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BREAKING: MCC members, including me, vote the “wrong way” so its “progressive committee” orders them to vote again

Tom Winnifrith
Friday 10 February 2023

I am one of those MCC members who voted the wrong way.  I really don’t care that much for the retention of the Oxford vs Cambridge match at Lords and as for Eton vs Harrow, I’d rather both establishments were shut down altogether. But I don’t like being sledged and I loathe the Orwellian abuse of the English language which seems to be the order of the day at the MCC these days.

Two years ago the progressive fellows who run the MCC Committee decided, off their own bat, to scrap the “traditional” fixtures at Lords which MCC members actually go to watch to make way for a bit more women’s cricket and cricket reaching out to marginalised communities which there is no evidence that the members, who actually own the club, want to watch.

Uproar followed and today we had the results of a “consultative ballot”. As with every communication on these matters the committee twisted the English language to deceive. So we were told that

However, the survey confirmed indications from last year that the issue of the future of the Oxford v Cambridge and Eton v Harrow fixtures at Lord’s polarises opinion among MCC Members. Just over half (53%) of those who responded to the survey support retention of Oxford v Cambridge, with 36% against. The corresponding question regarding Eton v Harrow saw an even split of opinion across all respondents, with 44% for retention and 43% against – and almost equal numbers feeling “strongly” on each side.

Can you see the slight of hand there. The committee is ignoring those who did not vote on these matters in what was a long and tedious survey. So the actual results of those voting are 59.6% vs 40.4% in favour of keeping Oxford vs Cambridge which is a pretty thumping majority. It does not polarise opinion. The members have spoken. On Eton vs Harrow the real numbers are 50.6% vs 49.4% which is a thin majority but none the less a majority. It is enough of a majority to have elected several US Presidents. If it is good enough for the most important job in the world it should be good enough for the MCC.

Having lost the consultative vote, the committee put it to those campaigning for the traditional fixtures that they be played in alternate years.  Imagine that Labour wins the next election with 60% of the vote and someone suggests that they only govern in alternate years. This is ludicrous. So what to do?  Yes, we will be made to vote again with the next ballot promised to be binding.  But this will not be a membership wide plebiscite but an AGM vote on May 3, a much smaller vote.

Presumably we will be told that it is a once in a generation vote

I rarely care about internal club matters and had the members voted to scrap both fixtures and to change the mustard and bacon club colours to the rainbows of an LGBTQI+ flag I would have taken it like a man. I would not feel strongly about this issue but above all I am a democrat.  Democracy depends on losers accepting that they have lost.  But the committee are not playing by those rules, opting to disregard a widespread consultative vote and hoping that a much smaller AGM vote goes their way. And the language in today’s email is an Orwellian distortion of the truth.

That is so obviously wrong that I am now determined to do whatever is needed just to vote at that AGM. I do this not really caring a jot about Eton vs Harrow but because of the appalling anti-democratic behaviour of the MCC Committee and its attempts to mislead us all with its twisting of data and the English language.

Footnote: It is pointed out  by a reader that the Committee allowed Associate Members, those in between waiting list and full membership, to take part in the survey. Such folks are younger and thus far more likely to oppose the traditional games. This is like extending the franchise on a particular plebiscite to 12 year olds, the sort of thing the SNP would love to do on the next IndyRef.  The club is owned by members and members alone should dictate its policies. Had the associates swung it against the traditional matches the Committee would then have fosited that decision on a club of which the associates are not actually members.  The MCC Committee really is anti-democratic.




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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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