group of 10 if I thought the present Trustees were doing a bad job. The opposite is true, and we are in danger of losing their commitment, expertise and hardwork at a time when the WSR needs everyone plus some. For a small charity it punches well above its weight.

    Whether in the short term we have 1,2 or even 3 charities is a side issue. What is important that the £865K pf taxpayers money is wisely spent by 31,3 2021 and that the WSR comes out of the dark tunnel which is 2020, with a full head of steam.

    Just as a postscript, there is a conversation to be had as to the how the WSSRT and all the other organisations fit into the WSR "family". Surely this comes down to proper dialogue, under a neutral respected chair. It needs to happen sooner rather than later!
     
  8. Piggy

    Piggy Member

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    Whilst I respect your personal observations, I am compelled to observe that it sounds like a sycophantic doffing of your cap to the perpetrators of the source of the current situation. Don't you understand that kind of attitude is what has led to the essential problem ? - Change or die .....
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2020
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  9. 35B

    35B Resident of Nat Pres

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    The issue, as I see it, is not to do with the work that the WSSRT has done and should continue to do, but the role it appears to be playing within the politics of the WSR. In that capacity, it does appear to have chosen - and before "the 10" submitted their nominations - a particular alignment. With that £865k, and the failure of the plc to have operated any passenger carrying trains this year, I suggest that the position of the trustees in the future of the WSR is of the greatest importance. And as a recent member, my willingness to remain a member will be materially affected by the way in which I am regarded. Specifically, if treated as a carpetbagger, I may be more tempted to act like one; if nurtured, I may remain.
     
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  10. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    What is your take on the co-option of new trustees? Given the behaviour of the WSSRT trustees and the PLC subsequently, it is hardly surprising that the 10 would not announce their move and would hand in the nominations late. Because what have we seen in reaction? Attacks, delays and board stuffing.

    What do you consider to be doing a good or bad job? Some might say that the failure to stand up for and support other members of the WSR family is doing a bad job. Do you have any evidence of private exchanges to support the S&DRT? Given that the S&DRT is being evicted it is clear that if there was any attempt to support the S&DRT by private exchanges it was a failure. I'd say that if the WSR is a family, then the duties of a trustee are not just to the charity but to help, protect and defend all the charities and groups within the WSR.

    The WSSRT trustees have failed, instead preferring to let another group get shafted in the hope that the PLC will leave them alone.

    It is not much of a family when you say 'that fellow trust being evicted is nothing to do with us'.

    I find it hard to square your references to the WSR family when one member is being evicted, others are being attacked in the press and on social media in truly vile terms (and the WSR SM does nothing to condemn it or to stop it). What kind of family is that?
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2020
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  11. nanstallon

    nanstallon Well-Known Member

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    We certainly can't carry on in the waa same way as before!
     
  12. martin1656

    martin1656 Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    Nail on head, the issue isn't with the work the WSSRT does, its the position it chose to take, or more to the point the trustees and Chairman took in total support for the PLC, Either the trustees agree with this position, or the chairman is using his position both as a board member, and head of a charity to in effect disenfranchise the view of the membership, and this clearly must be wrong, hopefully the AGM/ EGM will settle this matter, if the members agree with whats been done, in their name they will vote the same people back on, if how ever as I suspect they don't , and feel angry that their charity as become the poodle of an aggressive PLC, Then they should vote off those people and install a new group of trustees, The PLC won't like it, but they are not the masters, the membership are.
     
  13. Matt37401

    Matt37401 Part of the furniture

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    Please tell us of a better way then.
     
