back to article Bletchley Park board member quits amid TNMOC split-off spat

A Bletchley Park Trust board member has stepped down in protest against the charity's failure to sort out a long-running dispute with the National Museum of Computing. Dr Sue Black, senior research associate at University College London's department of computer science, quit the Trust's board at the end of last year. She …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So, the problem is that men are arseholes that are incapable of co-operation?

    Bit much.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Alert

      Oc ourse not. What is being said is that females may smoothen the talk a bit, allowing a consensus to be reached.

      Of course, if the female is a true-blooded Honored Matre, this may backfire.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        > females may smoothen the talk a bit, allowing a consensus to be reached.

        AKA - "The Thatcher effect"

        1. Naughtyhorse

          exactly!

          it's a continunununununununununun <like many people NH could start spelling continuum, but had no idea how to stop>uum.

          An amenable chap is easier to negotiate with than an uncompromising bitch.

          of course with a room full of uncompromising dickheads, you are doomed.

        2. launcap Silver badge
          Big Brother

          >> females may smoothen the talk a bit, allowing a consensus to be reached.

          >AKA - "The Thatcher effect"

          AKA - when I want your opinion I'll give it to you..

          (Spitting Image - ah, where are you now!)

      2. xperroni

        Of course, if the female is a true-blooded Honored Matre, this may backfire.

        Kudos for the Dune reference.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      More likely that people who are in charge of charities and public organisations are wankers. Men in private businesses seem to get along really well.

      You always seem to find these weird annoying pillocks in charge of public organisations.

    3. Charles Manning

      More specifically... White, straight men.

      Sorry, it is our fault.

    4. Jim 59

      Rats and snails

      Dr Black thinks that BP is awesome. She also wants a constructive and mature discussion between the feuding parties. Getting things off to a mature start is her own submission, viz. that girls are better than boys.

      The vein of generous diplomacy continues:

      "[BP] is an awesome place. The place where more than 10,000 people, mainly young women, worked to save millions of lives."

      While those lazy 1940 men just couldn't be bothered.

  2. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
    Mushroom

    This lack of colaboration is a disgrace

    Pure and simple.

    I really feel somebody needs to bang some heads together and tell both trusts to act in the interest of the public, not in the interests of overinflated egos. I am not laying blame on any particular side (as I do not know enough of the details), but they should sort things out in a grown-up manner and get on with the work of preserving and presenting an essential part of both British and computing history

    </rant>

    1. Aaiieeee

      Re: This lack of colaboration is a disgrace

      I assume it eventually comes down to money, as does everything. I agree that if the individuals were primarily interested in the history/preservation then they would be working together long ago, or have joined forces or become a single entity or something. My money is on the money.

      1. Psyx

        Re: This lack of colaboration is a disgrace

        "I assume it eventually comes down to money, as does everything."

        I suspect that it probably comes down to egos more. It seems that part-time administrators and directors are some of the most viciously egotistical people in the world, as anyone who has tried to get planning permission past a village council can attest.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: This lack of colaboration is a disgrace

          Yes, sadly self appointed guardians of a small patch of the earth tend to think they are Napoleon. Whether it's cause or effect (do Napoleons seek out these jobs?) and whether it's just men or it's just that there are a lot of men in these positions are anyone's guesses.

          1. Charles Manning

            Re: This lack of colaboration is a disgrace

            Napoleons or Napoleonesses, not much difference.

          2. Psyx

            Re: This lack of colaboration is a disgrace

            "do Napoleons seek out these jobs?"

            Yes. Yes they do.

            By very definition, people who like telling other people what to do in a petty bureaucratic manner are going to make up a disproportionally large amount of a career field heavily featuring such behaviour. Especially when such work is done for gratis, because then the person is being motivated by personal desires, rather than cash.

    2. Jim 59

      Re: This lack of colaboration is a disgrace

      Agree entirely with Michael H.F. Wilkinson. BP (the site) is meant to honour the great deeds that happened there, and to explain (with TNMoC) the related history of computing devices. The two sides blend brilliantly together. It is a place everyone can be proud of and fascinated by. In the morning you can sit in Alan Turing's office, discuss Winston Churchill with some knowledgeable old buffer, then PM, wander off to look at slide rules, 2 foot diameter Winchester disks and the rumbling bomb decoder.

