Dave Barrie's two letters in full.
Letter 1 - 11/01/2002
Thank you for your letter. I will try and answer as best I may. This is a personal letter from me, not from the Co-ordination Team. I must make this absolutely clear.
There is a saying that goes something along the lines of "Don't
judge a man till you¹ve walked around in his shoes for a while".
So how did we come to this? Most of us involved in this affair have either been friends or acquaintances for many years. I don't believe that most of those involved started out with some evil intent, (though in a couple of cases I have come to believe that there were hidden agendas). I think that everyone thought they had the society's best interest at heart, and started off with the best of intentions. But what we are dealing with here is a combination of frustration, anger, high emotions, and everyone's
different perception of the truth. If everyone involved had remained calm and invested as much energy into being constructive rather than destructive, solutions and a way forward would have occurred long ago.
The letter is rather lengthy, for which I apologise, however it is my perception of the truth and, as I was at the heart of it all, it has to cover a lot of ground.
I had been aware of some disharmony and non-communication between the Co-ords for quite some time. As you know Moo and I were very friendly with Dave and Jo and Dave often mentioned things to me. Other members were picking up this ill feeling, questions were being asked, and people who were supposedly on the Co-ord team were making uncomplimentary remarks about each other. I wondered what was going to happen, as the situation appeared to going from bad to worse. Take one matter, the Back number fund. Roger mentioned to me that he had been asking Howard for the money for over a year
but had got no response. I approached Howard about this and he said he hadn¹t sent the money on to Ipswich, Because two Co-ords. had asked him not to. I was not at the January work-in held at Liverpool, but I did hear about it. I then read the January issue of "ITV", which contained Steven's letter, plus a handful of letters from other members raising points worthy of being addressed.
Now, in the wisdom of hindsight it's easy to look back and point a finger of blame, but at whom? Why weren't the Co-ords talking? I don¹t know. One thing is for sure, had they been, then I daresay Dave would have mentioned these letters to Roger prior to publication. Normally, if there is a team administering any organisation, any matter that raises issues is discussed by said team, but seemingly not here. Steven's letter, without the opportunity of a response from Roger, became very public property. It was at this point, seeing our society seemingly embarked on a self destructive course, that I thought I would step forward, try and act as mediator. I just thought, "if I don¹t do it, who will?" In this Max joined me.
Six of One has always had a history of "rumblers".
(No offence intended, but it was a word coined as far back as 1978. I mean it
only as a shorthand term and I certainly do not mean to cause offence to those
involved in the events of 2001). To return to 1978; this was when a group of
people (claiming to represent the many) asked for and got a meeting. Faced
with facts it fizzled out. The second time was 1984, and I must put my hand up to being involved in this one. I was persuaded, by a number of prominent society members, that all was not well with 601. Indeed, two of these members claimed to have evidence that they would present. Of course, the person who was responsible for our supposed ills was Roger Langley. A
meeting was held, about 60 or so members attended. The two people who claimed to have evidence in fact did not. There was none. It was all anger, frustration, and general mischief. I stood up and publicly apologised for my part in this. I had learnt two things: "When someone claims to represent a lot of people, they generally mean themselves"; and secondly, "people can get
carried away, and when dealing with the truth, very often we are dealing with either selected or perception thereof".
Forgive my digression with background. So to the April work-in. You may remember the mood of the meeting? For
the duration it was extremely unpleasant for Max and I who were there, not to represent Roger but just to listen. It was very heated. I asked four times in the first 40 minutes alone for people to put their concerns in writing. Then Steven moved his motion of no confidence in Roger and read out the letter from Jaz. After that it was no wonder people got even more
wound up. The mood then appeared to be "Let's get rid of Langley". Subsequently it has been suggested that this was the goal of a small number of participants. It was high emotion. I felt I was a surrogate Roger Langley as members, and non-members who somehow feel they have an equal voice and can give their view, just got more and more heated. (Try going to your local
Rotary club or whatever and saying your piece as a non-member. You would be escorted to the door.) Quite rightly, given the evidence presented, the majority of those present were concerned for the future of the society.
