Sunday, 31 May 2015


- Can I have a quiet word ?
- Sure.....there's no snooping members hanging around thank God
- Well , it seems that the gerrymandering antics which took place in last month AGM could well
  mean the election results being declared null and void... this could be a golden opportunity
  get our candidate voted in as chairman.... if new elections can be quickly organised and
  secretly rigged  
- That would be great
- Agreed......but remember.........this isn't about our little group gaining privileges , generous 
  expense accounts , hand-outs and other advantages . Our main aim must focus on a noble
  cause........and that is to restore openness , accountability , integrity and respectability in the
  running of club by a competent , utterly dedicated and focused committee 
- Indeed...
- Because let's face it....  what's more important than ridding the club of nepotism , unhealthy
  divisions, elitism , corruption  and underhand dealings ?  If this club ends up with the chosen 
  one and ourselves on the new the sole beneficiaries of this clean up.....then 
  surely that has to be the right thing to happen
- Yes.......because then we'll be free to pull down the blind on the ordinary members , to reek 
  revenge , sort out and get rid of the undesirables , and to bleed the club's finances dry in
  pursuit of female supremacy and dominance  
- now is the time to set things in motion.... and get this all important extraordinary
  general meeting underway

Saturday, 30 May 2015

WHAT MIGHT THE FUTURE  HOLD FOR THE GAME OF BRIDGE ?............( Bridgemeister reflects on a recent newspaper article )

The other day a very rare and unusual thing occurred : an article about bridge appearing in one the country's leading newspapers :

To a certain extent there was a small measure of hope and optimism about the future of bridge in that young people were " starting to swap nightclubs for bridge clubs " , with membership of the under-25's tripling over the last three years.
Alas , the statistics issued by the Bridge Union were misleading , because the stark reality was 
numbers were still depressingly low : membership had only grown from 106 to 344. The start of a revolution ?  I very much doubt it. 
The article then explored the possible reasons why this sudden increase in young members might be nothing more than a false dawn.  Bridge it seems has a negative image problem. Far too many people have the wrong idea about the game. Its reputation is one of grumpy old grey-haired fogeys , staring at hands of cards , slowly and ponderously deciding what bid to make , or which card to play next. Not an image which is likely to excite today's youngsters.
Thankfully , bridge is being introduced into schools which helps to break down any negative preconceptions. School kids , who love and enjoy mind games , can see and experience for themselves the stimulating challenge and passion the game can generate. But there again , they are all computer savvy and will be quick to pick up on the fact that bridge on the internet is far easier to access , available 24/7, and cheap to play. Moreover , they can hop in and out of a game without having to make any excuses or apologies. Perfect.
Then of course one has to acknowledge two other off-putting factors as to why young people , who fancy taking up bridge , might well reject the idea of joining a club. First off is the cost of taking a course of bridge lessons , which can last 10-12 weeks, which will quickly empty their cash-strapped purses. Secondly , there is the monstrous ogre of the highly intimidating Rule Book , which comes into play at every perceived transgression.  With so much to pick up and learn the task ahead seems both daunting and unappealing. Retired elderly people of course have plenty of time to spare, free of job security and financial worries. Young people who lead busy lives and work long hours seek to engage in pastimes which are quick, easy and  fast. 
So perhaps then there is a need for clubs to introduce a slicker , faster , more streamlined version of the game , namely rubber bridge. A game that can be played by as few as four , even possibly for money,. A version where the rule book is no longer than a page , where poker elements are embodied into the play , and where the participants " swap the Victoria sponge for Havanas , and the Earl Grey Tea for malt liquor ". Hopefully , young people might stick around a little longer to make the transition into duplicate bridge.

