Comment – Time for members to speak…

Surely now NFDC members should be asking who REALLY controls THEIR Federation?

I would like to think that when newly-ousted NFDC President Paul Brown woke this morning, he did so rested and rejuvenated; the heavy burden of his troubled presidency having been lifted – albeit unceremoniously – from his sturdy shoulders.

I would like to think that those that manoeuvred, bullied and cajoled him prematurely towards the exit left for work unshaven having been unable to look themselves in the mirror after destroying a man’s lifelong ambition in such a cruel, heartless and unnecessary fashion.

And I would like to think that the massed ranks of the National Federation of Demolition Contractors are planning to descend upon the Federation’s Hemel Hempstead headquarters armed with flaming torches and pitch-forks to protest at how their express wishes were ignored.

Such notions are fanciful, of course.

Paul Brown likely awoke every bit as sad, frustrated and justifiably angry today as he will have been last night. Those that ousted him will probably toast their success in a mission accomplished. And individual NFDC members will barely notice that a coup has taken place right under their unsuspecting noses.

This is not the end of it, of course. Brown’s premature and enforced departure is only the beginning. He has been attending Federation functions since he was accompanying his father as a child. Function-wise, his diary has been largely emptied overnight. The invitations will dry up. He will move quickly from inner circle to beyond the outer circle in a matter of days as he is ostracised and snubbed by those with whom he has broken bread for decades.

For the inner coterie that brought about his demise, thoughts have already turned to appointing Paul Brown’s replacement. There is a National Council meeting later this month at which a hand-picked, interim and caretaker president will likely be put in place. Not elected, you understand. Put in place.

Then there’s the members: the individual corporate and associate members that actually own the Federation; the members whose financial contributions have helped the Federation and the NDTG feather their respective nests; the members whose hard-earned cash funds the functions in fancy hotels, funds conventions in far-flung locations, whose hard-earned cash covers the expenses of the Federation officers. Those same members that voted in support of the president at the Extraordinary General Meeting; who backed him again at the Annual General Meeting; and who have seen their wishes ignored, flouted and disregarded.

Those members should be up in arms. There should be rebellion in the air. Those members should be demanding an explanation over Paul Brown’s ejection; over the Executive Committee’s failure to abide by Companies House rules; over how their money is allocated and used.

Perhaps even more than that, members should be questioning how THEIR Federation is actually being run. They should be questioning the aptitude of those in charge with all the voracity that those in charge questioned Paul Brown’s suitability for the presidency. They should be questioning the true motives behind Paul Brown’s removal.

But they won’t. A good many NFDC members pay their annual subscription purely in the vain hope that it might help fast-track them onto certain tender lists. And even those that attend all the meetings, who believe passionately in the Federation and who actually practice the unity and sharing of best practice that the Federation once espoused will be able to do precious little about the current situation.

As the removal of Paul Brown has proved categorically, the members might own the NFDC and they might finance it. But they sure as Hell don’t run it.