[r-t] CC innovation acceptance history (was Anything Goes vs Peals Mean Something)

Don Morrison dfm at ringing.org
Sat Aug 9 13:22:36 UTC 2008

On Sat, Aug 9, 2008 at 7:56 AM, Richard Smith <richard at ex-parrot.com> wrote:
> Out of interest, does anyone know when this last happened?
> I can think of plenty of examples of new, innovative things
> being rung that the CC has decided *not* to accept (the
> original variable cover cinques is a good example), but when
> did they last accept something that is against the
> decisions?  Have they ever?

I think, but may be mistaken, that this sort of happened recently with
Differential Hunters. If I remember correctly, and I very well may
not, the sequence went something like

1) The Birmingham band wanted to ring some clever spliced on 16 that
   involved some Bristol variants that had five or three lead courses.

2) Knowing that they would not be acceptable to the Council, and not
   wanting to flaunt it they tried to get the Council to change the
   Decisions before ringing their peal; there was a letter from either
   Rod Pipe or John Warboys, I don't remember which, read to the
   Council describing their plight and making a suggestion, read to the
   meeting by Stephanie Warboys.

3) The Council chose not to act on it immediately, but referred it to
   the Methods Committee for further consideration, but with terms
   that, if I remember correctly, said "tell us how to make this
   acceptable" more than "do you think this should be acceptable".
   Amusingly I believe I recall that at this meeting Stephanie was
   then elected a member of the Methods Committee, despite her
   protestations of not being quite as interested in the details of
   its machinations as most folks who stand for election to it.

4) Here's the part I'm least certain of. I think, but may be mistaken,
   the Birmingham band became impatient with the deliberate pace the
   Council takes in making changes, and went ahead and rang their peal
   while the official Decisions still proscribed it. My memory may be
   so faulty that I could even be mistaken about the peal having been
   rung at all.

5) The Methods Committee reported out what are essential the Decisions
   as they are today concerning Differential Hunters, which was the
   device they invented to cope with such beasts. I think this was
   a little different than the solution to the problem proposed or
   expected by those first raising the issue, but it certainly
   scratched the itch. The proposed Decisions were given a good airing
   in the RW before the meeting and comments sought. If I remember
   correctly, and I certainly may not, the Methods Committee did not
   express an opinion for or against these changes, but merely
   presented them as the way forward, if that's what the Council

6) Apparently it is what the Council wanted, as they were adopted. One
   thing I do remember clearly was the then chairman of the Methods
   Committee, in replying to various questions, saying something along
   the lines of "Oh, methods that are false in the plain course,
   that's a different matter entirely. I really don't think the
   Exercise is ready for that yet." It caused a bit of a murmur
   through parts of the audience, and has stuck with me as the
   prototypical example of how some the more conservative factions
   within the Council view change. More on this below.

7) I believe the peal that the Birmingham band rang was accepted, even
   though it had been rung in contradiction to the Decisions as they
   existed at the time it was rung. I don't recall whether or not this
   require and act of the Council, or was simply done by the then PA
   Committee on its own.

So, if I am remembering correctly, this was an example of such a thing
happening, though barely.

I believe, though cannot know, that the reason the peal was accepted
so readily was that the wheels had been put into motion ahead of time.
Neither I nor anyone else can know for sure, but I believe if they had
just gone and rung the peal, and then asked for forgiveness, the
Council would have made more of stink about it, and we likely would
have ended up with something more like the variable cover fiasco. And,
presumably, if the past is any barometer, Birmingham's peal not being
accepted, though subsequent ones would be.

This is when my own opinion, that the "ask for forgiveness, not
permission" model really isn't working was formed. I think the
Council, by its behaviour if not its lip service, demonstrated it will
be more flexible if permission is asked first. The Method Committee
chairman's offhand remark seemed, at least to me, to really set the
tone. The impression I came away with strongly, though I may, of
course, be mistaken was that he was saying, though undoubtedly not
consciously, "OK, you forced us to move the line in the sand this
time. But we're drawing it here now, and You Shall Not Pass." Just my
subjective impression that, of course.

Don Morrison <dfm at ringing.org>
"We are all born rude. No infant has ever appeared yet with the grace
to understand how inconsiderate it is to disturb others in the
middle of the night."              -- Judith Martin, _Common Curtesy_

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