Friday, 29 May 2015


  • How To Turn An Harmless AGM Into A Complete Riot......................Ray Sinell 
  • What To Do When An AGM Turns Really Violent And Nasty.............Ron L. Furlether 
  • Our Chairman Looks A Pained And Troubled Man............................Watson Ismind
  • Partner , You Know I'll Treat You In A Loving Tender Way..................Ophelia Wright
  • How To Be Lady Player But Stay As Solid As An Oak.......................Ebony Wood
  • You're Almost There Partner On Solving This Squeeze Problem........Luke Warme
  • There's A Real Problem When You Have So Many Partners..............Jenny Tullwarts
  • This Damn Club Of Ours Is Really In The Shit....................................Ross Ewage
  • Losing Tight Matches Leaves A Pain In My Stomach.........................Tommy Aikin
  • Winning A Tournament Makes Me Want To Dance.........................Kay June Hoe-Downe
  • Whenever Partner Fouls Up Just Keep On Belting Him.....................Tilly Lernes
  • At Long Last Partner We've Found A Right Good Fit.........................Dick Welling
  • That Bloke Started Playing Bridge Before World War 2....................Harold Hissey
  • Bid Boldly , Be Adventurous And Plunder What You Can...................Buck Kineer
  • Don't Upset Volatile Partners In Case They Go Berserk.....................Ron Haymock
  • Our Youngest Lady Player Only Likes To Partner Big Men.................Fonda Cox

Thursday, 28 May 2015


Tuesday, 26 May 2015


" What On Earth Are You Doing To That Poor Woman ! " , by Hanz Hoffer , was voted book of the year by fellow authors and literary critics.
This stunning and revealing masterpiece was the product of fifteen years thorough investigation and research into the strange and secretive world of bridge. The main focus of his work was to look at the appalling manner and way men behaved towards women. What Hoffer discovered was a world blighted by sexist attitudes and prejudice , where women were regarded as inferior players , and easy prey for those looking to inflict both psychological and physical pain on others.
The most harrowing chapter in the book describes in detail the most serious assaults carried out against lady members. In one rather disturbing case  a male member , in a pique of anger , grabbed the shoulders of a little old lady only to shake her violently, before two concerned onlookers screamed at him to stop. This attack all stemmed from overhearing a remark made in a private conversation about the questionable antics and shenanigans of the committee at a previous AGM.
What is so unnerving about this book is the way it shatters and destroys the myth that bridge clubs are places which promote a friendly and social environment . The author proves beyond all shadow of doubt that bridge brings out the worst in men. Their arrogant , aggressive and bullying behaviour clearly flies in the face of all known protocol , etiquette ,  good manners , best behaviour rules  and , of course ,  courteous respect and concern for lady members. Readers are forced to accept the irrefutable conclusion that there is a very dark side to the male human condition , one which is extremely vulgar, ugly and unpleasant.  
Hanz Hoffer is an exceptional and gifted writer , who has lifted the lid on the world of bridge, revealing it to be as shocking as it is bizarre. This is a place where chauvinistic attitudes still prevail : a gladiatorial arena where women will continue to fall victim to predatory males , driven by their irresistible hunting instinct and testosterone-fuelled aggression.   

Sunday, 24 May 2015

  • I'm Fast Losing The Will To Live With These Damn AGMs......Diana Bordem  
  • Committee Members ?   I'd Shoot The Lot Of Them...............Moe M. Downe
  • So What's Your Beef With this Committee Then  ?.................Don Soddall 
  • I Know A Man You Can Sell You A Few Firearms...................Bren Gunn 
  • I Think These Actions Are Those Of A Madman......................Lou Scannon
  • What Preparations If Any Have Been Carried Out ?...............Doug Graves
  • But I Need Someone To Help Me Carry The Coffins...............Paul Bairah
  • Take My Advice : If The Police Come After You .....................Stan Ferme 
  • I Can Think Of Dozens More Who Should Be Shot..................Jenna Syde  
  • Then I'm Gonna Hide Low Where No One Can Find Me...........Farrah Way      

Saturday, 23 May 2015


Slaughter House BC chairman , Bigot-Johnson , finally admitted that there were other things in his life other than bridge , and that on one occasion he had done it with a woman.
This unsolicited confession followed allegations of his  "gay credentials " and rather dubious toilet activities, by the ultra straight , heterosexual members in his club , renown for their scatological hang ups.
Bigot-Johnson said " I'm too much of a ladies man . However , as a true gentleman and a man of trust I cannot reveal her name. Nevertheless , she was the perfect partner in every sense of the word , in that she was ideologically committed  to solving the really big issues , which have blighted the bridge world for years.
Inflamed by a late night discussion on how to clean up the game of bridge from corrupt administrators and cheats at the table , we took upon ourselves to go off into the hotel gardens , where we made passionate love under a cherry blossom tree. It was like an erotic scene from a blue movie.
Mind you the cat was almost let out of the bag , for on returning home my wife insisted on unpacking my suitcase , only to innocently remark why one of my socks was missing . "

