Saturday, 19 June 2010

Flysheets for the Ballot

The deadline for the production of flysheets has now past (more than a week ago). Ballot papers will be circulated to the Regent House with the flysheets on or before the 28th June. Ballot papers will have to be returned by the 8th July almost exactly ten months after work began on the construction of the lift.

The main placet flysheet will be put up on this blog (immediately above this post) as will be any others (placet or non-placet) if requested by their authors for the benefit of Regents unable to wait for the 28th June!

It seems inappropriate to put up flysheets here without the consent of their authors but several flysheets are available elsewhere in the web. Two non placet flysheets will be found at and ; and the main placet flysheet will be found at

The first non placet flysheet recogises the procedural and constitutional failures by Council and recognises the aesthetic failings of the lift. The flysheet suggests that in "In due course there may be finance available for the University to rethink the changes to the Combination Room, but this is not the right time to do so." The reason for this is essentially the financially difficult position of the university at present. This is of course a powerful argument that many Regents (including the objectors to the lift) will have sympathy with.

But, of course, the Grace imposes no time limit of when the lift should be removed. So a placet vote would not require immediate demolition and would simply provide the spur to find a solution that would be absent in the case of a non-placet. And it should not be overlooked that the Council, not the objectors, are responsible for the delay and the failings that has meant that the lift has to be demolished at signifcant expense.

The other non-placet flysheet is a bit of an intemperate rant. It makes the mistake of supposing that the lift would need to be demolished before the substitute were constructed but even it says "The central authorities may have misjudged and
mishandled this project..."!

On the whole it is plain that the objectors have won the argument. Unless there are other flysheets as yet unseen there will be no serious suggestion in the flysheets that the decision was rightly taken. There should have been consultation, there should have been a Grace and it is outrageous that the Council should have tried to prevent this vote both by delay and by shenanigans with the statutes.

We will see how the Regent House votes. There will be few who vote non-placet by conviction but many, while disapproving of the Council's action, will think that in view of the cost the fait accompli should be accepted. But whatever the outcome of the vote there will be improvements to the the government of the university. The Board of Scrutiny is seized of this matter and there is talk of amendments to Statute A to ensure that Council cannnot refuse to submitt a fifty member Grace...all this is good but it would be even better if it were coupled with the demolition of the lift. Vote placet.

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