Back to part 1.

NEWS SHEET 5. January, 1976. Part 2.


Again, I fear I am unable to give accurate dates, etc., for the reason given above but all members of the Society at the time have had all of the documents in reference and so will be able to follow.

Before the middle of last year while engaged in the preparations for the conference and the annual general meeting I became aware that the Chairman had (as is provided in section 6 ELECTIONS of the Constitution) not activated the election procedures. The section reads 'The Chairman, or failing him, the Secretary shall be responsible for activation of the election procedure in good time'. I acted as follows.

A. I published a circular to all members asking them to send nominations for office and the committee to me by a certain date. I do not remember the date (for the reason given earlier) but this may not be important since ALL members were sent this circular.

B. Some time later I became conscious of another part of Section 6 ELECTIONS of the constitution. This reads 'No officer of the Society shall have any connection with any part of the procedures of the election. If it shall be shown that any officer or member of the Society had any part in the election procedures the election shall be invalid'. I realised that if I were to collect nominations for the elections I should be 'taking a part in the election procedures' and would thus be rendering the election invalid.

C. I realised the danger and immediately sent out another letter to all members asking them to send their nominations to the Electoral Reform Society. Again, I am (for the reasons given above) not very sure when I sent out this circular but a copy was sent to ALL members and so all members will know about it.

D. I thought no more about this until after the annual general meeting when I was distressed to receive from the Ballots Officer of the Electoral Reform Society the original of a letter to him from Mr R. Lawler, a member of our committee, which stated that I had 'mislaid' a nomination which he had made. No copy of this letter had been sent to me by Mr Lawler. I was troubled by this since rumours of corrupt practices (so far as I knew unfounded) had been bandied about concerning previous elections held inside the Society. It was to prevent future scandal that the conduct of the elections had been put over to an independent body outside the Society and was, in fact, the very reason why I had sent out my second letter to members (see paragraph C above). I wrote to Mr Lawler asking him to withdraw the statement that I had 'mislaid' his nomination. I pointed out that there were derogatory implications involved. I had no reply from Mr Lawler.

E. I then decided to seek the protection of the committee. It seemed to me that since Mr Lawler seemed unwilling to do so privately this was a matter that had to be cleared up publicly. I tabled a motion at the next committee as follows: 'The Secretary will request the committee to invite Mr Lawler to withdraw an unjustified statement which he made concerning the Secretary in a letter to the Electoral Reform Society. The letter will be produced'.

The proposal was duly introduced at the next committee meeting. I informed the committee that I regarded this as a matter of confidence. Mr Lawler's letter and nomination were produced. No member of the committee asked to see them. They are reproduced below for information.

The envelope in which they were sent to the Electoral Reform Society was dated '- Sept 1975'.

Mr Lawler's proposal read as follows:

Proposal for Committee
by R.J. Lawler (signed) June 28th
& seconded by
(signed) M.B. Chaplin (June 28th)
I agree to accept the above nomination is elected
Signed G.M. Unsworth-Mitchell Dated 28/8/75.

(Members might like to note the variation in dates and compare them with the dates on the circular letters which they received from me as Secretary.)

This is Mr Lawler's letter to the Electoral Reform Society: London.

Please find enclosed nomination. This had been mislaid by the Secretary

Yours Faithfully,
R.J. Lawler
Financial Secretary SSS.

PS This has also been re-affirmed at the AGM on July/30th/ from which this letter dates.

Members might wish to note that there was no AGM on 30th July. This is clearly a mistaken date. This makes the date on the envelope more important. Mr Lawler, during "any other business", on 30th August stated that he had sent in a proposal for Mr Unsworth-Mitchell for membership of the committee and asked why his name had not appeared on the list of successful candidates. I was unable to give an explanation since all proposals should have been sent to the Electoral Reform Society. He was told by the President and myself that the best thing to do was to put forward Mr Unsworth-Mitchell's name for co-option. (There were still two unfilled vacancies and the committee is empowered also to co-opt five extra members. It seemed and I think I said that Mr Unsworth-Mitchell was assured of getting on the committee. Mr Lawler clearly did not accept this advice and chose instead to write as above to the Electoral Reform Society. One wonders why - since the part played by that Society was over when they had counted the votes sent to them.)

F. During the course of the discussion at the committee meeting Mr Lawler said that he had, after my first letter asking for nominations to be sent to me, handed me a nomination on the street outside the university after a committee meeting. I have no recollection at all that he did so and, in any case, I do not think that handing over bits of paper in the street is the best way to do the Society's business. Whether he did hand over a piece of paper or not does not seem (to me) to have much relevance. Even if he did hand me the proposal I could not do anything with it (as explained in section 8 here earlier) without infringing the constitution. Quite apart from this Mr Lawler was adequately informed of the correct procedure by my second letter asking members to send nominations direct to the Electoral Reform Society. One wonders a little why he did not send his proposal in the correct way after the receipt of the second letter. He had also been sent earlier a copy of the constitution which sets out the correct position clerly and at some length.

G. After some heated debate (perhaps my fault) my proposition failed to find a seconder. It had been composed in very conciliatory words (i.e. the committee invites, etc.) to make it easier to accept without damaging anyone's feelings. Its rejection by the committee indicated very clearly that the committee believed Mr Lawler that I had 'mislaid' his nomination. They had also rejected my proposition as a vote of confidence.

I had clearly lost the confidence of the committee. The implications were clear enough: the committee believed either that I had been neglectful or that I had been up to some kind of jiggery-pokery connected with the elections. I felt that I had no option but to resign which I did at once at the meeting.

I am sending by recorded delivery a copy of this explanation to Mr Lawler and asking him to make any kind of rejoinder he may wish. I have promised to print this in full. I have asked him at least to acknowledge this letter in one week.