Subsequently we have of course discovered that there never
was a problem with Carlton, and that Jaz was a minor cog on a short-term contract.
I was present at Portmeirion when Steven rang Jaz about the Arrival screening.
Instead of being glad that this could be shown to our members, Steven was, well,
being Steven. As you know he feels it's okay to thrust his mobile
phone in my face as he did in front of everybody. I do still have my file with all the letters and notes I was given on
the day and those I received subsequently. I did an analysis shortly thereafter and I have received a total of eight letters, this is apart from Dave Lally¹s petition and the second petition. 7 of the letters raise the issue of democracy, 5 mention the following: constitution, finances, and Carlton, then we come down to matters such as duplication, convention finance etc. etc. It is still my intention to ensure that they go forward to the team member who has recently been appointed to deal with members
All the points would have been replied to long ago if my first objective getting the Co-ords co-ordinating together, had been achieved. This also applies to you and the concerns you raised both initially and in your recent letter. (You can guess that one point you raised, the matter of duplication was because the Co-ords weren¹t talking thus both Dave and Roger were duplicating each other.) So Max and I try and get a meeting of the Co-ords. Dave and Jo apparently said to Max that "They wouldn't be in the same room as the Langleys". Dave also indicated to me that he did not wish to attend a meeting. Well, that's a good start. Steven threw a tantrum, saying he wouldn¹t be there, and putting the phone down on me. Dave Jones never did, or has, replied at all. Not to anything. We kept on communicating with him, all we have ever received was silence. I felt, as Dave Jones had been so vocal, he would welcome the opportunity to resolve matters. His non participation made me think, "If I'm going to all this trouble, and giving my time, why can't he?"
Now you would have thought, given all the noise at the April
work-in, the desire expressed to bring about change, that as all
four of the above were present at said meeting, they would jump at the chance of pursuing their goal. Roger and Karen, readily agreed then, and at all times subsequently, to attend meetings. Imagine my surprise when I got to the venue, that Saturday in July, and found Steven already there. Then I was surprised (pleasantly after I got over the shock) that Dave and Jo did come, with Simon and Jane. This was apparently a device implemented by Max, who correctly figured that Dave and Jo would come if they felt they weren¹t isolated. Geoff and Rob joined us, as at subsequent meetings we were joined by Howard (one meeting), Bill and Angie. It has been pointed out to me that Roger surrounds himself with Yes men and that I am Rogers Lieutenant. Leaving me aside has it occurred to anyone that these are independently minded people who have their own views? Why not ask them why they agree with Roger instead of labelling them? As for me being Rogers's lieutenant people must think what they think. Time and again we see in history that people choose perception over facts. Despite specifically being asked not to, Steven arranged for Jaz to arrive. Now Max and I were trying to get all these people talking to each other, a major task in itself, so to have Jaz turn up was hardly appropriate.
The meeting was a bit bumpy, but both Max and I thought progress had been made. We met again in September, only by now Simon had resigned, which was a sad loss. I kept emailing everyone, imploring them to be nice to each other and to see the big picture. Clearly with some I was wasting my breath. It was just words and people persued their own agendas. If Roger says "A rival group seemed to be in place" That's how it was to him. From my perspective, what had started out as a simple task, a couple of meetings, get everyone talking, address all the issues being raised, etc., was becoming a beast, eating up hours and hours of my time.
Why? Coming back to the quote of Rogers you have selected and
offering my view, because some people on the team really did want to move forward
and others didn't, preferring to see an "us" and "them"
scenario. If a team is bonding there is a desire to build bridges, to make an
effort to find a way forward. After the Sept. meeting I think most of us were
prepared to keep
momentum, then, as outlined in the yellow pages, the process became bogged down. Now, if people are genuinely trying to make a go of things, and if anyone has a real problem, you talk it through. Why Dave and Jo didn¹t respond for that length of time I don¹t know. But there was more to it. You and I know that websites were busy chattering and matters discussed at our
previous meeting had anonymously appeared on a site. Clearly there were a number of agitated people out there, making life difficult.
On one side I had several people who really did try and make
the committee work, on the other, at best, it was very hard work.
