Friday, 24 August 2012


The August meeting of the Pensioners' Association fully exposed the true position of the membership.  

Several had already (in July) terminated their membership over a spat about payment of conference admission - the admission fee was included in the cost of the Blackpool visit.  The admission fee was £5 per person but members were only charged £3 - the association paid the balance of £2.  It was assumed most of the thirty 'delegates' to the Pensioners' Parliament would, in fact, attend the several organised workshops on pensioner issues and would then provide feed-back at a future meeting but only THREE attended - the rest went off 'shopping' throughout the visit.  The vast majority had absolutely no interest in being involved in the parliament or of being part of a campaigning organisation.  Many of them had never been members of B&FPA but had always been very keen to attend the annual subsidised Christmas lunch.

At the August meeting, members devoted much time and effort to discussing where and when they could hold a 'dinner' and by how much the cost ought to be subsidised by the association.  This sudden 'flurry of interest' was generated when the Treasurer (me) gave details of the funds held by the association - well over a thousand pounds.  Members were reminded that this money was for promoting pensioner matters....campaigning for better pensions, allowances, health care, etc., by holding public meetings, advertising events in the local press, purchasing leaflets, posters, and placards and paying the expenses of any invited speakers.... NOT for partying.  If partying, bingo, raffles, sing-alongs, and day trips was what interested them then there were plenty of other pensioner groups in the area already providing these.  Barrow and Furness Pensioners' Association always was, and remains, a campaigning organisation - not a social club.

This message has been delivered several times during my six-year membership of the association yet that message consistently falls on deaf ears.  The fact of the matter is that they do not want a campaigning organisation (which is why they never attend a leaflet distribution in the town for just two hours once a month) and, through non-cooperation, hope to change the constitution of the pensioners' association to that of a social club.  Holding a monthly business meeting for members such as these, who hope to be 'entertained' and have a good carping session, is of no benefit to any pensioners' campaign and just a waste of activists' time and effort.  

Personally, I can't see B&FPA continuing for much longer.  Either it becomes a social club or it gets wound up altogether and matters will surely come to a head at the Annual General Meeting in October.

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