Royal St. Luke’s Golf Club (Est. 1603)
From: The Secretary
My interactions with members take many forms. There is the quiet word in the locker room, the harangue after too much kummel in Founders Lounge, the screechings of the Suggestion Book, the e-mails which somehow evade my spamblocker – and then there are the letters.
In a club replete with genuine eccentrics, cranks and practical jokers such as this one, a decision has to be made as to whether to treat all letters as either wind-ups or as genuine. I favour the latter, but it can be far from easy to discern what exactly is the Major Issue...
April 20th, 2008
I’m sorry to trouble you like this when you’ve so much in your inbox, but there comes a time, as I’m sure you know, a time when one has had enough. There comes a time when one simply has to speak out over a Major Issue. A point when one can stand it no longer and what has been a courteous silence must be replaced by noise – and action. That time has come and one will no longer stand idle and mute.
It is extremely difficult for a chap to keep his nose to the golfing grindstone while at the same time bending over backwards to be accommodating. Is one a man or a mouse is the question – and the best laid schemes of both species are often shanked into the OB – as I think it was Shakespeare who so aptly put it, somewhere.
I realise that an intervention from someone as marginal as an ordinary member of the club may be irritant, indeed inconvenient to you and the grandees of the council, but there comes a time. And that time is now. As a military man you must appreciate that when diplomacy has had its day – and has demonstrably failed to resolve an issue – it must be time for other means. War, as Von Clausewitz pointed out, is simply the continuation of diplomacy by those other means.
When a Major Issue is clearly not going to be put to the Membership at an Extraordinary General Meeting of the club (as required by the Constitution) then the time for talking is over, and it is time to march. So, in summary of the above, one cannot and indeed one will not remain silent henceforward.
I remain, with high consideration, my dear fellow,
Yours sincerely R.G. Dalby-Barrington
Royal St. Luke’s Golf Club (Est. 1603)
Dear Sir Reginald
Thank you for your letter. I absolutely agree with you that there comes a time when one must buckle on the armour, prime the cannon, summon the retainers – and prepare for battle. Silence implies consent and you are clearly applying the great legal principle of Qui tacet consentit – i.e. he who elects to remain silent is deemed to be in agreement with whatever is going on – or going down, as the Yankees so quaintly put it.
Major matters affecting the club are nearly always put to the membership at an EGM. However, some issues are of such magnitude that they are just too important for the membership to be let loose upon them. After all, as the French say (not realising how it sounds to British ears) “If you’re planning to drain a swamp, you certainly don’t consult the frogs….”
You saw what happened at the ‘Time to admit Lady Members?’ debate which we staged last year. It took three days to clear up the place and I was given a very rough time by that BBC thug Humphrys next morning on the Today programme – which was nothing compared to the roasting I got an hour or so later on Women’s Hour.
So, there we are. We seem to be in agreement, at least over the necessity of consultation. Now, I have checked the Suggestion Book and am unable to find your name among the more recent boomings, ravings and deafening roarings contained therein.
So, may I enquire, what exactly is the Big Issue upon which you are unable to remain silent?
Dear Warren- Dawlish
I simply cannot believe your letter. It seems inconceivable that the secretary of a great club cannot be aware of the Great Issue of the day and if you don’t know what it is, it’s hardly for me to tell you. So be warned. We are the members of the club. In fact we are the club and you, sir, are its servant – not its master. Be assured that our voice will be heard from the turrets of the clubhouse to the deepest bunker at the 10th.
Oh yes, and that’s another thing. That bunker on the 10th for months now has had all the appearances of a lake. After three abortive attempts to get you to get the greenkeepers to get the water removed from that bunker, do you perhaps think it (the water, that is) could be changed?
And if not, since it is assuming a certain permanency, do you think it could be stocked with game fish, such as trout or chubb? This would at least permit the appallingly slow play round the turn to be enlivened by some sport. We could employ a gillie to manage the stock – and a brazier could be erected where at the fish could be cooked and enjoyed while we wait, interminably, for the 11th to clear. The disgraceful absence of a halfway hut would be solved and the club would benefit financially from the sale of fishing permits.
But I digress. The Great Issue will not go away, Mr Secretary, and the day is coming when my silence will end.
You have been warned.
God Save the Queen.