Trust democracy

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When I was first elected to ­the National Trust for Scotland’s council in 1979, I was the only candidate nominated by ordinary members – all the rest were nominated by the council itself; and there was no voting by members at all.

Two years ago, more than 40,000 members of the National Trust for Scotland (NTS) took part in voting for its board in an open and democratic election.

All the candidates put their case for election on an equal footing. This followed a welcome last vote of the old council that there should be no vetting or favouring of candidates.

This week, the papers for the next election, to replace three of those elected in 2011, dropped through my letterbox. And what do I find? The existing board, through a nominations committee, is telling us for whom we should vote. It has chosen to ­recommend three of 13 candidates; an exact match to the number of vacancies.

I hope other NTS members will ignore this undemocratic pressure, and exercise their own judgment when voting. If they wish to take account of the skills of the continuing board members, information can be found on the NTS web pages (

(Prof) Denis Mollison 


Musselburgh, East Lothian