      Using all this as a political football is or a platform to say boys smell, or whatever, is cheap and tawdry.

  3. Natalie Gritpants

    Lord Voldermort or Darth Vader for mediator

    After the first few bureaucrats go up in smoke the rest should get on nicely.

    1. Ole Juul

      Smoke?

      After the first few bureaucrats go up in smoke the rest should get on nicely.

      They all need a toke.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Smoke?

        The Concrete Jungle

        Clack. Clack. Clack. Clack. Finally I can't stand it anymore. "Well?" I demand.

        "A fellow I used to know, his name was Ulyanov, once said something rather profound" Angleton looks like the cat that's swallowed the canary — and the feet are sticking out of the side of his mouth; he wants me to know this, whatever it is. "Let your enemies sell you enough rope to hang them with."

        "Uh, wasn't that Lenin?" I ask.

        A flicker of mild irritation crosses his face. "This was before he took that name," he says quietly. Clack. Clack. Clack. He flicks the balls to set them banging again and I suddenly realise what they are and feel quite sick. No indeed, Bridget and Harriet — and Bridget's predecessor, and the mysterious Mr McLuhan — won't be troubling me again. (Except in my nightmares about this office, visions of my own shrunken head winding up in one of the director's executive toys, skull clattering away eternally in a scream that nobody can hear anymore . . . ) "Bridget's been plotting a boardroom coup for a long time, Robert. Probably since before you joined the Laundry — or were conscripted." He spares Josephine a long, appraising look. "She suborned Harriet, bribed McLuhan, installed her own corrupt geas on Voss. Partners in crime, intending to expose me as an incompetent and a possible security leak before the Board of Auditors, I suppose — that's usually how they plan it. I guessed this was going on, but I needed firm evidence. You supplied it. Unfortunately, Bridget was none too stable; when she realised that I knew, she ordered Voss to remove the witnesses then summoned McLuhan and proceeded with her palace coup d'état. Equally unfortunately for her, she failed to correctly establish who my line manager was before she attempted to go over my head to have me removed." He taps the sign on the front of the desk: PRIVATE SECRETARY. Keeper of the secrets. Whose secrets?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Woman claims solution is more women

    film at 11.

  5. GotThumbs
    Boffin

    This comes off as a pretty sexist statement and is offensive to me.

    "It has often occurred to me that maybe it would have helped to have more women involved at a high level,"

    I'm not familiar with the full details, but perhaps she simply wasn't very good at making her case in the first place.

    Just another possibility she may want to admit to.

    Her quitting does display her action/choice to not getting the results she wanted after how many attempts? I'd like to hear other members feedback regarding her justification for her desired outcome.

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: This comes off as a pretty sexist statement and is offensive to me.

      I'm not familiar with the full details, but perhaps she simply wasn't very good at making her case in the first place.

      I'm not familiar with the full details, but that's not going to stop me commenting either. Perhaps she was very good at making her case but a couple of people in positions of influence valued their own opinions far above those of anyone else.

      Just another possibility she may want to admit to.

      Just another possibility you may want to admit to, given the general tendency for people in power to entrench themselves and to exercise their prejudices.

  6. ElReg!comments!Pierre

    Disgraceful; but more women ain't the solution.

    As an admirer (and part-time maintainer) of ancient kit, I find this situation disgraceful. I Actually wrote to the Trust about that, and got a reply that I posted in the comments for another Reg article. This needs to stop, and external mediation seems to be the only way. It's a pity that this fine lass failed to get the knobheads on the Trust's board to agree to it.

    On the other hand I don't think more women would change anything about the current quabble. I work a lot with women in position of power; they are certainly not less aggressive nor smoother in conflicts than men. Quite the opposite, in fact: as one of the few men here I am often sent to ease blocked situations between female co-workers. The reasons for this are probably many, some would suggest that they had to fight harder to get there; I really don't have an opinion on the matter (not enough data at hand). But to think that having more women on the boards would somehow mellow the conflict is naive at best.

    1. Naughtyhorse

      Re: Disgraceful; but more women ain't the solution.

