VFP UK ANNUAL GATHERING 2020 MINUTES & REMEMBRANCE

(Top to Bottom, Left to Right):  Dave Gannon (photo w/ Jim Radford), Adrienne Kinne, Alan Chick, Chris Paling, Neil Harvey, Michael Elstub, Danny Beever, Aly Renwick, Liz Heaton, Ben Griffin, John Lynes, Ian Johnstone, Allen Jasson, Julio Torres, Philip Clarke, David Collins, Kathy Coutanche, John Bourton, Michael McCarthy, Walter Heaton

Not pictured: Garett Reppenhagen, VFP US Executive Director

Summary of Items for Follow-Up

Regarding the Neutral Country Priority Campaign:  members discussed the importance of this campaign and their support for it; unfortunately, organizing has faltered over the last couple of years and this year with COVID didn’t help.  Michael Elstub and Michael McCarthy volunteered to help coordinate a working group.  Please reach out to them if you would like to get involved.

Regarding Social Media and Outreach:  members discussed the importance of maintaining a solid online presence as a means of getting our message out, now and always.  We have social media and skills, but need to help coordinate our presence.  Philip Clarke and Julio Torres volunteered to conduct interviews with members for release on our website and social media.  Please reach out to them if you would like to participate.  They may reach out to you directly.

Regarding Cross-Parliamentary Outreach:  members discussed the benefit of reaching out to all political parties with our messaging, as they did last year.  David Gannon volunteered to start a channel on cross-parliamentary outreach.  Please reach out to David to get involved.  

Meeting Agenda and Minutes

Meeting Chair:      Danny Beever

Note Taker:        Adrienne Kinne

Meet and Greet

Welcome and Thanks

    Thank you to everyone for being here today. 

     Special thanks go to:

        Dale and Lisa for the Never Again wreath

        Liz and Alan for running the shop this year

        David Collins for his web articles

        The Trustees, John and Kathryn

        Ian Johnstone who worked hard on the Annual Gathering that wasn’t able to be

        The PG for the dedication over the past year and keeping things going this year, with special thanks to Neil Harvey for taking on the Membership role

        And lastly to Adrienne for helping run the zoom meeting and taking notes/minutes

Zoom Housekeeping 

Statement of Purpose 

We, veterans of the armed forces, having dutifully served our nation, do hereby affirm our greater responsibility to serve the cause of world peace. To this end: a. We will work toward increasing public awareness of the costs of war. b. We will work to restrain our government from intervening, overtly and covertly, in the internal affairs of other nations. c. We will work to end the arms race and to reduce and eventually eliminate nuclear weapons. To achieve these goals, members of Veterans for Peace pledge to use non-violent means and to maintain an organisation that is both democratic and open with the understanding that all members are trusted to act in the best interests of the group for the larger purpose of world peace. We urge all veterans who share this vision to join us.

Statement of Conduct 

  1. We will use our anger at injustice as a positive, nonviolent force for change. 2. We will not assault, verbally or physically, in person or online, those who oppose or disagree with us, even if they assault us. 3. Our attitude, as conveyed through our words, symbols and actions, will be one of openness, friendliness, and respect toward all people we encounter. 4. We will follow the directions of the designated coordinators during public actions. 5. We use consensus-based decision making within our groups. 6. We reject military clothing and symbols. 7. We speak as members of VFP UK but not for VFP UK, unless designated as a spokesperson. 8. Rank, unit, combat experience, age, gender, race, wealth, education, class, religion and nationality carry no status within VFP UK. 9. Sexist, racist, homophobic and other discriminatory language and actions are common within the military; they are not acceptable within VFP UK.

Presenté – We paused to remember our dear friends who have passed this year

Chris Roper 

Jim Radford

Year in Review 

Support for Julian Assange

Online presence – articles, posters, and videos

Support for Ahmed Al-Babati, call for end of war in Yemen

Zoom social hours and organizing calls 

Reorganising in the era of COVID

Financial Report – Alan Chick

Balance of £3,250.64 … balance increased £145.81 over last year.

