Friday, July 15, 2011


I have received this letter from a TMS member. It is a bit long but I have decided to publish it unedited as it makes some valid points.

"I read with delight the questions you would have liked to present to the 5 members who are seeking election to the `Board of Management'.
There is the start of another telling series of questions, ` Board of Management''?
My office must be in a mess as I cannot find the copy of the TMS Board of Management organisational chart, and details of the associated committees their membership, mandates and responsibilities.

Yes your idea of a hustings is very good and would offer an opportunity for members to, in an open forum, question each candidate. It would definitely remove the chaff, and confirm any allegiances, `party games'. Declared proposers and seconders do hint at parties and camps.
What I cannot get my head around is how a candidate is able to propose another candidate for election to the same board, see Karen Rigg. Or are there two members called R. A. Sykes. The implications for the future activities of the Board are are quite worrying!

To return the possibility of an open hustings:-
  • I would have asked about the future direction of the museum.
  • How would they improve the embedded procedures for responding to concerns, be they improper behavior, acts of intimidation, bullying or ineffective/ poor management. (the acid test of a good organisation is the way it handles and manages problems, external and internal).
  • Their intended behavior as a board member, team member, or an individual promoting own agendas.
  • How would they undertake the duties and responsibilities that go with the elected position of a board member; the associated perceived expectation of professionalism by the membership.
  • How would they improve the volunteer experience and how would they embrace and motivate the volunteers with the specific experience, skills and competences, of value to the museum. The volunteers who some in the museum perceive as a threat to their hierarchical positions and status.
Just a few more thoughts to fuel the attempts to create a more team orientated friendly caring museum family."

I too am disappointed at the tone of some of the comments and I think we should leave references to WW II to the 1940s events. The only way to solve this problem is create genuine opportunities for members to express their opinions and to receive considered replies. Simply saying "No Vacancies",  "Go Away" is no longer acceptable and leads to anger, frustration and back-stabbing. 
The forums recommended by Wim and Christoph are one way streets. Members put forward ideas but they are treated with contempt by those on high who never respond. 
Richard Lomas



    2. Here is a song for Malcolm

    3. I was always taught by my parents when I was small (well, smaller!) that "If you don't have anything nice to say don't say anything at all."
      let me just make it a little clearer. There is absolutely nothing wrong with constructive criticism or opinions. But, there is something deeply wrong if all you can say is slander to a Board Member who has served on the Board since 1975 and been involved with the Museum since the beginning. How cruel-hearted are you, to leave snide and callous comments on a public forum against one individual.
      Do you think about the pain it would, and probably is, causing him to see these things? We are all human, with human feelings and emotions. What would you think if the roles were reversed...

    4. Angel of the North17/7/11 11:05

      Anyone claiming to be a staff member and not know who Karen Rigg is must be well dodgy, she oversees all the permanent staff recruitment and ensures fair play. Working casual whilst getting jobseekers are we?
      As for time on site, if you want good Board members you have to accept that most of them won't be available to be at the Museum 24/7, they have other things to do. We need work and expertise not just presenteeism.
      Board members need to be team players, for this society to work choose those people nominated by other Board members or prepared to nominate other Board members they can clearly work well together. Team work is how we've survived for the last 50+ years. Richard has a bit of credibility because he's stuck around and done things in the past, although patience is definitely wearing thin. As for the little upstarts, prove your worth, sticking power and reliability THEN you get to dictate terms.

    5. Anyone who has been around that place for a while will know that if you want something doing properly and fairly ask Karen Rigg or Richard Sykes to do it, they will always do their best. No wonder they work well together.

    6. As I see it, this has turned into a public lynch party without a decent trial. Something more for the uncivilised world overseas (westward). Richard Lomas should do al he can to stop this, since he is hosting this public hanging or as I called it: burning at a stake (after a witch hunt). Constructive criticism is fine, but we have other media to have these discussions. This blog should be to support Crich, not burning it down.

    7. This Blog allows freedom of speech, long may it continue.

    8. @ Hugh J:

      We have seen anonymous commentators attacking one long standing TMS board member. Is that freedom of speech or is that misuse of freedom of speech? I think it is the latter, not because of what has been said, but because it is anonymous and in public. And for the umpteenth time: There is at least one platform where you can air all your frustration without the collateral damage of ruining the museums reputation:

      (Or do we just have a bit of a cultural clash here. Remember, Wim and myself are not British. We live in countries where it is not acceptable that journalists and private investigators tap the phones of politicians, actors and singers to have a headline the next day and an outcry only happens if crime victims' phones are tapped.)

    9. I think we are going a little off topic here Chris "We live in countries where it is not acceptable that journalists and private investigators tap the phones of politicians, actors and singers to have a headline the next day and an outcry only happens if crime victims' phones are tapped.)"

      As a matter of interest Chris, would you be German ?

