Friday, 8 December 2017

EURAO Meets IARU: Latest

After a year of rather difficult relations between IARU Region 1 and EURAO, it seems things are beginning to thaw, albeit very slowly.

EURAO and IARU have just made a joint announcement about future cooperation, which can be read here.

Unfortunately, the joint statement is very much worthy of a Brexit-style negotiation.  Very little is given away, and the words about working together are as vague and general as could be imagined.

I think EURAO, which claims to be trying to modernise and energise ham radio representation, must be careful how it proceeds.  I accept it's not easy, and established committees are notoriously difficult to change.

But change must happen.  Tens of thousands of operators are, to put it bluntly, about to go to their graves, with nobody to replace them.  The age profile increases every year, in lock-step with the increasing age of members.  RFI is making shortwave radio, if not impossible, then highly unattractive to most people in the developed world now.  Who is representing us in challenging and improving matters?  For me, it feels like staring into an empty space.

At the moment, whilst nobody wants to see a fight develop, EURAO might appear in danger of being dragged into the kind of obscure, British way of doing things that, frankly, leaves most hams utterly ignorant of what it is IARU R1 actually does for them.

As previously reported on this blog, a request for general information to IARU (global) HQ in the US yielded absolutely no response whatsoever.  That is not the kind of accountability and representation that will work in today's world.

Social media is a case in point.  EURAO has a reasonably regularly updated page, although it does often seem to lack direction, leaving the outsider wondering what it is the organisation is trying to do.  And I say that as a strong supporter.

But EURAO are doing much better than IARU R1, which has not, at the time of writing this, posted a single thing since January 24, 2017, and not very much activity took place before then.

Both EURAO and IARU R1 might wish to reflect on a phenomenon that entirely changed the face of democratic representation during the last, June 2017 UK general election. 

Labour undertook a hugely energetic social media campaign that reached - and persuaded - millions of voters, especially younger voters.  The Conservatives, meanwhile, operated a very much weaker campaign.  As a result, the Conservatives saw their already weak majority fall to no overall majority, forcing a link-up with the DUP - a link up which many find distasteful.

So, let's see EURAO be a bit clearer about what it intends to do - and how.  As for IARU, well, they have already had years and years to show us why we should support them.  In my opinion, they have failed dismally.  I hope that, in response to a challenger organisation, EURAO doesn't simply get bogged-down in the same, white, middle class, old man mentality that has bedevilled ham radio in the UK for decades.

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