Concerned co-operator, Len Burch, author of the first major attempt to raise governance standards

Len Burch’s obituary in the Co-operative News informed the writer that Len had been assistant to the general secretary of the National Council of Labour Colleges before working for the Labour Party, principally as an agent in Kent. He joined the Co-operative Union Education Department at Stanford Hall in 1970 and developed courses for the Institute of Co-operative Directors – the first major attempt to raise governance standards in the movement. He will be missed.

Kent Online announces that the funeral service will be held at Woodlands Cemetery Chapel, 2pm on Monday 7th April 2014. All enquiries to Co-operative Funeralcare, Rainham. Tel: 01634 364970.

His last communication to the website, with regards to all thirty-one concerned co-operators

Rapping the writer and her critic over the knuckles (December 2013), he wrote:

The alternatives are NOT as you chose to represent them. They are not between “Rocking the Boat” and “Accentuating the Positive”.

When you are in a mess, or just experiencing a difficulty, it is no use “accentuating the positive” – unless public relations kidology will alone solve the issue, on a purely psychological basis.

To find a cure for more material inadequacies, you do not “accentuate the positive”; you do not live in a fool’s paradise; rather do you bring to the fore (accentuate) the negative, namely look at what is wrong – in order to put it right. That has nothing to do with “rocking the boat” – unless of course that fear of rocking the boat is itself a substantial part of the reason for the problems and negatives being unattended to, and thereby getting worse – namely becoming more negative through ‘accentuating and exaggerating the wrong (even if positive) features.

The material problems facing the Co-op retail are however structural in character. You cannot have a Co-operative without a Co-op structure – or one (by other than name) existing within what is not a Co-operative structure.

We have now, not simply an Emperor without clothes; nor even a skeleton without a body; but a skeleton with the wrong body which is the equivalent of a body with the wrong skeleton.


Regards to all 31 colleagues. Age leads thoughts into such negative structural anticipations, and then too does a positive mentality make so little material difference. But in social terms, what others have written, on the interactive and self-fulfilling connections between the material social structure and the socially manipulated mentality, can be of use, of interest, and provide answers.

But most folk are fed, mentally supplied (and so schooled) into a greater interest in what Prince Harry is doing. The gulf between what people are socialised into being ‘interested in’ and what is ‘in their interests’ is enormous.


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