    10. @ Hugh J:

      Yes I am German. Wim Beukenkamp is Dutch. Together with our wifes and another Wim from Holland we are the small group of Crich volunteers from continental Europe. We are also involved in tramcar preservation in our home countries.

      If the topic is about behaviour towards individuals, we are very much on topic. With my comment I intended to indicate that it may be a perfectly acceptable behavior for a Brit to throw mud at an individual publicly on the internet and calling that freedom of speech just as it appears to be an acceptable behaviour to tap the phones of politicians etc.. That's how it is presented on German media anyway. For us with a totally different cultural background (The Netherlands / Germany) either behaviour is totally inacceptable. Hence "cultural clash".

      Does that make it all clear?

    11. Chris the conduct of Germany during the second world war is hardly covered in glory especially when commenting on the perceived behaviour towards individuals. Think on before commenting on us Brits. Without the intervention of the "brits" and the other allies none of us now would be able to voice our freedom of speech. Does that make it clear ?

    12. Sheffield 4eva20/7/11 21:19

      I agree with the comment that the implications for the future activities of the Board are quite worrying! However this is due to the negative vindictive one-sided comments that appear on this blog. Why insult hard-working Board members and then drum up additional support to join the bandwagon?
      Just what is wrong with a Board Member, even though they are standing for re-election themselves, nominating another? I am convinced that members of the Board of Management are in a better position than any other member of the Society in that they know exactly what a person has achieved and is capable of achieving!
      Brains got it right when they said that they work well together. Have you ever stopped to consider that this is the reason for the nomination? We need these achievers to remain on the Board otherwise the implications for the future of the Society (not just the Board) are immense!
      Secondly have you ever considered that an alternative would be to have a means of voting off dead wood (ie those who contribute nothing)? There is certainly one member who is not up for re-election that would appear to fit into this category. That way all five nominees would be elected without the need for any of your petty animosity.
      Thirdly, if you are so concerned about the way in which the Society is moving, why did you not stand for election yourself? Is it a case of once bitten twice shy? Or is it something more sinister?
      Finally - can we really afford for the one person who has a wealth of experience in charity management not to remain on the Board of Management?

    13. Sorry, I can not keep my mouth shut after what has been said.

      @ Hugh J: Assuming that my interpretation of your comment dated 20/7/11 19:02 is correct I consider this discussion to get slightly surreal. Are you really and with all honesty saying that because of my nationality I have little to no right to have an alternative opinion on the conduct of British citizens? After all, all I was saying was, that due to different nationalities there are most likely totally different perceptions of a specific action.

      More closely to the original topic, I fully agree with Richard's new comment (the one in red). Exchange of ideas and opinions can only be beneficial to the museum and the TMS. Here the internet offers possibilites which were unheard of until well into the 1990s which certainly can be put to good use. I do fear though, that due to the conduct of some people internet discussions might have a negative connotation in the minds of some key people.

    14. Bryan Giggstie20/7/11 22:18

      In response to Christoph Heuer, I fully agree with what you are saying, the brits have a funny way of dealing with these things and the term "freedom of speech" seems to be a get out clause for all and sundry to say what they want without any of the impact it may have.
      I have been personally affected by this myself.
      Hwyl Fwar.

    15. Tyler Durden20/7/11 22:38

      In my experience ive always found that violence usually solves these issues. I make a proposal that the board adopt some sort of bare knuckle fist fight to resolve these election issues?? Perhaps the board can create a ring around the nominees and shout "fight,fight,fight" while the candidates show how bad they really want it. Some sort of tap out system or rendering your opponent unconcious would decide the winner?
      A good old punch up would stop all this blogging nonsense. That way, think of all the paper that we would save on voting forms!!!
      Im personally all for this "help the enviroment" malarky, and i think it would look good on the museums behalf if we were seen to be promoting a greener future by adopting my proposal. Its just an idea but ive been disgusted by all this sniping and name calling so i felt i had to come up with some method to resolve these issues in a fair and more modern way. Harry Hill does it and thats good enough for me !!

    16. I'd never thought that I would come out in the defence of a German, but I think the remark of Hugh is shocking. As if Britain doesn't have a history of violence and atrocities? Many elder Dutch people have not forgotton how during the Boer wars the British moved the families of the Boers in South Arfica into concentration camps (yes, a British invention!), where thousands of women and children died of poor treatment. Let's stop this as well. We are living in 2011, not 1945 nor 1900. Never mind how we got there and when, Germany and the Netherlands are civilised societies where privacy is respected and where it is appreciated if a discussion is held on the bases of arguments, not slander. That's how tomorrow the discussion with the Board should be held as well: questions, sharp questions should be asked and they should be answered by the Board and each indiv idual member. After that it's to the membership to (re)elect our Politburo. And the most influencial minority wins (because the silent majority abstains). That's called democracy (and modern democracy with freedom of speech and press is a Dutch invention, now over 400 years old, not a British one).