Psychic News, SNU Spiritualist National Union and Liquidator

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Re: Psychic News, SNU Spiritualist National Union and Liquidator

Post by Admin on Sun Aug 08, 2010 7:47 am

One thing to notice in point 7, the extract from Gascoyne’s address is that at his own request David Bruton asked to be removed as Executive Director of PN. Depending upon the date on which this happened, if my analysis of the liquidation is correct he may be a wise man.

In the same extract of the President’s address he refers to the high cost of publishing as an implied reason and the trustees concern over the financial situation.
Yet in point 1 from Paranormal review Geoff Griffith comments on a piffling $3,000 support given by the SNU. We also have the Psychic Times article by Simon Forsyth at point 6 where it is restated that funds from benefactors were turned down. I note that Gascoyne himself noted the support the SNU had received from benefactors and in Paranormal review LSSNU (from point 2 above but not quoted) indicated the SNU received itself 1.3 to 1.4 million pounds so I doubt support for PN would have been insubstantial.

It is therefore hard to accept that a financial imperative was the catalyst for the “liquidation”

In point 3 Harry and James express the view “do not be surprised if it arises as an SNU in house publication”. Indeed this is echoed By Duncan Gascoyne in his Presidents address (point 7) “there has to be a completely new approach” and David Bruton’s incoming address “”evolve into a new format....I pledge ....every effort.... to secure success”.

This is echoed in Roy’s original Paranormal Review Death of Psychic News article point 5. “one option is that Psychic News becomes part of the SNU, to be run by an SNU committee”

Now LSSNU in point 2 raises the names Gascoyne, ex President and the VP for Spiritual Judith Seaman. Would not this seem a natural partnership to front up the re- emergence of PN as an SNU newspaper maybe as an odd couple joint editorship (as all the experienced staff are being removed now).

We may even get some hints upon this, point 4 from Paranormal Review gives Merlin saying that his sources say the SNU have kept the masthead. Much of his post may be wrong but Merlin has SNU contacts that occasionally turn up diamonds.

Then in points 9-11 we see more signs of someone at work. The email broadcast from the Bookshop was oddly out of pn@snu.org.uk not the more normal; psychic press/ PN emails. One wonders who approved and sent this out. It also implies that normal service will be resumed.

Almeera follows saying his association have been contacted by new owners who have confirmed they have kept the masthead. To date we have no confirmation of the paper being sold so one may presume Almeera’s new owners may be the SNU.

Now all the above is speculation but it is based from snippets of people who may be regarded as knowledgeable.

It still begs a question, in liquidation assets must be sold to the benefit of all creditors. The NEC remains secretive and Psychic Press is still not doing the appropriate things in liquidation. This is not a good look for the entire organisation, the Spiritualist National Union of Great Britain. I am sure that all Spiritualists would have hoped for a higher level of ethical, moral and transparent behaviour from one of the self proclaimed great Spiritualist Organisations.
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Re: Psychic News, SNU Spiritualist National Union and Liquidator

Post by Admin on Sun Aug 08, 2010 11:20 am

Re: "Psychic News" to Close
by Admin Today at 20:11

Now given this arrived 2.56pm aus time 4 am Uk time just who sent this ...not an employee more an IT expert and possibly an NEC member.


From: Psychic News [mailto@snu.org.uk]
Sent: Sunday, 8 August 2010 2:56 PM
To: pn@snu.org.uk
Subject: Online bookshop


Dear Customer,
Please ignore the email regarding the online bookshop which contained some
erroneous information on ordering.
The online bookshop is closed for further business. You may still browse the
content and contact us for advice on where to order your books in future.
We apologise for any confusion caused by the previous mailing.
Regards
Online bookshop team

Elsewhere, as Lis says, it appears a fascinating attempt at obscuring reality
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Re: Psychic News, SNU Spiritualist National Union and Liquidator

