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First 'Short Walk'
After the walk they enjoyed a lunch at The George West Bay
Anyone interested in joining them will be very welcome. No audition, just come along and give it a try. Alternate Thursdays at 10.15 in St. John’s Ambulance Hall, Rax Lane, Bridport.
Group Leaders' get-together and working lunch
On 23 November over 40 of our U3A's group leaders came together at the WI Hall in Bridport for a chance to discuss a variety of topics relating to running our many interest groups.
After a welcoming cup of tea or coffee, there was some discussion as to whether 'leader' was actually the right word to describe the role, as it might put some members off offering to run a group at all. 'Facilitator', 'convenor' and 'contact' were all possibilities, but no clear conclusion was reached; 'leader/contact' seemed the closest, but a bit clumsy!
There was an offer from John Grantham to run sessions to encourage confidence in giving presentations at group meetings; this might encourage more people to come forward to run or share in running a group, so will be offered to the whole membership via email.
Leaders were reminded of the need to inform the Groups Co-ordinator of any changes in their group, such as the leader's contact details or the time and day of meetings. In addition, it was important to check regularly that group members were also U3A members; this is for insurance purposes. Leaders were asked to send the Membership Secretary a list of group members so that their membership status could be checked. This should be done around July each year, thus allowing for late renewals (which are due from 1st April).
There was a request that leaders be provided with a summary of 'dos and don'ts' in running a group; this has been done in the past and the Chairman undertook to look out these Advice Notes and update them, particularly in the light of the recent data protection legislation.
There was some discussion of public rooms available for group meetings and the need to compile a list of such rooms to put on the website for everyone to see; apparently the Tourist Information Office keeps a such a list and a copy will be obtained. If a group uses a public room for which there is a charge, the U3A will pay half the rent per monthly meeting, but leaders are asked to check with the committee first before making a firm booking.
An Incident Report form can now be downloaded from the Links page of the website in the unfortunate event of an accident or similar event. When completed, the form should be sent to the Business Secretary for filing.
Following these discussions, a buffet lunch was served, which was much enjoyed by everyone and allowed time for more informal exchanges.
BBC launches consultation on TV licences for older people
That’s probably you, or it will be soon . . .
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Politics and Assassinations
Political Discussion Group 1 met on 9 December to discuss the US Mid-term elections; and when we were bored of that, we turned to Political Assassination.
The success of the Democrats in the House of Representatives was balanced by Republican success in the Senate. We considered the trend towards more and more sophisticated gerrymandering of the electorate, so that the actual number of votes cast did not match the success of candidates. We felt that Mr Trump is a very cunning gentleman, and he will be able to blame the Democrats successfully for any failures of his policies to achieve their aims. His power to appoint senior officials and judges remains, so he will be able to resist Democrat attempts to hold him to account. For their part, Democrats will have to suck it up and smile.
Political Assassination takes place as a semi-deniable form of military aggression when double agents seek asylum abroad, or when leaders of opposition militant groups are targeted, such as in Palestine. The former is to discourage traitors, and the latter to prevent popular leaders from fronting peace negotiation attempts.
Deniable political assassinations focus on domestic targets, like Jamal Khashoggi (a journalist), Anna Politkovskaya (a Russian journalist), Benigno Aquino (a Philippine politician) or Maria Caruana (a Maltese journalist). These aim to quieten protest, protect corruption and preserve strongman rule. We agreed that they sometimes form flashpoints that lead to the opposite conclusion: the more foreign interest they inspire, the more exposed the instigator of the assassination becomes. We did not discuss the prominent role of the CIA in ensuring stable government in Latin America through assassination, nor indeed the operation codes of the UK secret services.
However, we thought Tracey Crouch, by her resignation, had shamed her colleagues to backtrack on their agreement with the gaming industry to delay introducing a ban on big-stakes gaming machines.