Thursday, 21 May 2015


  • This Revised System Of Yours Is A Great Improvement ........Mortimer Liking
  • Partner, You're Are A Complete And Utter Tosser..................Nadia Seymour 
  • If The Committee Ban Me Then I'll Sue The Lot Of Them........Midas Well
  • Pleas Don't Go On About Flying Bloody Bridgemates............Lee Vittalone
  • Partner, I've Lost The Will To Keep Shafting Opponents........Drew Peacock
  • So What If I'm A Loose Cannon And A Maverick.....................Barnaby Wilde
  • This Partnership Of Ours Has Reached Perfection..................Evan Maide
  • I Need To Find My Ex-Partner , My Dear Sweet Fanny............Bea Verhunt
  • Getting One Straight Bottom After Another Really Hurts..........Payne N. Suffring
  • When Partner Makes A Mistake Punish The Bugger...............Enid Slappin
  • Listen Have I Got  Real Some Juicy Gossip Here.....................Ben Yurriah
  • Yes , I'll send You A Copy Of My Latest Bridge Book...............Freida Livery 

NP :  Bidding always takes place before any cards are played
RB :  Oh....and what is the purpose of the bidding ?
NP : Well... in order to compete in the auction , we use bids wherever possible to describe the shape , distribution and strength of our hands. This enables us to determine the best course of action to take towards the end
RB : So I take it you open the bidding with your longest suit ?
NP : Good Lord no.....that kind of bidding went out with the ark . You must make an opening bid that confirms your willingness  to compete but as yet says nothing about your best YOU MUST ALERT 
RB : Oh I alert card is needed to tell the opponents you've not bid a natural suit ....and therefore they are at liberty to inquire as to what it actually means
NP : Exactly ....and especially in the case where the alert bid has several alternative meanings
RB : So when I give an answer it demonstrates to you my knowledge of the system , filling you with reassurance and confidence at the same time
NP : Yes....exactly....correct explanations will keep the opponents guessing all the time , creating doubt and confusion in their minds 
RB : But how do I respond to an artificial opening bid then ?
NP : You make an artificial one of your own.... to which I must alert. In fact we keep alerting all our bids until we arrive at the final contract . Many of our bids will be inquiry bids , stepped responses showing point count , questions of our own , transfers , stop asking bids , plus a whole raft of other conventions and gadgets
RB : So a typical auction is one alert bid after another ?
NP : By George you've got's all about shafting your opponents while secretly determining the best spot to play. 
RB : So one is forced to use deduction , logic , inferences and table presence ?
NP : Yes...
RB : Anything else ?
NP : Well , facial expressions , body language and finger signals and timed hesitates can be employed if need be
RB : But might we end up in the wrong contract ?
NP : On occasions yes....but that's all part of the see it's more likely my system causes the opponents to end up in the wrong contract
RB : I like it can you give me an example of how your system works ?
NP : I would love you...
.               1C  : Could be anything
                1D :  Partner I've got points too ( 10+ )
                2D  : I have a two-suiter , a major and a minor
                2NT : Asking bid . What is your short minor ?
                3C :  Clubs
                3S :  I have hearts  
                3NT : Well , I have spades
                4D :  I think partner with my diamonds and no clubs this is our best spot
So there you have it ......a brilliant auction arrived at without diamonds ever being shown in the earlier bidding
RB : Brilliant............. 