      As an admirer (and part-time maintainer) of ancient kit,

      dreadful way to refer to the wife!

      1. ElReg!comments!Pierre

        Re: Disgraceful; but more women ain't the solution.

        And now I'm in trouble. Ta very much.

        1. Naughtyhorse

          Re: Disgraceful; but more women ain't the solution.

          :D

          you're welcome

          ahh for got to upvote your original post...

          fixed!

    2. Paul 135

      Re: Disgraceful; but more women ain't the solution.

      A dominance of emotional thinking and nuance-free hysteria rarely leads to good relations in teams of people.

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: Disgraceful; but more women ain't the solution.

        A dominance of emotional thinking and nuance-free hysteria rarely leads to good relations in teams of people.

        Thank you for your utterly rational thought with all of its nuanced common sense.

        Read your own comment back to yourself, FFS!

  7. Stevie

    Bah!

    Goodbye, Dr Sexist, and don't let the door hit you in the back as you leave.

    1. Havin_it
      Trollface

      Re: Bah!

      The common idiom is, I believe, "[...] hit you in the ass". But you weren't about to phrase it that way in this context, were you?

      Who's the sexist?

      1. A Twig

        Re: Bah!

        Why would you be hit in your donkey?

        And besides "don't let the door hit you on your way out" normally suffices...

      2. Blitterbug
        WTF?

        Re: hit you in the ass...

        Conjoined donkey syndrome? <puzzled>

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: hit you in the ass...

          "Conjoined donkey syndrome? <puzzled>"

          An "ass" is a type of donkey , that bit of your backside you sit on is spelt "arse". Or at least it is in places where they speak english properly.

          1. Blitterbug
            Facepalm

            Re: hit you in the ass...

            @boltar

            ...precisely. Did you not get my (admittedly dumb) little dig?

  8. Charles Manning

    How is it that you can say "we need more women for job x because they think differently", but you cannot say "we don't need women for job y because they think differently"?

    If, as a generalisation, women do think differently from men then "women think" is surely suited to some functions and "bloke think" to other.

    For example, the massive gender imbalances in programming might just favour "bloke think" and no matter how hard we try paint programming pink, it just won't appeal to women in general.

    Now of course gender should not be used as a selection criterion. We should just select people on their individual merit. We should not assume that a bloke is going to be a good programmer (there are thousands of counter-examples) and nor should we assume that women won't be. However artificially moving the needle to seek some ideological balance is surely broken.

    1. Jon Bright

      If you're trying to "paint programming pink", you may be part of the problem, not part of the solution.

      Artifically moving the needle of hiring standards would be wrong: everyone hired should achieve at least the same standard.

      You can move lots of other needles: trying to get a more diverse group of candidates to apply for jobs, trying to make candidates (whoever they are) feel comfortable in interviews and subsequently in the workplace, etc.

      If a great chunk of the population isn't prepared to apply to your company because whenever you think "women" your mind immediately comes up with the association "pink", you're artificially *lowering* your hiring standards because your pool of candidates is half as big as it could be but you still need to employ the same number of people. I hesitate to call this a triumph of blokishness.

      1. xperroni

        If you're trying to "paint programming pink", you may be part of the problem, not part of the solution.

        An unfortunate choice of words, but his point has merit. The fabled "womanly way" is often touted as an argument for getting more women to play male-dominated roles. But clearly if women are a better fit to some situations, they must be a poorer one for others (you certainly wouldn't think women are better always, that's sexism). Yet try saying "maybe this problem wouldn't be so bad if we had less women involved" and see how long it takes for the femi-SA to show up.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Albright on women leaders...

    "Well I do think, when there are more women, that the tone of the conversation changes, and also the goals of the conversation change. But it doesn't mean that the whole world would be a lot better if it were totally run by women. If you think that, you've forgotten high school."

    -- Madeleine Albright

  10. TheFatMan

    "It has often occurred to me that maybe it would have helped to have more women involved at a high level,"

    Well done for quiting in protest

    "Boo Hiss" for thinking arrogance and stupidity is related to gender.

    Actually I have found it quite common for SOME women to think that if a man wont come round to their way of thinking then it is because they are a woman rather than because they are wrong

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But

    Who'll get the teas in now?