I have written to our Chairman, Mr Edward Smith, with the request that he should check with Mr Lawler whether he wishes to make a rejoinder.

Below is the reply which I received from Mr Lawler.

George O'Halloran, London. 27th January 1975.

Dear George O'Halloran,

Do you still wish to distract our energies (you have heard my side of this nomination bussiness)? Ref letter 26/1/76 from G'OH.

The SSS Secretary was registered at both of our banks as a cheque signatory. Have you written and told them that you have resigned?

Just after Christmas '75 Ed Smith rang me and told me that Mona Cross had resigned as our treasurer. Do you know if she has written to the both (our banks)?

Mr Unsworth-Mitchell phoned today to say that he was preparing a statement on his nomination.

If you use the societies magazine for this purpose rather than send a circular to members from your own expense it will distress me.

Yours Faithfully,
Richard James Lawler.


In the past membership of the Society seems to have gone up and down inside every year; new members have joined and, usually an equal number seems to have dropped out. Now for the first time, at least for many years, the membership has gone over the 100 mark. I believe also that recent developments inside the Society have prepared the way for a successful drive for new members and I have drawn up plans to prepare for this as an object for 1976.

For the convenience of members the List of Members is being published as an appendix to this News Sheet. The names of new members joining after this list will be published in NEWS SHEET 6 in May/June 1976,

We should like to hear from members who would be willing to take part in a co-ordinated drive for new members by speaking to individuals and groups at schools, colleges, professional bodies, etc. in their locality, and by writing to the Press either local or national. Please send your letters to the chairman.

COMMITTEE 1975-76.

The membership of the Committee is as follows:-

Vice Chairman
Treasurer (Acting)
Education Secretary
Financial Secretary
Publications Secretary
Records Secretary
Edward Smith
William Reed
George O'Halloran
Mona Cross
Stanley Gibbs
Richard J. Lawler
George O'Halloran
Ken Lavender
Eileen O'Hara
J. Fergus McBridge
Herbert Wilkinson
Marjorie Chaplin
Mr K. Jones
George O'Halloran
J.R. Orange
B.M.S.T. Darley
R.E. Hayley
Co-opted 29/11/75

I have been asked by the chairman to put in a notice asking that members who believe they could perform the duties of Secretary and who would be willing to do so should write to him. There is no need to send in names of proposer and seconder. The duties of Secretary are described at Section 5 of the Constitution. The chairman will inform candidates how many hours work is likely to be needed per week.


NEW SHEET is now entering its second year of existence. It has been reasonably successful in its function - that of keeping members au fait with what is happening inside the Society. But there is also another function which needs to be fulfilled: that of presenting an acceptable face of the Society to the public. This has been discussed in the pages of NEWS SHEET and by letter with members. There have been no dissentients from the view that the Society should have two journals: one (NEW SHEET) entirely devoted to internal news of the Society; the other made up of authoritative articles, papers, etc. related to some aspect of simplified spelling which would aim at a wide general circulation, inside and outside the Society. A number of other expanding societies follow this practice of an internal and an external journal. What I propose to do is as follows. In future NEWS SHEET will come out twice a year: in December/January carrying reports of the recent A.G.M., elections, committee meetings and other matters of internal only significance and in May/June to lay the scene for the coming A.G.M., elections, and so on. It will come out in the format of the present number.

The new journal will come out at the beginning of April and October. It will contain no news of the Society and will be entirely devoted to items of a 'serious' nature (from members and outsiders) related in some way to simplified spelling.

A number of titles have been submitted of which 'READING & SPELLING' seems the best. We would expect to get much of our external circulation in the beginning from the libraries of university colleges, colleges of education, institutes of education, teachers and parents; this would seem to be a title which would attract such subscribers.

READING & SPELLING would, at least in the beginning, come out in a volume of 32 pages of the same size as the pages you are reading. It could be altered in future numbers in the light of suggestions and experience.

Funds were provided in the Annual Budget which will be sufficient for its production. I would, however, expect it to cost less, page for page, to produce than NEWS SHEET.

Contributors are now invited to send in articles, papers, etc., for consideration. There is no restriction on the length of articles but it may be necessary for very long articles to be published serially over more than one issue.

Proposed items should be carefully typed on A5 (8¼" x 5⅞") paper allowing a margin of at least half an inch on all the edges (the typed area will therefore be 7¼" x 4⅞") numbered lightly in pencil. The type size should not be smaller than elite nor larger than pica. The first page of articles should have the title in capitals at the top. The author's name should be in normal type script, two spaces underneath. The first line of the article, should be three spaces under the author's name. The whole article should be in single spacing - no double spacing between paragraphs. The first line of each paragraph should be indented five spaces. Articles should be written on one side of opaque paper only. It will be possible to reproduce in black pictures, diagrams, non-Roman scrips. References and footnotes should be indicated by a number in brackets: thus (6) - in the text and gathered in serial order at the end.

No payment can be made for articles submitted but we will provide the author with twelve free copies of the issue in which they appear. We will return all unsuitable articles to their authors with a short explanation of why they were not accepted and suggestions for rewriting. A stamped envelope should be included for this.

I believe that a journal which is intended to be of a serious and authoritative nature should have a strong advisory committee and so I have written to a number of folk of high academic status inviting them to become members of an advisory committee.

Reading & Spelling will accept advertisements and similar notices for which a charge, not yet settled, will be made. It may also accept, as advertisements only, descriptions of new alphabets, reformed scripts and similar material. We hope the charge for this service may be as little as £5.00 per page.

I would hope to do a first edition of 400 to 500 copies. When the needs of members have been met I would hope to distribute the remainder of the first issue free of charge to college and university librarians in the hopes of inducing them to take out regular subscriptions.

Back to the top.
Forward to part 3, part 4.