I start this post with some trepidation because every time I bring up the subject of Napo there tends to be a predictable response. My motives are questioned as being anti-union; there's a chorus of unions only being as good as their members; suggestions are made about meetings, passing motions, etc; or just a straight repudiation of whatever I say in terms of not enough being done by the leadership at Chivalry Road.
I don't expect this post will be any different, but in the interests of trying to put up a decent fight against TR and based on what I know the situation to be, I simply cannot stay silent. It might be the summer holidays with many colleagues either on leave or about to go on leave, but the TR clock is still ticking, there's an election going on for Napo's next leaders and the closing date for AGM motions fast approaches.
There are a number of things that need to be said and seeing as the Napo Forum has once more fallen silent, mailouts to members have ceased since Chris Pearson took up the post of interim Chair and the General Secretary's blog posts get ever more convoluted, somewhat reluctantly it looks as if the task falls to me.
Lets cut to the chase. What the hell is going on with a Judicial Review? We know from Harry Fletcher that the MoJ is astonished that there has been no legal challenge by Napo on any aspect of anything related to TR. Why not? Answer - apparently there is no money due to a loss in membership and an increase in spending across the board and the Napo leadership are refusing to consider using any of the considerable cash reserves.
At some point the membership have got to decide what to do about this state of affairs either by way of motions to put before the AGM, or making sure they use their postal ballot that elects a new Chair mandated to shake things up. Are we really going to go down in history as having allowed Chris Grayling to get away with dismantling the probation service without mounting any kind of legal challenge? I'm cautioned that there might be a secret cunning plan, but equally there might not be and there are time limits on mounting any JR.
Yet again I'm aware that approaches have been made to sympathetic lawyers by at least one disgruntled member and the clear message is that there most certainly is a case to be explored. So why is nothing happening? What's the new interim Chair doing about all this? It's most unfortunate that this kind of discourse has to happen very publicly via the megaphone of a blog, but all attempts to do otherwise have failed and radio silence has descended once more over Chivalry Road.
It's decision time folks in terms of the future direction of the union and the prosecution of the fight against TR. Is it to be steady as she goes and more of the same, or something different, but possibly volatile? All I will say is this. Only one candidate for Chair has even publicly acknowledged the existence of this blog, has openly posted contributions and is in regular contact with the author and others sympathetic to fighting TR independently of Napo. Doesn't it make sense that we all work together to fight this bloody mess? Only one candidate has shown the slightest interest in so doing.