AN AMAZING BUT TRUE STORY......( As told to Bridgemeister Gibson in prose )

It was the National Pairs with reputations to make
Good partners were needed make no mistake
God turned up with a cracking good ringer
A bridge playing monk, an ex-choral singer
Alas for The devil for who did he pick ?
A drug-taking gangster dimwitted and thick
God told The Devil the trophy was his
He laughed as he spoke. He was taking the piss
As God went away looking incredibly smug
The Devil then gave the monk a big hug
" Heaven's full of good men, I know that's the case
But Hell's not so bad , it's a fun loving place
But life for you must be endlessly weary
Praying to God sounds so awfully dreary
Why not be a sinner , and swim in my pool
You be my partner , let God have the fool
It's great to have sex , being naughty all through
Just ask my girls as to what they can do "
With the switch taking place The devil did smile
For he won the event by the proverbial mile
As he took to the stage to claim his first prize
He stared down at God with joy in his eyes
So the moral of this story is never give in
Turn defeat into victory by relying on sin  


Tuesday, 19 May 2015


  • So Many Self-Proclaimed Bridge Experts Talk Crap....................Tommy Rott
  • In fact Most Bridge Players Talk Utter Nonsense...........................Bill Owney 
  • My Partner Is A Complete Brain-Dead Moron................................Ria Tard
  • Don't Throw Bridgemates At Partners , Try Something Else...........Roxanne Stones
  • All Partners Need A Right Good Telling Off..................................Cass T. Gatum
  • Why Is It Players Always Hesitate When Playing A Singleton ?....Vera Strange
  • The Idiots I've Partnered Have Driven Me To Drink..........................Bud Weiser
  • Partner , Why On Earth Did You Trump My Winner ?.....................Pete Sake
  • What Happened To The Slaughter House BC Chairman ? ...............Fay Tilly Shott
  • It's Important To Remember The Great Players Of The Past..........Les Wefer-Gette

Sunday, 17 May 2015


Saturday, 16 May 2015

( Dr.John talks to a leading criminologist , Professor Fuller Crapp )

Dr.J : Am I right to say that the only way to understand the outrageous actions of a serial bridgemate thrower is for you to go inside of mind of such a lunatic ?
Prof : Without a doubt....
Dr.J : And what will you expect to find inside his mind ?
Prof : Who knows ?
Dr. J : But I'm asking you because you're the one person who ought to know what makes this person behave like that
Prof : Well, it's more than likely I'm going to discover that this madman is nothing more than a pathetic loner
Dr. J : Hold on a mo....from my study of this individual he's a notorious womaniser, who also loves to go out on weekend benders with his drinking mates......not to mention his love of parties , social gatherings and orgies , where drinks are likely to be free. The man is reputed to be an ageing , out-going, gregarious, hedonistic playboy
Prof : Well in that case then ....I would expect to find this person being the victim of a tragic and troubled childhood , starved of emotional support and love.....a childhood perhaps blighted by constant bullying at school and rejection by his peers 
Dr. J : Not so....he had a happy, rampant which many of us would envy. He was revered by all his followers and gang members, constantly attracting the attention of girls who knew how to give a young man a really good time. His devoted parents read all the books on how to bring up a fully grounded, well balanced , loving child. 
Prof : Oh dear ....this narrows it down to only one or two possible causes for these bridgemate tantrums. Either the man has an undiagnosed brain injury as a result of an accident , fall or attack .....or he has a genetic make up which dictates the bizarre way he behaves
Dr. J : Sorry to contradict your assumptions... but neither of those two possibilities apply. He has never suffered , as far as I know , any injury of any kind ,  relying on others to do carry out any dangerous and dirty work on his behalf , where health and safety risks are involved........ And what's more his exemplary behaviour is only undermined by occasional bouts impatience and intolerance , when forced to confront fools he has the misfortune to encounter. In fact the man is as normal as you and I....
Prof : Oh....then all this leaves me to conclude that there is only one characteristic of his mind left....worthy of which matches the highly disturbing trait .... all psychopathic bridge players are known to possess
Dr. J : And what's that ?
Prof : An alarming predisposition towards hurtling bridgemates with malice aforethought at players who need sharp , pointed reminders on the rules and ethics of the game.....a way of hammering home important messages... so to speak
Dr. J : Professor.....that was a truly brilliant analysis
Prof : I know...I know......


