Opinion: Clean Break – a call for change – Part 1
It is evident that there is a complete breakdown in the relationship between the powers that be in Washington Street and the membership at large, who nowadays tend to quietly get on with making what is left of our game work and keep their heads down out of fear of repercussions for speaking out of turn. That’s if you could ever call it a relationship. I would describe it as a “them and us” relationship at best. “Them” being the RSPBA, and “us” being the players, the players’ families and supporters, and the public who attend and plough their time and earnings into pipe band competition events.
Rather than open their arms to the membership to work together to make things better, the authorities only seem to adopt courses of action that make matters worse with increasing frequency that, in most cases, results in further alienation and unnecessary negative outcomes.
“Rather than open their arms to the membership to work together
to make things better, the authorities only seem to adopt courses of action
that make matters worse with increasing frequency that, in most cases,
results in further alienation and unnecessary negative outcomes.”
It’s never been more clear than the present that urgent reform is needed to turn things around for the sake of future generations of young pipers and drummers who deserve to enjoy their hobby as much as those who preceded them, but I fear we’ve almost run out of time for that.
How can you reform an organization that:
- Has taken in approximately £1,000,000 earned on the backs of tens of thousands of collective hours of performances and gives nothing in return.
- Consistently refuses to listen to the people it is supposed to represent.
- Appears to ignore the outcomes of democratic processes it instigates.
- Permits perceived or real conflicts of interests that contribute to questionable results.
- Refuses to cooperate with reputable related media outlets.
- Selectively suppresses dissent so savagely that many or even most players feel they no longer have a voice.
- Creates public spats with pipe band enthusiasts who agree or disagree with them, who are simply doing their bit to promote and share our art form using the social media platforms that the RSPBA itself refuses to move with the times to embrace.
Taking things to their ultimate conclusion, how can you possibly clear out the old guard and revitalize with fresh blood when the RSPBA’s annual general meeting is held a matter of six weeks before the competition season is due to start?
The simple answer is, you can’t. It’s almost as if it is set-up to fail in the event of an organized challenge to the status quo.
And they do it year after year. Why? Because there is no alternative. And they know it.
If they apparently won’t listen and won’t change, then perhaps the time has come to start looking at creating alternatives.
It is clear that the RSPBA in its current format is not delivering and is no longer fit for purpose.
There are many obvious reasons.
First, it’s not a club. The RSPBA is a company limited by guarantee and not having a share capital governed by the Companies Act 2006. By its nature, a company operates as a commercial entity with a board of directors, it’s not an association in the same context as it was set up to operate when it was first formed as such in 1930.