What purported to be a complete set of accounts for the British Championship was at last produced, showing a surplus of £2k on the event, and the possibility of a further £700 VAT potentially recoverable on hotel expenses. A possibility, potentially recoverable - so, in other words, the accounts are still not finalised! Even more scandalously, the figures produced do not disclose how much money the Dear Leader did or did not put into the championship, nor how it was spent. A figure of £8233 appears in the income section, described as Bequest/Donation, but the Egregious lot's CEO, Andrew "Aintwortha" Farthing, offered dark hints that this included money from various sources, and was not from the Dear Leader. So, six months on from the event, we are no nearer to establishing the truth (or lack of it) in the DL's public claim to have put in £16k of his own money. Nor are we ever going to be any nearer, it seems - according to Farthing, this is all "confidential". Over on the Forum, Farthing was asked repeatedly to answer the simple yes or no question, whether or not proper supporting documentation existed for these payments. He pointedly refused to answer. Perhaps he should have enlisted the late Peter Cook to answer for him - Cook explained it better, and much more amusingly.
"It is conceded by the defence that the money arrived. What happened to it then, we shall never know. Nor should we pry - it will be a sad day for this country, when a leading politician cannot spend his election expenses, in any way he thinks fit".
Round about this point in the meeting, a motion was put down to the effect that "Council considers that the conduct of the President brings the performance of his role into question and calls for a full review of his activities". This was a watered-down motion, the original "no confidence" motion having been ruled out of order by the Chairman. The motion was lost by just 93 votes to 84, and then only because all the members of the Management Board who were present, dutifully voted against it, to protect their boss from embarrassment. It was a narrow escape for the Dear Leader, who just six months earlier, had been re-elected by 160 votes to just one against. Let's hope he knows his history, and draws the appropriate lessons from Neville Chamberlain's reaction to the House of Commons vote in the Norway debate of May 1940 - though I am not holding my breath.
Having finally swept this scandal under the carpet, the meeting then went on to vote on its membership proposals. Basically, from 1 September this year, Game Fee will rocket to an astronomical £2 per game, per non-member (so a game between two non-members will attract Game Fee amounting to an eye-watering £4!), unless both players are ECF members, at a minimum of £18 each. The Egregious lot hope that leagues and congresses will feel obliged to enforce a compulsory 100% membership requirement, so as to avoid this swingeing ad valorem tax on playing chess. Let us hope that, instead, every club, league and congress in the country votes to give up having their games graded by this bunch of latter-day robber barons. Personally, I am with the former Essex and British Champion Dr Fazekas, who was wont to refer to it as "the degrading system", but if people cannot live without a three-digit number against their name, to confirm their relative value as a human being, then any fool with a laptop computer and spreadsheet capability can reproduce the grading system in less than an hour.
I gather that Aintwortha Farthing is standing down as CEO, next October. Who could replace him? The smart money is still on "Odious" Adam Raoof, but in view of the ECF's current revenue-raising approach, I suggest another candidate:
"Give us yer focking money!"