On democracy, and good governance, and all that

In the past few days I have exercised my member’s right to vote for board members of both Leeds Building Society and MEC, the Canadian outdoor equipment cooperative retailer (if you’re asking, I’ve been a MEC customer a number of times while visiting Canada).

Leeds Building Society offers the usual unsatisfactory British building society experience of having uncontested Board elections. MEC by contrast has a lively democracy: ten candidates for three board places. Admittedly only a small percentage of the membership tends to vote (last year 47,000 members voted out of several million), but I reckon it’s a cooperative member’s responsibility to do so… even if I do live several thousand miles from MEC’s head office.  I hope I’ve voted for candidates who will help MEC continue to thrive.

One thought on “On democracy, and good governance, and all that

  1. So what do you think about the way the Co-operative Transitional Council has ‘protected’ its own interests ( and positions) by:

    1. Implementing candidature qualification periods ( 3 years) that excludes ‘new-blood’ brought to Co-op membership after watching how badly the current Co-op membership representation performed. It’s as if the ‘Old-Guard’ wants to protect its position rather than protect the Co-op!

    2. The failure of ALL the Transitional Council to stand for re-election.

    3. The ‘stupidity’ of a Vital5 strategy that is not ‘fit’ for purpose and is a device to take the Co-op into private ownership.

    4. A key element of Vital5 is: “Repairing the plumbing!” As the Co-op has been ‘tribal’ it has a proliferation of different systems. Standardising these will ne nigh impossible because of ‘vested’ interests. To standardise such system will cost ( I estimate) over £500m.

    Where is this money to come from?

    The timescale for such improvement is 2 years maximum.

    As the Co-op is, I don’t think it will survive another 12 months.


    Duplicated shops on the same High Streets, duplicated systems ( overmanned), duplicated deliveries ( shops on same High Street delivered to from different hubs), inter-Co-op competition ( Tribalism as opposed to Federalism).

    The major problem is a membership Council that is just not up to the job. It doesn’t possess the in-depth knowledge of Retail ( objectively). It is ‘fannying’ around focused on implementing a John Lewis Partnership model when it should be assisting the exec with the generation of cost savings.

    I have identified £200m of ‘soft’ cost savings but the membership exec just doesn’t want to know.

    Can we see what this Transitional Council is being paid?

    Yours sincerely,

    Tom Reynilds.


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