[r-t] A Ringing Puzzle

John Harrison john at jaharrison.me.uk
Tue May 27 10:54:48 UTC 2014

> We now have a situation not just where the can has been kicked further
> down the road, as in previous years

I don't believe this is like previous years.  

There was very strong support for WJC's proposal for a fundamental rethink
of the decisions, and I think many people (including senior respected
people) now recognise that continual patching and dispute is not the way

I tried to strengthen the proposal because I didn't feel that asking the
Methods Committee to input its views was not the best first step, but it
was late in the day and people were getting tired.  

However the President emphasised that others can submit views about how to
proceed, and that the way ahead will be decided by the officers & Admin
Committee.  I intend to submit view and I am sure others will too.

> Tony Smith, a fresh voice newly-re-elected to the Methods Committee (!)  

In a way I sympathise with Tony.  He has put decades of his life into
building a robust and consistent framework on top of what we inherited from
the Law James era.  That's a considerable technical achievement by any
yardstick given the trends on modern ringing.  It cannot be easy to come to
accept that it might have been better to approach the problem from the
other end.  

> "This motion will cause a lot of work and very little change. It is a
> mistake".

It will cause a lot of work.  Even if the talent of people like Tony can be
harnessed with rather than against the reform it will still take a lot of
effort to achieve the twin aims of re-formulating the Decisions on a
permissive rather than prescriptive basis, while also maintaining good
continuity of the descriptive framework and overall consistency.  

To do it properly (ie to capture a community consensus in a consistent
structure) will also take time because it will entail a lot of
consultation, consideration and revision.

> So who thinks meaningful change will happen in the next year? 

Depends what you mean by meaningful change.  We will not have a revised set
of Decisions by next year (I hope because if they are rushed they will be
half baked) but I believe we will be working towards major revision within
the next few years.

> ... it's as clear as ever that no change will happen from within.

The Council has changed a lot during the 25 years I have served on it, and
I believe it is now capable of making this sort of change, especially if it
can draw on constructive support from the rest of the ringing community.  


John Harrison
Website http://jaharrison.me.uk

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