Reading the latest news stories I can see why some might say the BII is on a back foot right now, but I believe the recent changes, undertaken in spite of, rather than because of negative publicity, are the correct way forward for growth.
The reorganisation will allow for a more efficient council, capable of focusing on the reason we exist: to be the professional body for the licensed retail sector in all its guises and support our members — the people who make up this wonderful industry. Some are pessimistic about the changes, but I believe that we are evolving, as any good organisation needs to do from time to time, to develop and grow.
Growth will come from many activities the BII undertakes — not least initiatives such as the Apprenticeship in Licensed Hospitality, which aims to bring new people into the industry and help them develop a sustainable career.
Seeking to find conspiracy in this transformation, fanning flames around an idea that the council is deliberately biased to pubcos and questioning the method by which the council members are elected in an effort to destabilise the process is not what our industry needs right now. We should be mindful of the impression such tactics give to those observing our business externally.
It was an honour to be elected at my region’s last AGM, in an above-board process which included my credentials and background being announced to all who attended and voted.
Guest speakers on this enjoyable, informative day included BII Licensee of the Year 2011 Darran Lingley and TV wine guru Oz Clarke.
I hope my position as a tenant, rather than as a freeholder, will add weight to the fact that being a council member does not require one to be on, or have been on, the payroll of a pubco; the BII is an organisation which looks to serve all members of the trade, regardless of position.
Unfortunately many recent comments regarding the BII remind me of JFK’s line: “The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, but the myth.”
Now is not a time for myths and fallacies, for infighting and bickering, but a time for us to get behind our members, to unite the industry as a whole. It’s an exciting opportunity which I’m very pleased to be part of.
- Mark Daniels is licensee of the Tharp Arms in Chippenham, Cambridgeshire