Post by Dan on Sun Aug 08, 2010 3:13 pm

Interesting threads here. To my mind the failure to appoint an administrator in the conventional way is symbolic of everything that seems to be going on. As Admin implied in the posting, appointing an administrator is in one sense a moral act. It gives a clear signal that a company is struggling. In other words, it makes the truth available. The only reason I can see for not having appointed one is a deliberate attempt to keep things under wraps. This would square with keeping subscribers, advertisers etc in the dark. I wonder when the staff were told. That would be interesting to know. Perhaps if any of the staff subscribe to this forum they could let us know? Most significantly it squares with the SNU making no effort at all to ask for help from other spiritual groups. They did not want anyone to know they were killing off the PN. But why not? True they've faced huge criticism for their decision but let's face it, they are hardly strangers to criticism. Would it really bother them? I doubt it.

The discussions on here are important and in the public interest but in the final analysis the first stage of their plan seems clear as crystal. They wanted for whatever reason(s) to shut down the newspaper by stealth and therefore had to retain an element of surprise.

The next part of the plan is a bit more difficult to conclusively pin down but I still think it's transparent. If it is true that when news of PN's financial situation leaked out, funds were offered to sustain it but were turned down, it would suggest that the SNU already had another agenda in their sights, whether that was complete closure of the paper or production of it under another guise. If speeches by Bruton and Gascoigne are to be taken at face value, the former was not the intended agenda. That leaves us with production under another guise.

It's well enough known that the SNU dislike views contrary to their own and are always ready to stifle them when possible. What better way to stifle them than to commandeer the world's most famous Spiritualist publication to publish their own narrow views of Spiritualism? I believe this was and is their agenda.

Lets look at some of the evidence for it:

Secretive moves to shut down PN as we know it.
No attempt to seek backing from other Spiritualist organisations with alternative views to the SNU's.
Refusal of offers of funding from outside.
Rumours that ex pres Gascoigne and vice pres Judith Seaman are planning to produce a version of the paper themselves.
The independent minded approach of the current editorial team who have featured a number of articles and letters critical of the SNU.
Wholesale redundancy of that editorial team.

To my mind this adds up to only one thing - independence was something SNU were no longer willing to tolerate.

If anyone disagrees with any of this theorising I hope you will say so and have a genuine debate about what's gone on. How about someone from the SNU having the guts to get on here and take some questions. PN is in a coffin at the moment and that's a tragedy for what's left of today's rather pitiful movement.


Last edited by Dan on Sun Aug 08, 2010 3:19 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : spelling)

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Re: Psychic News, SNU Spiritualist National Union and Liquidator

Post by mac on Sun Aug 08, 2010 7:10 pm

Often it's found that a cloud has a silver lining. Perhaps one which has become evident recently is that of contributions to the forum by folks I don't know.

It's to be hoped they stay around when all the brou-ha-ha is eventually over, as it surely will be....

mac


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Re: Psychic News, SNU Spiritualist National Union and Liquidator

Post by Dan on Sun Aug 08, 2010 8:30 pm

mac wrote:

It's to be hoped they stay around when all the brou-ha-ha is eventually over, as it surely will be....



Hello Mac

It's my first day on here. I'm sad to note that the quite unnecessary and arbitrary loss of a paper which impacts upon thousands around the world is n your opinion nothing more than a brou-ha-ha. A little insensitive at this time, perhaps.

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Re: Psychic News, SNU Spiritualist National Union and Liquidator

Post by mac on Sun Aug 08, 2010 9:56 pm

Dan wrote:
mac wrote:

It's to be hoped they stay around when all the brou-ha-ha is eventually over, as it surely will be....



Hello Mac

It's my first day on here. I'm sad to note that the quite unnecessary and arbitrary loss of a paper which impacts upon thousands around the world is n your opinion nothing more than a brou-ha-ha. A little insensitive at this time, perhaps.

"brouhaha. n. turmoil, uproar, fuss...." Isn't this exactly the response we're hearing? turmoil and uproar? Insensitive of me to describe it that way, you say?

The paper is not yet lost....I don't have any doubts it will return.

