a modest proposal re: umbrella group
- a) existing groups:
There are a number of "umbrella" British groups that already exist, as Steve Hartwick pointed out. BNALHA, 1BNAR, and NABB. Each of these entities has its strengths and weaknesses, and differing goals and objectives, that I don't propose to dwell on. I would merely observe that the membership - or at least, the active membership - of each of them is not comprehensive of all the British units. Also, there appear to be aspects of functions that an umbrella organisation might usefully carry on that the discussions on the List have identified that are not being carried on by these organisations.
Several possibilities exist at this moment. We could build a new organisation, or one of the existing organisations might be modified or expanded to carry out the functions the time period decides it wants done.
b) Some desirable functions for an umbrella organisation might include:
* Information dissemination. Patterns, sources of supply, drill manuals, events.
* Promotion of the timeperiod
* Assistance to events re: desirable safety rules, etc.
* Field command structure, the creation of larger multi-unit formations
It seems to me that the challenge is to identify goals that the majority of persons in the time-period can agree are useful, and to structure the organisation to actually accomplish some of those goals, and so that all reasonable views are accomodated.
By starting off simple, and concentrating initially on the desirable positive goals that everyone can agree are "good" for the time period, then we might be able to move slowly forward until an organisation evolves that we can all feel comfortable with.
With this in mind, it seems to me that "information dissemination" and "promotion of the timeperiod" are likely to be "organisation-building" activities. So let's see what can be done along these lines.
"Safety rules" and "field command structure" issues might be more problematic. So let's avoid them (at least initially) like the plague.
It seems to me that the Fort York meeting was a "no-go" from the "get-go", and a face-to-face "conference" at this point in time is likely not a good idea. More ground work has to be done, and more concensus on the positive things an umbrella organisation can be and do is necessary. A conference might be a good idea to polish up a final draft that has already been mooted by everyone in advance.
Actually, I wonder if a "face-to-face" conference is either necessary, possible, or desirable, at any point in the future.
Not Necessary, because we now have the Internet.
Not Possible, because we are all scattered across the face of the continent.
Not Desirable, because I think we might be able to create something better: we can set something up on the Internet that will allow everyone a chance to get their input before the "community of the realm" in an egalitarian manner impossible in a face-to-face meeting where time would be short for discussion and inevitably only relatively few persons would be able to speak.
We can set up a system that will allow decisions to be made after careful thought and after tapping in to all good ideas put in by anyone who has access to the Net.
The Net will allow maximum availability of shared information. The "shared files" area of this List is just a small example of what could be done. Patterns, drill manuals, sources of supply, etc. can all be put on a web site. In fact, the web site might be primarily a "linking tool" to the excellent sources of information that are already on the web. All that might be required is to find those sources, and identify and fill any information "holes" that exist -and there might not be any!
The Umbrella Organization could draft policies on the net, then post them to the web site, with everyone given a chance to fully participate. There is no reason why there could not be "best" recommended practices, and "acceptable" practices; with provision for persons pro and con to post a "majority" position on a given practice, as well as a minority