Yates was somewhat taken aback upon reading that the DCMS Committee will be inviting The Mediocre Men (that’s Colin Graves and Tom Harrison to new readers) to an evidence giving session focusing on the future of English Cricket.
Let’s put this in context.
Around the time of the release of the excellent film Death Of A Gentleman, a demonstration mourning the death of Test Cricket was held outside The Oval to highlight the unacceptable conflicts of interest in the highest level of our game’s governance. Not only were Jarrod Kimber, Sam Collins and my dear wife there, but so was one Damian Collins MP.
Collins promised that he would get Giles Clarke (who was then in charge of the ECB and who came out of the DOAG film looking a complete and utter Gareth Hunt) up before the DCMS Committee.
Come August 2019, the same Damian Collins is now Chair of the DCMS Committee and this promise has never even come close to being delivered. Collins seems reluctant to address or discuss this with anyone, a reluctance that suggests some kind of vested interest. Damn sure doesn’t pass the sniff test.
And yet here we are, official confirmation of The Mediocre Men coming before this Committee.
What’s changed? Why the sudden interest from Collins now?
Yes, Yates is cynical and skeptical. In these eyes Collins is damaged goods, a reputation that is only marginally better than Aussie cheat David Warner. (Yes, he’s done his time but unless he does something amazing like cure cancer or repeatedly clout Boris Johnson round the head with his bat then that judgement and reputation are staying put).
You can bet that The Mediocre Men will be looking to bluster and bullshit their way through the upcoming proceedings. But they won’t be able to bully the Committee if enough of we critics of the scam that is “The Hundred” get in touch with members of the Committee and supply them with cogent argument and evidence.
Yates’ professional aspect (which is every bit as grumpy if not more so than the aspect you see on Twitter) has made a number of submissions to various Parliamentary Committees so it seems an ideal time to share a few thoughts on how readers could approach the DCMS Committee.
Consider whether you should write to Collins. He’s part of the problem and has previous history. Research the members of the Committee and write to them. You may find your local or a nearby MP. Research their interests, connections and declarations. If they’re knowledgeable about cricket then maybe you won’t have to go into too great a depth. You may be able to target your communication with a member more effectively.
If a member is associated or connected with Graves and/or Harrison in any way then you may need to take a stronger tone with them. Parliamentary Committees are supposed to be impartial. If they were, Collins would have humiliated Giles Clarke. He didn’t, so don’t assume total impartiality.
Be polite in your correspondence. Calling someone an arsehole on Twitter is one thing but in official correspondence which may become part of the record the use of unpleasantries (even if well deserved) isn’t well received and may disqualify your submission. Remember that the first person to read your e-mail will be a case worker or civil servant.
Don’t waffle. Provide facts and references – there are plenty of pieces out there about the mismanagement of “The Hundred” scam, the Non-Disclosure Agreements, relegation of the 50 over format in which England are World Champions to a “development” status and other negative effects on our game.
Make sure any website links you refer to are working before you hit the send button. If your communication is a lengthy one you might like to send an Executive Summary and make the full document downloadable from a Dropbox or something similar.
Some of us are better face to face than via letter or e-mail. If you are one of those fortunate folk, do make a point of saying that you’d be happy to meet with a Committee member or do a Skype interview. They may not be able to but then again they might.
The DCMS Committee has shown it is capable of asking some very pointed and awkward questions, like their recent interrogation of Facebook staff. Yes, they only have power of Summons over UK citizens and they’d really make a reputation for themselves if they dragged Nick Clegg’s candy ass up and then had him jailed if he did not co-operate. So they can do it if they have the cojones.
With this in mind, it might be worth mentioning that there is some wariness and perhaps even distrust towards the Committee resulting from Mr Collins not delivering on his promise about Giles Clarke. The Committee has shown it can bare its teeth on serious issues (Facebook) – a similar level of stern examination and taking no garbage would kill that mistrust.
You may well be able to view the session on Parliament Live or even in person if you are so inclined to visit the House of Commons.