Comment – Never the twain shall meet…

IDE members should view the vice-presidential election as a vote for independence.

Comment IllustrationIt is November and it is officially election season. In the US presidential race, that seems to mean the selection of the lesser of two evils to preside over the world’s largest super-power and thereby dictate the course of the globe over the next four (or more) years.

In UK demolition circles, the vote for the next vice-president of the Institute of Demolition Engineers is imminent. Of course, neither candidate is remotely Clinton-esque or Trump-like; nor are they evil in any discernible fashion. And regardless of how the votes fall, the global geo-political climate will likely go unchanged; the world’s economy is unlikely to go into freefall.

But the need to choose the right candidate will, nonetheless, have a far-reaching impact upon the IDE and the wider demolition community; not least because it will dictate whether the Institute retains the independence with which it was blessed upon its creation and which it has long fought to protect.

In my book, Seven Decades of Strength – The History of the National Federation of Demolition Contractors – I made reference to an article that heralded the birth of the IDE. Published in the NFDC’s Demolition & Dismantling magazine in 1977, it read:

“…there was a need for a body quite separate from the trade organisation which would not be concerned with looking after the business interests of its members but would act as a professional body for the demolition engineer…”

That phrase “quite separate” should be the point upon which IDE members choose their next vice-president.

To my mind, AR Demolition’s Richard Dolman is the only one of the two candidates capable of representing that “quite separate” stance; the only one unencumbered by those business interests; the only one that is not weighed down by Federation baggage and influence.

Perhaps more importantly, Dolman personifies the IDE’s “Institute for individuals” ethos. In his pre-election blog post, former IDE President John Woodward reinforces that ethos: “…please remember that the IDE is an organisation for Individual Demolition Engineers and not company organisations and that the core membership is individuals working within our industry…”

Recent UK history – Scottish independence, Brexit – suggests that a vote for independence is akin to a turkey voting for Christmas. But this is different. A vote for Richard Dolman is not a vote for an ill-advised and ill-conceived change of direction. It is a vote for a continuation of the work of Terry Quarmby, John Woodward and their ilk.

So, as John Woodward suggests, read the biographies of both candidates before making your decision. The future rests in your hands.