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Re: Psychic News, SNU Spiritualist National Union and Liquidator

Post by zerdini on Sun Aug 08, 2010 10:00 pm

The paper is not yet lost....I don't have any doubts it will return.

Maybe, but in what form and run by whom?

merlin/almera has got it wrong again! Rolling Eyes - as Roy Stemman wisely pointed out.

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Re: Psychic News, SNU Spiritualist National Union and Liquidator

Post by mac on Sun Aug 08, 2010 10:08 pm

zerdini wrote:
The paper is not yet lost....I don't have any doubts it will return.

Maybe, but in what form and run by whom?

merlin/almera has got it wrong again! Rolling Eyes - as Roy Stemman wisely pointed out.

I don't know what we'll see eventually, z. If it's not the standard we'd hope it will be very sad....

Things inevitably change in life and maybe PN will too, however much that will be regretted.

But it might be a Phoenix rising from the ashes - I'll try to remain optimistic about its future.

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Re: Psychic News, SNU Spiritualist National Union and Liquidator

Post by Claire on Sun Aug 08, 2010 10:11 pm

[quote="mac"
The paper is not yet lost....I don't have any doubts it will return.[/quote]



But will our money return with it is the question.

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Re: Psychic News, SNU Spiritualist National Union and Liquidator

Post by mac on Sun Aug 08, 2010 10:14 pm

Claire wrote:[quote="mac"
The paper is not yet lost....I don't have any doubts it will return.



But will our money return with it is the question.[/quote]

That's one of the questions.... I hope so.

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Re: Psychic News, SNU Spiritualist National Union and Liquidator

Post by Lis on Sun Aug 08, 2010 11:22 pm

Dan wrote:Interesting threads here. To my mind the failure to appoint an administrator in the conventional way is symbolic of everything that seems to be going on. As Admin implied in the posting, appointing an administrator is in one sense a moral act. It gives a clear signal that a company is struggling. In other words, it makes the truth available. The only reason I can see for not having appointed one is a deliberate attempt to keep things under wraps. This would square with keeping subscribers, advertisers etc in the dark. I wonder when the staff were told. That would be interesting to know. Perhaps if any of the staff subscribe to this forum they could let us know? Most significantly it squares with the SNU making no effort at all to ask for help from other spiritual groups. They did not want anyone to know they were killing off the PN. But why not? True they've faced huge criticism for their decision but let's face it, they are hardly strangers to criticism. Would it really bother them? I doubt it.

The discussions on here are important and in the public interest but in the final analysis the first stage of their plan seems clear as crystal. They wanted for whatever reason(s) to shut down the newspaper by stealth and therefore had to retain an element of surprise.

The next part of the plan is a bit more difficult to conclusively pin down but I still think it's transparent. If it is true that when news of PN's financial situation leaked out, funds were offered to sustain it but were turned down, it would suggest that the SNU already had another agenda in their sights, whether that was complete closure of the paper or production of it under another guise. If speeches by Bruton and Gascoigne are to be taken at face value, the former was not the intended agenda. That leaves us with production under another guise.

It's well enough known that the SNU dislike views contrary to their own and are always ready to stifle them when possible. What better way to stifle them than to commandeer the world's most famous Spiritualist publication to publish their own narrow views of Spiritualism? I believe this was and is their agenda........

If anyone disagrees with any of this theorising I hope you will say so and have a genuine debate about what's gone on. How about someone from the SNU having the guts to get on here and take some questions. PN is in a coffin at the moment and that's a tragedy for what's left of today's rather pitiful movement.

Hi Dan and welcome to the forum. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this distressing matter. I can only concur with your assessment of the situation and lament the loss of such an important vehicle of Spiritualism, dealt a death blow by stealth.

Lis
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Re: Psychic News, SNU Spiritualist National Union and Liquidator

Post by Lis on Sun Aug 08, 2010 11:43 pm

I do not doubt that on the NEC agenda is a 'relaunched' Psychic News - as an in-house publication. Having tried to produce in-house publications before with notable failure the NEC would appear to have hit upon a plan that they think will work.