Thursday, 14 May 2015


It seems to be the case that bridge players the world over have fallen victim to this particular syndrome ,  without it ever being properly diagnosed. This is because the condition is a combination of three disorders of which only one is occasionally recognised and identified.
Named after Winnie The Pooh , who really was a rather disturbed bear , details of this particular all encompassing syndrome were first published in an article by the Canadian Medical Association. Researchers there diagnosed and identified the bear as having 3 disorders which clearly match those of many bridge players. These involve the following behaviours.

1. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Here the victim suffers from the inattentive sub-type, where he exhibits careless and indifferent behaviour towards those around him , which in the case of bridge players includes partners, opponents and tournament directors. 

2. Impulsivity and obsessive fixations. Bridge players , just like Pooh , are obsessed by the idea that everyone is out to get them. Another deep seated obsession is their overwhelming desire to grab glory , wherever and whenever they can , irrespective of the cost and the risks involved. The glory might not be a jar of honey , but every top they can get is worth its weight in gold and self-adulation. This fixation has clearly contributed to the development of a results merchant persona , and the callous adoption of unethical and coffee-housing tactics in order to screw their opponents.  

3. Obsessive-compulsive disorder. Here sufferers exhibit repetitive counting. What cards have been played in each suit , and how the remaining cards may be divided between the other three players. HCPs are counted out as the cards are played , leaving further counting to be done as to what HCPs could be left in the two unseen hands. Given that the Winnie The Pooh syndrome has a combination of disorders, the likelihood is that a victim of this condition will develop a habit of talking out loud , as if he had a giant invisible,  impaired hearing,  rabbit sitting on his knee.

Sadly , treating victims with combination disorders is far from easy , and as yet no successful treatment or therapy has been found for this particular syndrome.  Indeed, Winnie The Pooh , despite the best efforts of his friends to help him and change his ways , seems utterly content to stay the same. Bridge players , clearly,  are no different. 

Wednesday, 13 May 2015


Northern Pro : Why are you so glum ?
Partner : I can't take it anymore. Your system is doing my head in . It's best you find a new partner
Northern Pro : I wont hear of it. Christ man I think you and I are on the verge of taking on the bridge world big time. You see I've tweaked my incredibly brilliant bidding system in such a way as to guarantee success. You just need to give yourself more time to get the hang of it
Partner : I can't hack it.....I'm being forced to alert every bid you make never being in a position to explain exactly what it means. And all these damn changes and alterations you keep making leave me completely confused and befuddled. I'm at my wits' end as to how to respond when interference and barrage bids come raining in.
Northern Pro : You poor man....I never realised that you were experiencing so much difficulty and trouble in getting to grips with my system. I just had you down as having lapses .....the consequence of forgetfulness or lack of concentration 
Partner : I'm so sorry....but I was wrong to ever believe I could cope with such bidding complexities.....and for that reason It's best we part our ways
Northern Pro : I wont hear of it......we must forget about the past and face a new dawn together. Far better then to start off afresh with a back-to-basics system card
Partner : Yes....yes
Norther Pro : So opening bids are as follows.  One club shows a flat hand 12-14 with at least one 4 card major. This leaves the way to opening one no trump with either a flat 12-14 , denying a 4 card major , and if the suit is clubs then this could be five or more. One diamond ,heart , spade promises at least a 5-card suit......
Partner ( discretely wiping away tears of joy ) : Oh that's sounds so easy. So there will be no relay bids , stepped responses to show point count , and passing out protection bids on sod all points ?
Northern Pro : Correct
Partner : Just a few standard conventions and hardly any need to alert ?
Northern Pro : Correct
Partner : A system card that almost looks almost blank
Northern Pro : I should hope so
Partner : Well count me in...
Northern Pro : Yes.... I guess the time has come for this well-educated , supremely gifted bridge player.....who stands before you.....or should I say... above you.... to overlook the inferior brain power of those less intelligent than come down from my lofty exulted position and perform my magic with just a few basic bidding tools. Yes...that's my destiny , my new great challenge ....and so I will call our basic simple system The Moronic Club.......and who know what the future will hold ?

