Thursday, 19 May 2011

KC Chairman Ronnie Irving resigns

Kennel Club Chairman Ronnie Irving announced  today at the KC's Annual General Meeting that he is standing down - after nine years in the big job. The big surprise might be that he hasn't gone sooner. Ronnie intimated to me more than three years ago (at an interview for Pedigree Dogs Exposed in January 2008), that he did not see the unpaid post as a job for life and hinted strongly that he did not need the hassle that might come after Pedigree Dogs Exposed.

To give him credit, Ronnie stayed put and bore a considerable brunt of the storm - and, personally, I always saw him as someone who embraced at least some reform. First off, he has Border Terriers - a dog with a natural conformation and few health problems. And although he also has Dandie Dinmonts, he did once tell me that he was open to an outcross to inject some much-needed vigour into the Dandie (even if he didn't put his money where his mouth is and actually do it himself).

Then there was the May 2008 editorial in the Kennel Gazette where Ronnie spoke out strongly about exaggerations. There was also some fighting-talk (albeit behind closed doors) regarding the German Shepherds after PDE, and a very strong letter (which made its way into the public domain) to an overseas correspondent saying that to go on as before as regards health was unacceptable.

So why has he gone now? I suspect - but of course it's only a guess - that after the three years post-PDE presiding over the Kennel Club during the most difficult time in its history, that he's tired of the fight and looking for a quieter life.

I wish him well. For what it's worth, of all the senior bods at the Kennel Club I have dealt with, I liked Ronnie the most.

The full text of Ronnie's goodbye letter is on the Kennel Club website here.

So who's going to be the new Chairman? The election is on June  7 (with Ronnie at the helm until then).

And, boy, is that going to be interesting...  Will it be the same-old same-old - or the reform-embracing regime change so many people want?

Watch this space...


  1. You are a retriever-lover as always J! Wag the tail and rarely put in a tooth. Carefully retrieve the shot bird and try not to damage the feathers. A little dignity for the bird in the end. All good, and not a criticism. You are a nice person.

    Yes, personally Ronnie is a nice fellow, and yes behind closed doors he said some things had to change. But was there ever a *Times* editorial saying so and signed by him outlining a way forward that set bench marks for the future as he thought they should be? Is Caroline Kisko still in the job? What has really changed, and what was the force for that change. I do not think it was Ronnie Irving.

    Ronnie was a nice guy looking to do a "same-old same-old" job of Kennel Club leadership -- a guard for a time of peace, and not a general for a time of crisis and confusion.

    Yes, fair credit to him that he weathered the storm and perhaps it's best he did so for he allowed the "inbred thinking" at the Kennel Club to be well and truly exposed.

    But did Ronnie lead in a bold and public way? No. And I think he could have. You note that Ronnie is a border terrier man. Fair enough. But in the real world of working border terriers we demand more than fearlessness from the dog -- we expect the man to get into the hole and show a little fearlessness as well. Ronnie had the chance to "sort it out" at the of this dig, but he did not have the heart. A nice man, but not the man to lead the Kennel Club into the 21st Century and out of the 19th. He was a little too afraid of getting bit.


  2. I pray they chose the right person. This could be a huge opportunity to see some real change.

  3. Well, they could start by not using the job description "chairman", and replace it with "chair" or "chairperson"
    Who would you like to see as the new KC Chair, Jemima?
    I hope there isnt going to be a backlash, with a new chair from a show dog breeding background, and representing vested interests in resisting any further changes in the KC. How is the Chair appointed, election by KC members, by committee?

  4. Dalriach, who do you think makes up the members of the KC? You do realise that it is a very small club don't you - the vast majority of those showing and breeding are not and will never be given the chance to be members under the current rules, let alone those involved in the wider aspects of the dog world.

  5. Let me at it...tee hee hee!

  6. Now, what would be your manifesto..?

  7. Dalriach asked: "How is the Chair appointed, election by KC members, by committee?"

    The General Committee decides. From the rule book..

    "The General Committee at its first meeting held after the Annual General Meeting in each year shall select a Chairman and Vice Chairman from its own number... The election shall be by secret ballot if more than one nomination is received for either post."

    Hmm. Very little chance of a radical reformist getting in then...


  8. Rather reminds me of the method of selecting a pope. Reform? Good luck with that.

  9. The Position of 'Chair' of the KC should be thrown open to the Public and seek nominations.

    Nothing will be achieved by selection from within their Ranks. That is merely a means of gatekeeping and ensures that the same old thing perpetuates !

    This is why the KC does very little for other Clubs/Societies and in reality, changes are slow with little impact.

    The KC are no better than FIFA !