Previous Views

10/01/16
Walking backward to
Christmas

20/10/15
On loosing Trustees

10/08/15
On Sales & Marketing

 

 

MEMBER'S VIEWS

To : qrs-members@quainton-railway-society.me.uk
Subject : Customer Service
Received: 15:14, 30th Jul 2016

Sir,

I fail to see the pleasure of publishing photo's in Quainton News of the public queuing for entry/food. I do not think the paying public are amused. It was a good job the weather was fine at the last “Thomas” event!.
Would the exec. consider numbering the pages of the Comments book in the foyer?.This will stop certain people ripping out any bad comments the public have made that they don't agree with and give a more balanced view of the public at Quainton.

Laura is doing her best in catering but could we please have a change from chips, beans,and sausage? This is hardly a Sunday lunch. People who pay good money to enjoy a day out expect a treat not transport cafe offerings.

Regards,

" Duck Egg"
(Member's name & number verified)

 

Autocrats, Dictators, Oligarchies and Complicity.

Some time ago a senior and founding member of the QRS made an observation about another senior member whom he/she regarded as autocratic. Ironically this person has had the same observation made about themselves by other parties. We guess that it takes one to know one but this is beside the point.

Having heard this word used it lead the writer to research the accurate definition of the word Autocratic and it is not long before "Google Links" associates the meaning with Dictatorship. There does not seem to be any truly *Benevolent Autocrats” on record just some that are less worse than others. The same seems to apply for Dictatorships although in this case there are many recorded perverted regimes.

In one account, involving Saddam Hussain, it is recorded that early in his leadership, at a meeting of the full governing council, an individual was brought to the front whereupon this person slowly recited a list of people he indited for insurrection. All of those listed were present at the meeting and as their names were mentioned they were forcibly removed from the meeting by Saddam's guards. The remaining delegates were much relieved not to have been listed but this relief was short lived as they themselves were taken out of the meeting handed guns and ordered to shoot their erstwhile colleagues. By this action Saddam Hussain had made those that carried out the shooting complicit to his dictatorial regime and they would live in fear of reprisals from the population without the protection of the regime.

What does this tell us about Autocratic regimes and Dictatorships. Well the popular opinion seems to be that although most people do not want to live under such governance they are credited with getting things done (like the Autobahns of Germany, Railways in Italy etc.). They are regarded as strong regimes whereas they are actually weak if they have to resort to coercion or threats to maintain order. They remain unaccountable to the population in general and their wrong doing is justified or overlooked by the recipients benefiting from the results.

Accountability lays at the heart of Democracy but all to often we hear complains of elected dictatorships bandied about various institutions not least a government of a country. In point of fact elected bodies can really be defined as Oligarchies. Not a popular description with Soviet connotations but actually derived from the Greek almost unaltered. (Definition of oligarchy in English from the Oxford dictionary - A small group of people having control of a country or organization.)

The problem with most elected bodies is they are virtually unaccountable for prolonged periods and will make mistakes or at worst conspire to remain in power. They will recognise among themselves as being complicit either to their joint errors or conspiracy. It is just human nature to protect oneself and these people will be tempted to close ranks and keep silent in the face of accountability which is not healthy for any organisation.

How does society protect itself from this human frailty or worse the deliberate misuse of such power. Well the answer lays in part to the organisational rules of a society and in this the Quainton Railway Society Ltd fundamentally fails. Rules that were drawn up nearly 50 years ago are now inappropriate for the circumstances of today. There is a long list of inappropriate details, and some errors, within the 2015 Updated Edition including the cover which says “UNDATED to December 2015.

The other part of a solution resides with the membership. Members should be prepared to take an active role in a society and not sit back allow a few to remain active because the few may be narrow in the endeavours and vision. In extreme cases like the Co-operative movement and some trade unions not being active or aware leads to demise and failure.

Members may wish to call for a review and conference on the revitalising of the rules so they reflect the true purpose of the Society by the time of its 50th Anniversary. Conference away from the rigour of a General Meeting provide a better environment for discussion and recommendations for the Executive to consider and perhaps then endorse in the form of resolution proposals at a subsequent General Meeting.

*https://williameasterly.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/benevolent-autocrats-easterly-2nd-draft.pdf