    OK, OK, It's a joke in poor taste!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: But

      OK, OK, It's a joke in poor taste!

      Depends on the tea, really.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "two trusts cannot work together"

    read: the combined board could only accommodate x number of board members, which happens to be 1/2 of the combined forces of "Board A + Board B" currently enjoying their hard day's work. Thus - no way, over my dead f... trust!

  13. Crisp

    With a name like Dr Black

    I'm surprised that she's not retreated to her evil lair inside a hollowed out volcano.

    1. Andy00ff00

      Re: With a name like Dr Black

      And "Baroness Trumpington" has a certain ring to it also

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: With a name like Dr Black

        "And "Baroness Trumpington" has a certain ring to it also"

        Yeah, as does the location of her "seat", Camberwick Green.

        <sings>

        Pugh, Pugh, Barney McGrew, Cuthbert, Dible and...er... the other one"

        </sings>

  14. Benchops

    The problem with all the old outdated kit is that they don't use the same I/O standards or protocols so no real communication can go on between them.

    The machines are quite old too.

  15. G4CYI

    Not Only The NMOC at Bletchley Park

    A very similar position exists between MKARS (Milton Keynes Amateur Radio Society) and the RSGB over two radio stations and radio museum. Not difficult to work out the common threads to these disputes. Common sense should dictate the outcome ! But will it !

    1. 2E0VPX
      Meh

      Re: Not Only The NMOC at Bletchley Park

      Ah... common sense. All things to all men (and women). The RSGB and BPT are two organisations blighted by the same disease (and are perfect bed fellows for that reason). Sadly MKARS was up against both of them...and lost. Both (the RSGB and BPT) will, I suspect, go the same way unless they change. Fortunately, MKARS continues to flourish (quite nicely, thank you very much). Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the RSGB's little green hut on the park. Such a shame that, like BPT, the RSGB couldn't bring it itself to value its partners.

  16. Neil Sunerton

    Eagle-eyed?

    "Eagle-eyed readers will notice none of the above are women"

    Baroness Trumpington is a woman.

    1. gazthejourno (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Eagle-eyed?

      It's in a new paragraph for a good reason.

  17. This post has been deleted by its author

  18. smartypants

    She's part right...

    Putting a few more women on the boards would help, but only because that would be a way of replacing the current people with other people.

    That's the main point surely, not whether the people on the board have a penis.

  19. smartypants

    Visitors to Bletchley: Have your cake and eat it!

    Decades ago Bletchley Park was devoted to overcoming devious security measures.

    In that spirit, when we paid a recent visit, we naturally decided not to let a silly little barrier put us off, and in the end, we found the fence didn't actually stop us anyway. It looked more like a fence you put around landscaping works and after a couple of wrong turns, and a bit of a smile at the sheds housing the memory of our cherished computer history, we made it.

    It was well worth it. TNMOC was easily the most interesting bit of the whole day out, and it would have been a great shame if we'd been prevented from seeing it all in one go.

    In short, trustees, you should be ashamed of yourselves.

    1. Tom 13

      Re: In short, trustees, you should be ashamed of yourselves.

      Quite like politicians, I rather suspect if any significant number of them were capable of being ashamed of themselves the current mess wouldn't have happened.

      On the topic of the vindictiveness of people people in positions where they don't yield a great deal of actual power I will note the following observation about Senator Phil Graham. When he arrived from academia in DC people were amazed at his adroitness in playing the long-knife game. Then someone pointed out that because the stakes are so much lower in academia, the fights are even more competitive than they are in DC. I suspect much the same is happening here.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Quitting was a mistake

    If someone is the only voice of reason in an ocean of big egos, she shouldn't have quit.

    Calmly ask the same rational questions over and over again: "yes, but how will that solve the problem?"

    "yes, but what is the added value for the trust?", "I see, but how will that get us closer to our goal?"

    This will have the big egos foaming at the mouth in a couple of weeks and room for fresh blood is only one heart attack away.

  21. 2E0VPX

    "When it became apparent to me late last year that I could not achieve my goal, I resigned." An odd statement that. So did she resign over the current dispute, or didn't she?

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