( Footnote : Since that conversation The Northern Pro and his partner have scored 60% or better on every outing to date,  lifting their national grade rankings from 9 to that of a King. )

Monday, 11 May 2015


In a world of spiralling prices ,  travel and accommodation costs put a considerable financial burden on players , who have already shelled out on ever-rising, inflation topping entry fees. Although the experience for many can be very rewarding in terms of ranking points , taking on some big names, and making new friends , everyone will no doubt do a personal cost-benefit analysis , hoping to see a value-for-money outcome.
For organisers , selecting posh overly-expensive venues might well suit the rich , the wealthy and the snobs , but for the majority a big room is all that they ask for. May be a school assembly hall located in a quiet inexpensive district. Accommodation thankfully is usually left to the participants to sort out according to their budget. Needless to say, whenever the cost of hiring out an expensive venue is recovered in the price set for the entry fees, then an economic truth comes home to roost : the higher the price the lower the demand.
To stimulate demand certain initiatives need to be considered and acted upon :
1. Venues with large rooms need to be in places with good road/rail links , with plenty of nearby low cost , value-for-money accommodation options. Group bookings need to be encouraged where several clubs could work as one in setting up such an arrangement.
2. Shared travel costs , especially when several participants all come from the same area. 
3. Committees using surplus funds to help pay for members' entry fees , perhaps being the prize for winning a recent club competition. Either entry fees are either paid in full or are heavily subsidised.
4. Organisers by looking to save money on less expensive venues , can now afford to offer a more generous range of prizes. A large proportion of the prize fund should always be set aside for the outright winners , but other lower placed competitors could also qualify for prizes based on a handicap system of scoring. 
5. If organisers are able to make a surplus on one event , then that surplus should then go directly to subsidise the next one by simply reducing the entry fees accordingly. This should hopefully stimulate demand even more , turning that next event into another surplus generating one. The need here is to establish a virtuous circle and not a vicious one.
6. Even in a bridge tournament , as with any other sport ,  the need to create a level playing field is of paramount importance. In my view competitors can either enter a field where everyone plays to a standard system , all playing off the same card , or those who revel in unorthodox , obscure , complex bidding systems have the option to play in an anything-goes competition , happy to spend priceless minutes explaining bids to their opponents or have bids explained to them.



Sunday, 10 May 2015



With so many homosexual members demanding a review of the toilet facilities , and calling for the " cleaning up " of behaviour involving those who simply go there to off-load unwanted body fluids and matter , Bigot-Johnson felt the time had come to implement their requests.
Club toilets are to be cleaned up immediately ,  in order to ensure that any member keen to engage in sexual activity with his partner has a right to do so , never to be embarrassed or disturbed by others wanting to use the facilities for bowel or bladder relief. " The committee are firmly behind me in that there needs to be a crackdown  on this filthy habit of  bowel evacuation and floor wetting in rooms ideally suited for ordinary cottaging homosexual members to do their business. These are members who like to nip out between rounds , seeking to gel more with each other and live life to the full. 
When questioned about where members should go now to relieve themselves , Bigot was quick to point out that unlimited options were available. " They should eat and drink less before they go out ,  pay a call before they arrive at the club , try much harder to hold it in , or when the pressure becomes overwhelming  visit the pub opposite , or use the privacy of the club gardens and their own cars . However the most practical option is to wear pads at all times ,  if there's a real and unavoidable risk of being taken short. " 