Then we come to the October Brain bash weekend. Dave had gone the extra mile to help make the Brain bash a success, and I will always be grateful for that. We had the business of the stop/start with the mag printing, and again we are dealing with two different accounts of the truth. The fact that Dave Jones did not book the venue, and it seems others knew of this and
did nothing, spoke volumes. Put yourself in my shoes, I asked myself, "Just what is going on here?"
We scheduled an emergency meeting. Dave would not send the mags to Ipswich. Now understandably he might say, "Why not send the labels to him?" Valid point. Also voiced by a number of us at the meeting. Except there were major problems with the Langleys computer, which they openly told us about, and I'm not a computer whiz. It was to do with the programme and having to check each label in situ. They told us this, and I believed them, as did all others present. But, what is in danger of being overlooked is that one member of the team did not trust another member of the team enough to send the mags. (You remember we had difficulty with the April mailout). It just summarised to me that suspicion and mistrust were alive and well.
So, after the emergency meeting I returned and rang Dave. I told him "Roger and Karen are handing the finances over to the Faupels" (I went into greater detail), "Now will you send the mags to Ipswich?" Dave said "No."
Now, whatever the rights or wrongs of going into someone's home with a tape recorder is not for me to say, and no-one on the team knew about this beforehand. I have asked Max about this. He said, "Well, I went along to find out why the mags were being held hostage. If Dave had given them up all people would have heard was the sound of me loading them into a van and driving off." However what he got was something different altogether and in your letter you seem to completely overlook Dave's comments, which I find extraordinary.
In addition Dave was sitting on the magazines which were the property of the Society and its members. I have given Dave a phone number for Max. I did this a few days ago. Up till last night Max had not received a call from Dave. Max has indicated he is happy to talk to anyone about this matter therefore I suggest should you or anyone else wish to do so, ask Dave for the number.
In the "yellow sheets" Roger gives his reason for using the term "unstable". I just knew (no need to detail because it's personal) that Dave had a lot to deal with in his personal life. Anyway, I've always liked Dave immensely. So, there's Dave, feeling under enough pressure already, dealing with the boys, and Max arrives. Alas, the tragedy of it is that Dave says what he actually thinks. Do you think that after that there is any way the Team feel that he has the desire to work as an integral part of it, that he has the best interest of the Team at heart?
After the months I've put in trying to get everyone together
I feel utterly despondent. It's the old adage of someone protesting too much.
It's not the fact that Max recorded, it¹s what was said that is the real
issue here. A parallel with Number Six, who resents ID cards and surveillance,
only if one has something to hide do most people resent these. Lew, I invite
you to secretly record me at any time. From that point on the outcome was inevitable.
I had no editorial control over the "yellow pages". In fact Roger
did not want to air his perspective, it was others on the team who felt it only
right that he should, after the wide airing of criticism of him, in "ITV",
publicly, and on the net. I wrote up my perspective, and as you saw, I mentioned
no names. Here I have because this will have a comparatively limited circulation,
in addition I felt that there was hurt enough already. To summarise, all matters,
including the answering of issues, and a general meeting, would have happened
long ago, IF all members of the original Co-ord
team had got together and agreed to rekindle trust and find a way forward. Because some were not prepared to do that the whole process fell apart. Roger, Karen, Geoff, Rob, Bill, Angie, with Max and I, tried really hard. There never was any plan to get rid of Dave and Jo, in fact we all bent over backwards to try to keep everyone on board. I remember Howard saying words
to the effect that "Beware of Roger, he has a way with words". Yes, he does. He has a lawyers training, remains calm, and goes by facts and evidence, and that¹ll do for me. He has great clarity of thought.
I believe I have answered most of the points you have raised.
In case you feel I haven¹t: You found the contents appalling. So did I,
but for a different reason. Roger had been attacked publicly, in a number of
arenas, therefore was encouraged to respond. Have a word with fred@any. At least
you give your name, which is more than this character does. It seems that it¹s
okay for the anti-Langley (and I am generalising) camp to have one set of morals,
but should the pro-Langley camp (another
generality) slip for one moment.
