Sunday, 2 November 2008

There's democracy and there's National Trust democracy

Campaigners against the 223-house development on Erddig near Rhostyllen took their battle to the National Trust's annual meeting in Liverpool on Saturday.

The Observer has a piece about it but unfortunately the story was written before the actual result was known. That was an even better story:

14308 voted for scrapping the Erddig housing development
14139 against

For a second we thought we'd won and then the chairman weighed in with 8019 discretionary proxy votes in favour of the official position to save the day for the Trust. These are members who allow their votes to be used at the discretion of the chairman.

This block proxy vote has been the subject of controversy before and it's not surprising when it's used to shore up unpopular policies and debatable decisions. The chairman, Sir William Proby, was asked as he left whether he felt it was in order to use the discretionary vote to win the vote, especially as he has publicly spoken out against development on green fields in the past.

It seems the chance to make a quick buck is far more important to the Trust than any principles. Worryingly for Proby's cronies, a full 40% of the vote for our second motion - effectively a no confidence vote in the Trust's leaders on the Erddig matter - was in favour.

The Trust is completely split on this matter and is in danger of tearing itself apart if it presses on with the Erddig development.

1 comment:

Plaid Gwersyllt said...

The use of the discretionary votes to defeat this Resolution was both unethical and undemocratic...one thing we can't get away from is the fact that the NT is split on this issues...14,300 people voted to scrap it...you cannot ignore this.