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Vote, for a change!

Ted Nield as MCresized.jpgA larger part of this magazine than usual for a March issue is taken up with the statements of candidates in the current Council Elections.  This is because a record number of people – 17 – have decided to stand, competing for a mere seven available places among the Trustees.  They are all to be commended for their public spirit; that they should outnumber the available places by such a margin is a cause for great celebration.

What does it mean?  It means that more Fellows than ever wish to take an active part in the business of the Society, and are prepared to give up their time in order to do so.  It means also that something has changed.  People do not volunteer for duty if they are not excited by the prospect; if they think that their membership of Council will make no difference; if they think that one voice will never prevail against that oppressive orthodoxy we call the status quo.  It means they wish to participate in change, and see a chance that it might happen.

This magazine may be owned financially by the Society but it remains independent of it – spiritually, it is owned by, and owes its responsibility to, not ‘the Society’ but the Fellowship as a whole.  And it is on behalf of the Fellowship - which is sovereign in all matters - that these 17 are standing.  It now falls to the Fellowship to respond by taking just a small portion of its time to consider their statements – and vote.

Franklin D Roosevelt once said: “Nobody will ever deprive the people of the right to vote except the people themselves, and the only way they could do this is by not voting”.  Generally, the proportion of people voting in Society elections does not rise above 10%.  Compared with other learned and professional bodies (or come to that, any Building Society) this is not a low figure – it is probably on the high side of average.  But this year is different.  This year a wider cross-section of the Fellowship has decided to stand.  It behooves the Fellowship now to return a result that is based upon the widest possible section of the electorate. 

It is easier than ever to register your vote.  This year, Electoral Reform Services are running the ballot for the Society.  All you have to do is follow the instructions in the email you will receive to gain access to the voting area.  No need for a second class stamp - nor even to negotiate the Society's website. 

Please take a few minutes to read the hustings pieces, and vote with a few clicks of your mouse.  It’s the least you can do.

DR TED NIELD, EDITOR , @TedNield @geoscientistmag