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Subject: Convergence of UK conservation organizations

Convergence of UK conservation organizations

From: Jonathan Farley <j.farley>
Date: Friday, October 1, 2004
Last night (30 September 2004), the IPC committee declared a 74%
majority in favour of convergence. Here are the figures:

    Postal votes in favour:     276
    Postal votes against:        92
    Attending votes in favour:   17
    Attending votes against:     11

    Total votes in favour:      293 (74% of vote)
    Total votes against:        103 (26% of Vote)
    Total votes cast:           396

By the time of the EGM, 19 postal votes were declared not admissible
because they arrived after the cut off time for the closure of the
postal vote. In addition The Chair apologised for the non-arrival of
ballot forms to some members, however this was due, she said,  to
the postal service and not the IPC's fault and there was nothing
that could be done about it.

As a consequence, 799 members did not vote because their votes were
not received by the IPC office on time, did not receive their ballot
form in the first place, deliberately abstained or, (worst of all),
were apathetic about the issues.

Anyway you look at it, in what has been probably the most outrageous
interpretation of the democratic process, a declaration by the
committee that the 24% of the membership who actually voted in
favour of convergence outweighs the 76% who voted against, didn't
vote or couldn't vote.

On any constitutional matter concerning the society, votes should
have been received which constituted a majority of the membership.
In the case of the IPC, that would have been a minimum of 51% or 598
ballot returns (only 396 votes were cast), even then, for the motion
to be carried, the vote would have still needed to be the majority
of the membership (51% or 598 votes).

The moment that the committee realised that the votes cast did not
constitute a majority of the membership, they should have declared
the ballot void and started the process again, which is the policy
in most societies I belong to except, it appears, the IPC.

Instead, for this highly important matter of dissolving the IPC, the
committee decided to ignore logic and accept a majority of the
returned votes, (in this case one third of the membership or  33%).
Consequently, what is undeniably the vociferous minority of 'pro'
voters have been given carte blanch to carry their plans through
against those who voted 'no' and the unquantifiable non-votes (which
can not in any legal system be considered as a 'pro' vote by

I am truly sorry that some members did not receive their ballot
papers and were denied their right to vote, but for those who simply
did not bother to vote or abstained--you should be ashamed of
yourselves! You have allowed the IPC to slit its own throat without
a real mandate to do so.

Jonathan S. Farley, Soon to be Ex-Member of the IPC
Senior Conservator
Royal Botanic Gardens
+44 208 332 5419
Fax: +44 208 332 5430

                  Conservation DistList Instance 18:17
                 Distributed: Thursday, October 7, 2004
                       Message Id: cdl-18-17-002
Received on Friday, 1 October, 2004

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