I see no reason why all the grievances (That I would have tabled
months ago) can now not go forwards through the newly created channel and be
dealt with. You and I know that there are 601 members who will never be happy,
that will always be angry, that will question every single decision. I was astonished when one of these characters publicly aired a story of how they lied to achieve an objective, and thought that that was okay. Yet they query every little thing. Perhaps they judge others by their own standards? You won¹t agree with me but I take a dim view of your accusation that I
sacrificed my principles. I have taken the time to go into a great deal of detail to respond Lew. Through the past nine months I have given a huge amount of time that at times, took over my life. I have tried to reconcile all parties. If you think I'm an acolyte of Roger it's because he's shown the coolest head, the greatest common-sense and a genuine desire to move
Lew, I have now been told you posted this letter on a website.
Normal AND courteous practice is to state on any correspondence or circular,
business or private, just where copies are going. Why did you not say? I have
received three other letters, but none so presumptuous as yours. Let¹s
look at a couple of points made in them. Firstly Dave Lally: "I
was removed by Goodman because I had asked then re the Society¹s accounts". Now, I like Dave enormously, and at least on his circular he says, "We'll agree to disagree but agreeably". I can work with that, and I admire his intention to stay within 601. However, as Goodman told it to me, didn't he exclude Dave because Dave put an ad in a mag announcing himself as an
" International Co-ordinator"? I stand to be corrected on this. What is the truth? What is perception?
Then I receive another letter. It says "Dave H wanted
to get rid of the Co-ordination team, to side line the Langley's" Is that
truth? Is that perception? Is it fantasy? One Saturday Moo and I were on our
way to Wales for the weekend when we
got a message on my mobile 'phone from Jo. She said the magazines were on my doorstep. As luck would have it Moo's son was at home and was able to take them indoors otherwise they would have been sat outside all weekend, in
December weather, less than 4 yards from the pavement. We have no gate, no porch. Is that responsible?
Maybe now you can see why I shied away from mentioning names in the section of the "yellow pages" that I wrote. Further name calling will achieve nothing.
I mourn the loss of friendships. I do not lay the blame for all this at anyone¹s door. People are people. We all get angry, frustrated, lose our way from time to time, say and do things we don¹t really mean, it¹s unfortunate for Dave that he said why he wouldn¹t release the mags. allowed me and others to gain an insight into his true feelings. Consequently the membership now knows why they didn¹t get their issue 32. Dave always produced a fine quality journal. There are no winners in all this, least of all Dave (whom I still like very much as an individual) and I think that is very sad. We can all carry on trying to hurt each other, or we can recognise that all this is some temporary "blip". Look, I was taken to task in issue one of "Number Six",
for my role in the Box 206 affair, but who remembers that now? There's important things out there for us to achieve, so let's all put up our hands up (and I'm happy to be the first if it'll help), say "Sorry, maybe I'm a bit to blame too," to each other, and move on. As I say, the "grievances" will be passed on, but if we could all be respectful and courteous, that would be nice. Ultimately there is no "they" and "we", there is just "us".
You have my permission to distribute this as widely as you
wish, in its full form. In fact, I would expect, at the least, you to post this
on the same net site(s) that your letter to me appeared on. Likewise I may make
circulation of this. If you are not happy with this arrangement please let me
Letter 2 - 25/01/2002
I don't believe in unity at any price. I do believe we can all live together by appreciating others points of view.
I originally only stepped into this process because (for example sampling the April work-in meeting) the society appeared set on a course of self destruction. I thought of the Northern Ireland peace process as a model. You know, when the two sides wanted to talk, they called in John d 'Chastelain. The parallel is that I merely saw myself as a facilitator/mediator. I would just try and steer the team forward. It was their decision what to do about the points being raised. I saw my role as non-executive. In hindsight I'm not sure all were ready to engage in this process. It requires a real desire to make the process work. It was all so
confrontational, and the trouble with confrontation is that people become defensive.