Friday, 8 May 2015



Thursday, 7 May 2015


Chairman : This bloody problem hasn't blown away like you figured
Secretary :  I know....the whole thing has become a living nightmare
Chairman : Yes....and club members are now beginning to ask questions
Secretary :  I know.....
Chairman : So what we need is a plan of action
Secretary :  I know....
Chairman : First off.....we need to transfer blame elsewhere
Secretary : Brilliant idea
Chairman : The committee must be seen as " the victims " not the culprits....or
                    the instigators of this problem
Secretary : Too right
Chairman  : Then we must mount a sustained propaganda campaign , making
                    sure that any information about this problem is drip-fed to the membership
                    in a highly sanitised sanitised in fact it becomes grossly
                    misleading. This will of course require a magical blend of vivid imagination
                    and blatant spin doctoring
Secretary : I'll get onto straight away...I have a friend who just been released from prison 
                    having been found guilty of several ponzi investment scams.....he can
                    con anybody
Chairman : Excellent he sounds like the perfect PR man we're looking for....
Secretary : Any other tactics we can adopt ?
Chairman : Yes there is.....we need to constantly swap and change roles on the committee.
                    Things could go pear shape with no one believing that we were the victims. So by 
                    switching and swapping around the committee posts between ourselves we have
                    the perfect  " get out " clause.    Because when blame finally comes knocking at the 
                    committee's door , we as THE NEW COMMITTEE can deny all responsibility , 
                    claiming that it was the old one which completely fucked up
Secretary : Chairman...I've got to hand it too seem to have all the bases covered
Chairman : I know...

Wednesday, 6 May 2015


Chairman : We've got a big problem on our hands
Secretary : I should say so.....and one all down to our doing
Chairman : So how do we keep a lid on it then ?
Secretary : We'll bring it up in  " any other business " after deliberately stretching out the boring non-relevant house-keeping stuff to the point that the ordinary committee will be biting at the bit to get away. Now we can ensure that all items listed under any other business will be quickly and easily glossed over..... without ever having to reveal the awful truth about the damage already done to the club as a result of our gross negligence and incompetence 
Chairman : Brilliant.......but what about the minutes ?
Secretary : No problem .....I'll edit them in such a way that items of any real substance or concern to the membership wont get a solitary mention , because let's remember in law  " silence is no misrepresentation " 
Chairman : So what will be left in the minutes for members to be informed about ?
Secretary : The date of our meeting 

Sunday, 3 May 2015


( A true story that goes one step beyond the bizarre. The real names of the bad and the ugly have been discretely omitted for fear of heaping even more shame and humiliation upon them. )

A bit of background :
One rather nasty piece of work took it upon herself to put in a completely unjustified complaint against a certain Mr.Good. For reasons that go beyond the pale she easily convinces four very obliging and gung ho committee members to embark upon a witch hunt against this decent and honest individual.  These four baddies seized upon this complaint to rid the club of someone belonging to " the other side ".  Engaging in all sorts of behind-the-scenes shenanigans, and ignoring all proper procedures and rules of natural justice , they finally held a committee meeting between themselves to do the dirty deed. Although they denied their victim his basic rights under the Constitution , they did at least meet one requirement of the club's disciplinary code , namely a 4-0 majority vote needed to get him expelled. The disproportionate punishment in relation to the pettiness of the alleged offence , the failure to follow the club's own disciplinary procedures , the complete and utter disregard to adhere to rules of natural justice, and the fact that Mr. Good did so much good work for the club.... all accounted for nothing.
However, before Mr.Good had been notified of the committee's decision to kick him out , having undertaken a hearing in his absence , supporters in his camp had made enquiries as to legal implications for both sides. The contents of two letters they received ( shown below ) were made known to the rogue conspirators,  who then proceeded to ignore the reality of the situation . These were people who were not to back down without a fight. 
Exhibit (a) : A letter from one of the top people in the EBU who attempted to spell out the manner and way expulsions needed be carried out , which would stand up to legal scrutiny and approval : 

To whom it may concern
Thanks for your phone call this morning. Whilst I cannot comment on anything specific you told me I would make the following observations of a general nature.
A) Committee meetings should be open to all committee members. It is inappropriate to call a committee meeting where some of the committee have not been invited. Decisions made by such a meeting are probably unconstitutional.
B) Matters raised at committee meetings under 'Any other business' should not relate to substantive proposals that should have been proper agenda items for which proper notice should have been given.
C) Disciplinary procedures. The following is from the EBU Model Club Constitution:  -  
15.            CONDUCT
15.1.   In the event of a complaint being made to the Committee about the conduct of a member of the Club the Committee may (and if a written complaint is received signed by at least three members of the Club, it shall) investigate the complaint.
15.2.   On investigating such a complaint the Committee shall give the member about whose conduct the complaint has been made an opportunity to be heard and put forward evidence in their defence (this includes witnesses if appropriate). If a live Hearing takes place the member may be accompanied by a friend or representative who need not be a member of the club.  Additionally, the member has the right to have questions put to the complainant and supporting witnesses (if any) by the Committee.
15.3.   If on investigating such a complaint the Committee is of the opinion that the member has behaved in an unacceptable manner or in such a manner as to cause injury to the interests of the Club, then the Committee may reprimand the member, suspend the member from the privileges of membership for such period as it may think fit, or expel the member from the Club.
15.4.   The Committee shall forthwith notify the member of any decision made on the investigation of a complaint about his conduct, and may if it thinks fit publicise the decision by displaying a notice at the headquarters of the Club.
15.5.   An appeal shall lie to a General Meeting of the Club against any decision to reprimand, suspend or expel a member of the Club following the investigation of a complaint about his conduct.
15.6.   Notice of such an appeal must be in writing, and delivered to the Secretary within two weeks of the notification to the member of the decision of the Committee.

