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Statement from J.K. Rowling Regarding Resignation from MS Society Scotland

J.K. Rowling
Posted by: sue
April 08, 2009, 06:11 PM

An update now regarding the story from earlier today, involving Harry Potter author J.K.Rowling and her resignation as Patron of MS Society Scotland, the charity she has long and very publicly supported on her website, in her many charitable contributions, and gala fund raising events. Scottish Television now has a lengthy statement from JKR on this matter as follows:

"I have now reluctantly decided that I cannot, in good conscience, continue to be the public face of a charity that is changing beyond recognition from the one with which I have been so proud to be associated."
"I also remain committed to financing future research into the treatment and causes of Multiple Sclerosis, and to campaigning for better care and treatment of people with MS in Scotland, which is the MS capital of the world.

"This disease claimed my mother's life at the age of 45, and I hope to continue giving both time and money to a cause which remains so close to my heart.

"I have not taken the decision to quit my position as patron of MSSS lightly. Late last year, I initiated and attended a mediation session, in the hope of sorting out long-standing and escalating conflict between the Scottish Council and management in London, driven by the imposition of changes by London.

"Unfortunately, this achieved very little. With mounting frustration and disappointment, I have witnessed resignations of immensely dedicated people within MSSS and the increasing demoralisation of staff whom I have come to know and admire over the ten years of our association."

She said her disappointment "cannot be overstated. Nevertheless, I hope to continue to play a part in combating the underfunding and misunderstandings surrounding MS for many years to come. I shall also continue to hope that the MS Society Scotland manages to resolve its difficulties."

An MS Society spokesman said: "JK Rowling has been a great patron for the MS Society Scotland for many years. We are sorry she is stepping down and thank her for her good work, and for her continued support for the MS research centre in Edinburgh.

"The Society is in the middle of a governance review to make sure we are properly organised to build on the excellent work we already do in Scotland and across the UK. We are a strong, democratic organisation and this review is being done in consultation with all of our 43,000 members.

"We would have preferred to do this with JK Rowling's involvement, but we appreciate that significant change can be difficult. We would urge supporters of the MS Society to work with us now. The Board is confident that what we are doing is all about delivering the best possible support to over 10,000 people living with MS in Scotland."

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4844 Points

She has always weighed things out before making a decision. I just sad tha this happened.

Posted by Lady Grey OoM2,CW*ROAR* on April 08, 2009, 08:12 PM report to moderator
3455 Points

jeezz! my back is behind Jo! I’m supporting her side, i’m sure she wouldnt have left if it wasnt for a good reason….i wonder what went wrong though, to make her change her mind like that!

Posted by Catherine ( *SQUEE!*) on April 08, 2009, 08:33 PM report to moderator
783 Points

JKR would’ve done this w/ good reason & I take her word on it.
Politics seem to be getting in the way of the oragization & she obviously wants no part in it

Posted by Mary11_hplvr*WBM* on April 08, 2009, 08:50 PM report to moderator
1141 Points

Wish I knew what exactly these changes were. Its very sad that she to resign as a patron for this charity. I was really proud of her being patron. As for the conflict with London, I wonder if our nutty Mayor Boris Johnson has anything to do with this? I wont be surprised. I like the guy but he is quite frankly a nutcase at times! Probably nothing to do with him. But its all very mysterious….and I agree its all down to conflicting politics but how?

Posted by Professor Potter on April 08, 2009, 08:50 PM report to moderator
1260 Points

Mediation session? It sounds like this has been a problem for quite a while.

Posted by Attolia [squee!!!] on April 08, 2009, 09:24 PM report to moderator
433 Points

The most important thing here is that she is still going to continue to fund MS research and campaign for better treatment of MS patients. It’s just too bad it won’t be with that organization, which she had supported for a long time.

Posted by mollywobble on April 08, 2009, 10:01 PM report to moderator
6921 Points

Oh, that’s too bad. But I’m sure she left for a good reason.

Posted by badger666 on April 08, 2009, 10:16 PM report to moderator
730 Points

That’s our Jo, eloquent as always. I trust her judgment and I hope that the MSSS will be able to get things straightened out soon.

Posted by RavenclawDancer on April 08, 2009, 10:27 PM report to moderator
147 Points

The problem with big organizations is often that the people forming policy are not on the same page as the people actually doing the work. I have seen this happen a lot in government and industry. It sounds like the MSSS was getting directives from the “head honchos” in London that didn’t fit with what the workers in Scotland felt was needed. As a result the workers were demoralized and it sounds like a lot of good people quit. JKR tried to get the opposing sides to the table to work everything out but that effort ended in failure for whatever reason. Since JKR didn’t feel that the people in London were willing to run the MSSS in the way the people in Scotland thought it needed to be operated she expressed her feelings by saying in effect “If that’s the way you’re going to run things, you won’t have my support” (not an actual quote of course).

It IS all politics and they say all politics is local. That means that one shouldn’t try to run the local politics from a distance, you are too far removed. Let the locals do it. Jo’s statement says that she will continue to support MS research etc., just not by going through the MSSS anymore because she disagrees with the way the folks in London are screwing with things. This is my take on the whole thing from just reading the article. I think I’m pretty close to right. I hope I have cleared up some of the issues for those who said they were confused.

Posted by realspace on April 08, 2009, 11:28 PM report to moderator
699 Points

It’s always sad when good people and good organizations get off track because of conflict, whatever the conflict may be. It is not at all clear what is going on with this group, but it can’t be good. I have some experience working on the board of a MUCH smaller organization and I can testify that it isn’t easy to deal with conflict in a productive manner! Best wishes to all involved!

Posted by LilaCatsfoot on April 08, 2009, 11:41 PM report to moderator
2105 Points

I feel sure that she is stepping down because she believes that things are not right within the organization any longer – this is a cause she feels very strongly about, but she has also demonstrated that she believes strongly in doing what is right, whether or not her actions are popular or appear easy to understand to others.

Posted by Agrippa1 on April 08, 2009, 11:51 PM report to moderator
362 Points

I’m confused. But it’s her choice and sounds like there’s politic stuff going on so I don’t blame her for stepping down. Politics suck.

Posted by fantasylover12001 on April 09, 2009, 12:44 AM report to moderator
2588 Points

Ms. Rowling is a very very smart person and I’m sure she has very good reason to do what she is doing.

Posted by phantomdave79 on April 09, 2009, 01:27 AM report to moderator
925 Points

Jo has followed her own philosophy, making a choice between what was right and what was easy. She is an inspiration.

Posted by Graymayne on April 09, 2009, 02:09 AM report to moderator
28416 Points

Well said realspace and Graymayne, Central Government often imposes it’s own agenda on things, there is so much interference at times that local government is somewhat limited in it’s choices and I bet that lots of organisations do this too, based in London thinking they know best for outlying regions where they may have little local knowledge. Jo has always demonstrated her integrity, MS research will still have her backing and I believe she has chosen to resign out of neccessity but with great regret.

Posted by moglet [ITC!] on April 09, 2009, 02:27 AM report to moderator
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