I've gone into detail in my last letter how it all fell apart
and the situation worsened, consequently I never really had the chance to press
forward to get them to deal with all the issues given to me back in April. Some
points have been answered, some others have been resolved by time. There is
now a mechanism whereby points that people feel are outstanding can be dealt
with. I'll come back to that later. I originally figured that two meetings should
get the Co-ords talking and that's the volume of time I was
up for. It was all I could afford. (As you know that has been far exceeded. I'm exhausted with it all and there are repercussions in my private life.) Everyone else can just go away and think about their point of view, the Chairman has to do so much more. Amongst other things he has to try and see all points of views and encourage others to do the same. This requires both
time and energy. In my chat with Peter Dunn last week he suggested that I just walk away and leave everyone to it. I explained that that's not in my nature. I will always do my best in the way I am able. I saw that as getting people to talk, not to really do anything more than that.
I think last year was very destructive. There comes a time
beyond anger when people are ready to sit down and talk, reasonably, openly,
and with courtesy. Maybe that'll happen this year when the situation cools.
Here's a bit about the matters that caused a response-My comment about 'covert
surveillance'. I can understand the reaction over this. I guess it may not have
been the wisest thing to say. Let's put it in context. As I travel round I see
all these surveillance cameras and reflect how they have worked in a positive
way. Walking through an underpass on a dark night, I always feel comforted by
that camera on the wall. In this respect surveillance has been good. I suspect,
by this time in the letter, I was feeling both tired and mentally dulled by
the strong painkillers prescribed by the Doc. that I had been taking . They
had rather an effect on me, I couldn't think clearly or focus my mind for any
period of time. Anyway, I probably thought, 'I don't mind if someone records
me...'. I'd better explain this. I'm a non-judgmental type, I understand people
do what they do, and this, combined with having so much going on in my life
that I don't have the time to sit back and reflect, well, I though no more of
it. I guess another word that comes to summarise how I was is 'exasperated'.
I really felt I'd given this whole process so much of my time, way above what
I could afford, tried my best to get those involved talking, and all I was getting
for my trouble was grief and criticism..People wouldn't talk to each
other, people were angry, some, when it came down to it either had their own agenda or just stood on the sidelines and did nothing positive at all.
So Max, and his recording. Given what I've said, it's not for
me to judge him. I think I judge no-one. I was very saddened. I think my reaction
was, 'Oh no, instead of moving on we are just getting in deeper and it's turning
really nasty.' I realised we were sunk as far as Dave's involvment went. It
was a black moment. On that fateful day, when Dave and I spoke at length, I
had gone off to the meeting with high hopes. Then to learn that Dave had said
some of the things he did, left me very depressed.He clearly
did not believe in the process therefore all the time and energy I was injecting was a waste. But why hadn't Dave told me that. I think i just felt that all I had been trying to achieve was washed away. Not valued. Up till then, Roger, who said he was willing to work with Dave, said this was no longer possible. Would I have recorded Dave without him knowing.? No. I do not believe
the ends justify the means either Lew. Everyone in this has their story, from their angle. I imagine, if you went round to each one in turn, heard whst they had to say in the way they believe it to be, you would come away seeing all these different perspectives, and finding it hard to make a black and white judgement. The more one delves and asks questions, and trys to understand the viewpoints the more complex the whole affair becomes. And it all takes time and energy. And all the time it was getting more difficult to understand because things weren't standing still. The origins are lost in the mist of years. Toward the end I spent hours on it every day. It dominated my life.
I haven't quizzed Max, about the whys and wherefores of him
doing it. I imagine that others are quite capable of doing this. I would welcome
such an action and Max having the opportunity to give his rationale. I have
never said I saw no harm in the deed. I can only repeat what Max has told me,
and that's in my previous letter. My overwhelming feeling is sadness. I cannot
answer for the rest of the team, they will have to answer for themselves. I have no idea what Rob or Geoff think for example.
I now hope that we may have a period of cooling off, then, through the new channel, those who wish to, may put forward their points in a in a non confrontational, non agressive way. I think it's up to those who both had and have strong feelings to carry their points forward through this new mechanism. (Details will be in the new magazine.) We all know that one is more likely to acheive something if the person one is addressing doesn't feel attacked. As I say above, there always comes a time when people are ready to to sit down and talk, reasonably, openly, and with mutual respect and courtesy.
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