They must have assumed that subscribers of PN would happily move over to their in-house publication just because it will be still called 'Psychic News.' Perhaps some will, but I am sure that many others will not.

Having taken PN away from Spiritualists of all colours to launch their own version of it they may, sadly, discover that as a result of their actions Psychic News will truly die and be forever lost to Spiritualism and the blame for that will rest fairly and squarely on those in the NEC who came up with this immoral, unethical, self-serving scheme.

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Re: Psychic News, SNU Spiritualist National Union and Liquidator

Post by Admin on Mon Aug 09, 2010 12:29 am

Good posts Dan

Like you I wonder when the staff were notified. I also wonder if the company or its owners intend to fulfil there payment obligations to its loyal employees or leave them to the mercy of the UK Government Scheme.

If they did that over here it would be seen as a prima facie proof of insolvent trading and the Government would ensure the directors were pursued by the Liquidator.
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Re: Psychic News, SNU Spiritualist National Union and Liquidator

Post by Admin on Mon Aug 09, 2010 2:11 am

Looking through all of this again.

On one hand we have the SNU complaining that it is uneconomic to run PN but accepting that it is a very important paper for Spiritualism. They decide to shut it down, cut off 7 peoples employment and apparently not ensure all creditors are payed out.

Then a white knight appears offering to take all that financial burden away, maintain Psychic News, retain the jobs of the loyal staff and fulfil the obligations to all creditors.

What better result could there be than that, the SNU only paid 1 pound for the paper, promising it would remain independent, so there is really no moral right to to remove an independent newspaper that represents all Spiritualists.

Yet now it appears they may be making that transaction impossible by hanging onto crucial bits like the masthead. If that causes a deal to fail then all credittors, employees and SNU members know the cause, a decison of the NEC.

They could only hang onto it to use it as an in house publication, possibly either to satisfy the ego and wants of a small group on the NEC or to prevent any criticisms of its policy or actions. All this at the cost of the jobs of loyal staff, potentially to the loss of their employee benefits and at a loss of money for all the other creditors.

I am bewildered that any organisation seeking to promote a belief in the 7 Principles and Spiritualism could even contemplate such an action especially in comparison to teh benefits of a clean sale of Psychic Press. How can the NEC then face their members if they continue with this action, its just unthinkable.

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Re: Psychic News, SNU Spiritualist National Union and Liquidator

Post by Lis on Mon Aug 09, 2010 11:35 am

To follow up on Claire's concerns - I wonder has anyone actually had a response to their phone calls, or emails to the SNU regarding their concerns, desire for clarification as to what is going on, or their request for the return of their money paid for goods or services not received?

If anyone has, please let us know.

Lis
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Re: Psychic News, SNU Spiritualist National Union and Liquidator

Post by hiorta on Mon Aug 09, 2010 3:06 pm

The silence from the SNU is bound to be very worrying for those who have booked and paid for any of the various courses at The Arthur Findlay College in the coming months.
A reputable concern would be at pains to provide information to alleviate worries over this.
Are the problems confined to the PN and Bookshop, or are other SNU activities also in the melting pot?
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Re: Psychic News, SNU Spiritualist National Union and Liquidator

Post by Dan on Mon Aug 09, 2010 5:25 pm

Admin wrote:Good posts Dan

Like you I wonder when the staff were notified. I also wonder if the company or its owners intend to fulfil there payment obligations to its loyal employees or leave them to the mercy of the UK Government Scheme.

If they did that over here it would be seen as a prima facie proof of insolvent trading and the Government would ensure the directors were pursued by the Liquidator.



Can you explain that a bit more please Admin? Do you mean that if Psychic News doesn't pay redundancy to their employees they are admitting trading insolvent? Haven't they said they are insolvent? I thought that would be obvious if they are shutting down for lack of money?

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Getting your money back

Post by Inspiration on Mon Aug 09, 2010 8:40 pm

This was posted today on Paranormalreview.com

"RE Stuart Alexander Seance. The decision to liquidate was made on 22nd May. The cheques were cashed in June. Can someone offer some advice or a legal opinion on this?"

