Another group of hams have been picked to represent the RSGB in the IARU World HF championship for 2008. The first thing us normal RSGB members hear about it, is the already chosen team. The team is typically a mix of present and past RSGB HF committee members and their friends. Most are accomplished contesters, but some are along for the ride on the basis of locality and being well connected.
I expressed an interest in the team back in 2005, but my questions about operator selection criterion in the following months drew fierce criticism and even personal insults from the more insecure team members. In 2006 after not being 'invited', I again attempted to break the wall of secrecy and was nearly successful after several months of e-mails with an invite to come along on a non-operational basis to a nearby stn. Unfortunately the offer was made only a week or so before the contest and I was unable to rearrange other plans I had made for the weekend (my birthday party). Apart from the offer being made too late, there was already too much bad blood to feel I'd really be welcome. The refusal of this offer was then used by the team to sink any chance I might of had of influencing change.
Some of the correspondence about the above was supportive and came from some of the UK's excluded top DXers (not HFCC committee members) who were as perplexed as I was about operator selection criteria. One good thing that happened as a result of my questioning the norm, was that a top UK DXer was 'invited' after me passing on his callsign as example of how insular/nepotistic their selection process was.
I think the main problem is that if you are not known by the chosen few, you will not be 'invited'. Even if you apply and you are not know by the chosen few you will not be 'invited'. This leads to a very private affair suitable for a private contest team or a DXpedition but is hardly suitable for a selection criterion for a national organisation with thousands of members.
It would seem the RSGB is quite happy with the "Win at all costs, tight knit, secretive society of 'best of breed stns' and friends" approach to representation, rather than a fairer, more open mix of suitably experienced RSGB members interested in taking part. It's certainly easier to organise as it is. It would also seem the RSGB are more interested in winning than in the future of the contesting 'sport' by allowing a fair selection to be made of their whole membership. The crowning glory then comes in the form of being asked each year to work them.
Why don't the RSGB think up a fairer, more open selection process, such as a call for operators in the Radcom or as a prize for winning RSGB contests. So what if thousands of 'unsuitable' members apply, at least the RSGB will be operating as an open society again in this respect.