Members with proof of service on file can contact the Treasurer for full report

To become a monthly sustaining donor, please visit:  vfpuk.org/donate

Membership Update – Neil Harvey

314 Members on File

103 with proof of service 

Please contact membership@vfpuk.org to send in proof of service

Handbook Amendments – Danny Beever

To add Communication Coordinator to Policy Group and merge Membership Coordinator responsibilities into National Coordinator (vote 10-7-1, failed to achieve ⅔ majority)  – 

Members present discussed the Policy Group taking on the role of Communications Coordinator despite the amendment not passing as it is a vital role to be filled.  We will see how it works and possibly resubmit an amendment next year.  

Neutral Country Priority Campaign – Open Discussion

Michael Elstub and Michael McCarthy have volunteered to help lead a working group to take on our priority campaign.  Members who would like to get involved can reach out to them directly (information to follow).

Break

Policy Group Election 

Following members were affirmed as the PG to stand from 1 January 2021

Neil Harvey                Julio Torres

Alan Chick                Michael Elstub

David Collins

Awards

Liz Heaton

Ian Johnstone

Group Photo – Freeze Frame

Taking VFP UK Forward during COVID – Open Discussion

Discuss ensuring any physical actions are done so responsibly 

Boosting our online presence and coordination

Philip Clarke and Julio Torres volunteered to coordinate podcasts/interviews

Any Other Business

Many discussions about our priority campaign, embracing and better utilisation of social media, and cross parliamentary outreach.

Members also discussed the importance of thinking that something is possible.  It is proven that thinking something is possible helps the mind and body actually embrace that possibility and makes it, in turn, more easily achievable.  We should have a zoom meeting just to further discuss this idea.  Please email coord@vfpuk.org if you are interested.

Social Hour

—–

Remembrance Sunday

As discussed, Neil Harvey volunteered to lay the Never Again wreath at the Cenotaph on Armistice Day, November 11, 2020.  However, due to a conflict with another groups pre-arranged activities at the Cenotaph, Neil laid the wreath Tuesday Evening, November 10, 2020 – to remember all victims of war, no matter their station, service, or nationality.  Presenté

photo: Neil Harvey, November 10, 2020

photo: Neil Harvey, November 10, 2020

8 Comments

  1. S Brian Willson says:

    Thanks so much for these minutes and the information contained therein. Jim Radford, PRESENTE! I still think I have member ship in VFP-UK, though have not yet sent any money or communications for sometime. I send my greetings from Nicaragua. Sincerely, S. Brian Willson

    1. Danny Beever says:

      Hi Brian,
      You are a full member of VFP UK.
      Peace.

  2. David Lawrence says:

    Lovely to see your faces. Sorry for not being there online but have issues at home. Hope to see you all next year in person. We will miss our late comrades: Chris and Jim, may they rest in peace, their power of character lives on. I wish peace on you all.

  3. Wendy Hijazi says:

    Glad you guys did the annual gathering. So sad about Jim Radford. Rest in power. I’m here in UK. Was lovely to see the royals lay wreaths. I’m gonna keep my commentary about changes in society to myself. And, focus upon that I’m grateful you’re all well and hope everyone’s happy. Thank you.

  4. Eddie Carroll says:

    Be at work. But I will remember them.

  5. Gerry Osborne (Mr) says:

    I’m off to a local memorial at 11am on the 11th of the 11th, I’ll have a try at singing 1916, maybe there’ll be nobody’s ears to be harmed. Regimental Beret and VfP hoodie.

  6. John Bourton says:

    Thanks Danny and Adrienne for your hard work, and to the outgoing Policy Group members for representing us over the past year in such difficult times. Thanks to Neil for laying his wreath, and very best wishes to the incoming PG members. Thanks for stepping up and I hope you can count on the full support of all the members over the next year.

  7. Steve Heaney says:

    Apologies for not joining the meeting comrades. Thank you all for your hard work and dedication.

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