I am sure this is not the first letter you have received from an IFA on
polarisation but I feel I must make my point. I have been a member of the
LIA for more than 15 years, during which I think that I have been
supportive of the organisation, notwithstanding that I have felt, from time
to time, that you have deserved criticism.
Even in my very earliest days as a member, I remember well having my say
about your sitting on the fence over certain issues and it seems that:
“Plus ga change, plus c'est la meme chose.”
One of the expressions I used previously was that those who sit on the
fence often hurt their private parts. It would appear that you have done
the same again. I think there are two truisms, first, you can't please all
of the people all of the time and, second, another one of my heartfelt
complaints is that you seem to make policy decisions without a franchise.
I can't remember being canvassed as to my view. When it suits you, you
labour the point of being a democratic organisation but the way you operate
seems to owe more to lessons learnt from the Kremlin than the Electoral
To the matter in hand concerning your much publicised view on
polarisation. If it were not for the fact that I have worked to obtain the
qualifications and will need to continue paying subscriptions in order to
continue to use them, I would have resigned forthwith.
That is the only reason that I now stay a member. As a point of principle,
I am no longer prepared to support the LIA in any other way whatsoever. I
feel that in this instance you really have gone too far.
I appreciate that yours is a broad church and you want to please both
camps. In this case, I think a prolonged period of silence would have been
appropriate rather than risk alienating your IFA constituents.
You were under no compulsion to have your tuppence-worth and sometimes
keeping your own counsel is the wisest course.
It would not surprise me if this latest action has been one of your most
damaging to date and you certainly seem to have handed your detractors a
club with which to beat you. It seems that what many of us have suspected
for a long while is now indeed the case – you are the representatives of
the direct foot-in-the-door salesmen and have been paying only lip service
to the independent sector.
At least your assertion that there are companies whose products are so
narrow or poor that they need access to others is of itself a vindication
of the principle of independent advice.
If you or others felt that the independent sector were not independent
enough, the logical course would have been to strengthen polarisation and
perhaps constrain the panel system rather than propound a course that would
lead to the dilution of independent and impartial advice.
It is with regret that I have written this letter.