  14. Bayard

    Bayard Part of the furniture

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    @snappertim, thanks for giving your take on the situation. There is always another side to the coin and it is instructive to be shown it.
    To answer your points:
    1. The decision to make a last-minute submission of the applications for the trusteeship, although it does, as you say, appear hostile, coming as it did with no warning, does appear vindicated by what happened subsequently, the harrassment of the candidates and the attacks on social media. It is hard to imagine that this treatment was solely caused by the suddenness of the applications and that otherwise they would have been welcomed with open arms. Although the secrecy with which the applications were made "doesn't seem to me to be a great way of treating effective trustees and fellow volunteers with respect and common courtesy" as you put it, nor does the subsequent actions of the trustees and the fellow volunteers towards the candidates, nor can one side be accused of behaving in a manner more like the rough and tumble of a City takeover more than another: - you spring some last minute applications and I'll postpone the AGM sine die, you force a date for the AGM and I'll co-opt some extra trustees onto the board.
    2. I can see your point about what appears to be the hijacking of the charity in a bid to create a different overall charity as per the Bailey plan, to the one envisaged by the Plc and I think it is foolish for anyone to dismiss it as simply bias in favour of the current management bodies. It is a valid charge, which in its turn, needs answering. I don't think the argument that the current WSSRT trustees have brought it on themselves by trying to stay out of the snake pit that is the internal politics of the WSR carries much weight, except to the extent that they are shareholders in the Plc and therefore have a direct interest, as part owners, in the way it is run. The purchase of the shares in the first place was always a bit of a dodge to get round the rules and donate money to the Plc, given the total worthlessness of the shares. Unfortunately that purchase brought with it a responsibility that the charity is now seeking to avoid. It is a widespread belief today that shareholders bear some responsibility for the actions of the company whose shares they hold, which is reflected in the growth of "ethical" investment trusts. Given that holding shares in the Plc is not something that appears to be part of their charitable aims, what reason can be given for their continued retention in the light of the charity's professed desire to keep out of issues that do not directly concern them?
    3. I would second your call for a "proper dialogue, under a neutral respected chair" about how the various parts of the WSR fit together and would agree that "it needs to happen sooner rather than later", but if the WSR goes down the route the Plc are proposing, it will be a dialogue of the deaf and the end result will be the solution that best suits the management of the Plc. I would be delighted to be proved wrong, but I wouldn't put money on it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2020
  15. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    Is there a plan for reopening yet?
     
  16. snappertim

    snappertim Member

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    Jaw jaw not war war
     
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  17. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    Jaw Jaw by swearing at people, calling groups Cuckoos in the nest, Trojan Horses, etc etc. You'll note that the 10 have done none of these things. Maybe that is what they are doing wrong?

    The unwillingness to talk isn't on the side of the 10. They after all are the ones proposing a conference to discuss the future of the WSRA and WSSRT where members will have the chance to speak and to also reject the proposals they are putting forward.
     
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  18. Matt37401

    Matt37401 Part of the furniture

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    I agree, I even used that quote many, many pages ago.
     
  19. Andy Norman

    Andy Norman Part of the furniture

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    Tim

    With respect, please read some of the many pages here, many of us have tried to talk rather than fight over the last 18 months. However its only ever been met with aggression, people being personally attacked both privately and publicly/in the press and in some of our cases thrown off of the WSR, just because we wanted to talk. That's of course not only aimed at the WSSRT, they have sat quietly for a long time but have recently followed others in very aggressive tactics of the other 'old guard' Boards.

    If talking in an open and honest way allowing the people of the WSR to decide the way forward had been allowed by a few in positions of power then we won't be where we are now. Again I can only ask that you spend some time going back over the many pages here, you can cut through people opinions and focus on the actual actions of the 3 Boards in their behaviour toward fellow volunteers.

    I would also ask you read what the 'WSSRT 10' statements say and listen to what they stand for with an open mind, it involves talking consulting and discussing and not acting before the Membership of all three organisations are agreed. If we all don't like what they see as the way forward they have said they are happy to be voted out or not voted in in the first place.

    I will agree with you that the WSSRT have in the last few years done some good work on the WSR, I'll even say the they have outshone the much larger WSRA in some things they have done, however more recently they have totally undermined all that with their behaviour. Again a few pages back I posted here an email I sent (as a long standing WSSRT Member, not a new comer) to the WSSRT Chairman (who didn't even have the courtesy of acknowledging it) setting out the issues as I saw them regarding the deferring of the AGM because members wanted to stand for election, please read it and if you wish challenge me on what I have said here, I'm happy to talk to you about it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2020
  20. MellishR

    MellishR Part of the furniture Friend

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    Presuming that the WSSRT is indeed subject to the Companies Act 2006 s303, and that the Trustees count as "Directors" for that purpose, the latest date by which they must call the EGM is 21 days after the formal request, i.e. 19th October, and the latest date by which the meeting must be held is 28 days after that, i.e. 16th November. There would need to be a very compelling reason for it not to be combined with the AGM on 14th.

    The direction proposed by the 10 represents very little change in the activities of the WSSRT. It would continue to do all the things that it has been doing, simply as part of a larger charity. The only sunstantial change is that its shareholding in the PLC would be used to steer the PLC closer to the direction desired by (a majority of?) the volunteers and distant supporters of the WSR.
     
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