Exhibit (b) A letter from a solicitor which attempts to outline the importance of following agreed procedures and observing rules of natural justice :

Dear Interested Party  
Thank you for your e-mail which I have been through.  It appears to me that the position is as follows: 
I have read the rules of your Bridge Club.  The expulsion of a member is dealt with at rule 3.2.  The committee may by majority of not less than 4 expel any member.  Under 7.2 a quorum of committee is 5 members.  
If any member is expelled and the procedure is not carried out as above then it is ultra vires (no legal effect) as it is made in breach of the club’s own constitutional rules. 
If the procedure is carried out correctly then decisions can be challenged if they breach rules of natural justice.  I think it would be useful if you looked at the EBU Model Constitution as this constitution has been drafted to comply with rules of natural justice. 
There are two areas which are helpful to you in applying rules of natural justice: 
1.       If a decision has been made by the committee without proper prior notification of what is going to be discussed then the committee decision could be challenged as being contrary to rules of natural justice.  As I understand it, the reference to rule 74 does not in any way cover the expulsion of a member.  However, there is probably sufficient alternative evidence to suggest that Mr.Good’s expulsion is going to be considered at the next committee meeting in view of the emails and telephone calls which have taken place subsequently.  However, if all members are not notified and proper notification is not given of items to be discussed then any decision made may have been made contrary to rules of natural justice.
2.      The biggest area of deficiency as I see the rules is that any member who has the threat of expulsion has no right of representation nor are there any appeal processes.  I refer you specifically to clause 15 of the draft model.  In every private member club I have advised I think, without exception, if a member is to be expelled then they have the right to receive prior notification and for a hearing where a decision is made so that both parties views are aired.  I would also expect an appeal process to be provided for.  You will see clause 15 deals with these issues. 
If a decision is made by the committee which the members do not approve of the other alternative would be to call a general meeting of the club under rule 8.4.  The president is obliged to call an EGM if requested by at least 7 members.  The EGM could provide for the reinstatement of Mr. Good or expulsion of various committee members.  In general terms, committee members are there to carry out the wishes of the membership. Accordingly, members can always overrule decisions of the committee. 
I hope you find this email useful.  If you need to discuss with me further, please do not hesitate to telephone me. 

Once the content of these letters brought come home the fact they were batting on a very tricky wicket , they decided on one last throw of the dice. Time for an ultimatum : either Mr.Good had to go or " we do ". Thankfully , the majority of club members had by now lost faith with the bad and the ugly , and were therefore happy to back the good guys.  So off went the baddies to seek new pastures , taking with them the arch-villian Mrs. Black, who was now ready to inflict on other clubs her poisonous behaviour and antics .
All this, of course, illustrates the worst characteristics of the human condition: prejudice, ignorance, stupidity, arrogance , stubbornness and outright bloody-mindedness of power-crazed individuals. 
Thankfully, these blinkered bullies failed in their botched attempt to run roughshod over those they disliked , and their departure strangely coincided with the revival of a very friendly and sociable atmosphere within the club , which members now have come to appreciate and enjoy. 
The full story is one which a book should be written about. a book which demonstrates how blinkered and blood minded committees can get. A book which would reveal the dark side of a very bizarre world of bridge.