Totally agree with all points that you make. One of the most infuriating aspects of the adult world, is that the majority don't behave like adults. People sometimes take office for the wrong reasons and subsequently become self-serving. When you are appointed as a representative of any group, you accept a position of trust; trust that you will do your utmost for all, consistently and without bias. However, too often, personal feelings cloud sound judgement, grudges and grievances becoming more important than duty. Playground politics! Thus, the foundations of open, unbiased debate, cease to exist, the views of a minority controlling all aspects of decision making. This then effectively becomes a 'closed group', which re-appoints and justifies itself internally, unchallenged by those that it 'represents'. Cycles of office are meant to control this from happening, but if all influences are from within, a re-election of office is not difficult to achieve. Within the area that I reside, we have witnessed a massive decline in brass banding activity, especially at local level. There may be national trends which reflect this but it is of great concern that little has been done to rally a strategy to confront this situation, at any level. Bands continue to exist but I doubt that the majority have seen representatives of any national or local banding committee, through their doors, in a long time! Minutes of meetings are often made public months after being scribed, preventing any valid response from interested parties, a ploy often used to allow them through unchallenged, as 'calendar restrictions' are cited. It's not just banding, it is the way of the world that an escape option must always be available, to prevent responsibility being apportioned, should it be needed. I am not alone in recognising that major changes need to be made to allow grass-roots banding a more 'reactive' forum than is presently available. Even websites are rarely up to date, or monitored regularly, so engaging issues rapidly is almost impossible. Individual views seem to be frowned upon, other than on forums such as this, that is why it is so important to keep as many as possible, alive and active.