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Re: Psychic News, SNU Spiritualist National Union and Liquidator

Post by Admin on Tue Aug 10, 2010 12:54 am

hiorta wrote:The silence from the SNU is bound to be very worrying for those who have booked and paid for any of the various courses at The Arthur Findlay College in the coming months.
A reputable concern would be at pains to provide information to alleviate worries over this.
Are the problems confined to the PN and Bookshop, or are other SNU activities also in the melting pot?

Hmm interesting point Hiorta but I have heard rumours that a multi millonaire property developer has ridden to prominence in the SNU hierarchy in conjunction with David Brutons rise. Maybe there is some thought of capitalising on the valuable asset that is Stansted Hall. That would certainly put money in the SNU coffers.

It could almost be justified by moving to a new custom built HQ in the Midlands and taking the AFC courses to venues around the UK in the same way many tutors currently do on a private basis. After all in his Presidential address this year Minister Gascoyne interestingly said in his dismissal of PN that
few individuals who feel it should be kept going for historic or sentimental reasons. However feeling sentimental about it does not pay the high costs involved
so one cannot discount it. Stansted Hall would have high maintenance costs and a mainly sentimental value.

I do not want to unbalance this thread with material about this, which would be very speculative, so if people want to continue discussing this let me know and I will move these posts to a new thread.
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Re: Psychic News, SNU Spiritualist National Union and Liquidator

Post by Lis on Tue Aug 10, 2010 1:03 am

Comments made on this forum:

"Looking through all of this again. On one hand we have the SNU complaining that it is uneconomic to run PN but accepting that it is a very important paper for Spiritualism. They decide to shut it down, cut off 7 peoples employment and apparently not ensure all creditors are payed out.

Then a white knight appears offering to take all that financial burden away, maintain Psychic News, retain the jobs of the loyal staff and fulfil the obligations to all creditors.

What better result could there be than that, the SNU only paid 1 pound for the paper, promising it would remain independent, so there is really no moral right to to remove an independent newspaper that represents all Spiritualists.

Yet now it appears they may be making that transaction impossible by hanging onto crucial bits like the masthead. If that causes a deal to fail then all credittors, employees and SNU members know the cause, a decison of the NEC.

They could only hang onto it to use it as an in house publication, possibly either to satisfy the ego and wants of a small group on the NEC or to prevent any criticisms of its policy or actions. All this at the cost of the jobs of loyal staff, potentially to the loss of their employee benefits and at a loss of money for all the other creditors.

I am bewildered that any organisation seeking to promote a belief in the 7 Principles and Spiritualism could even contemplate such an action especially in comparison to teh benefits of a clean sale of Psychic Press. How can the NEC then face their members if they continue with this action, its just unthinkable."


These were also posted on the Paranmornal Review website. That site owner, Roy Stemman has given the following response which I think is also very pertinant:

"Although I can't verify the accuracy of everything in the above comment from a Guest contributor, I believe it reflects what has been happening to a large extent. I believe it is true, for example, that the recent discussion that took place between the SNU and an interested party who was willing to take over Psychic News, the SNU's position was that it wanted to retain the masthead (in other words, the newspaper's title) as well as its archives. If this is what happened, then it is hardly surprising that the negotiations have apparently stalled. The title, "Psychic News" is known and recognised around the world as an independent Spiritualist publication, and its archives (newspaper cuttings, photo library and other related items) are the lifeblood of any newspaper or magazine. How can the SNU keep them and still try to "sell" Psychic News to an individual or an organisation that is interested in saving it and keeping it alive?

We won't know the truth of this until the SNU decides what it's going to do, but at the moment it appears to be playing games not only with a publication of enormous importance to the Spiritualist movement but also with the livelihoods of those who have been producing it for many years, and who are now twiddling their thumbs and wondering what fate has in store for them."


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Re: Psychic News, SNU Spiritualist National Union and Liquidator

Post by Admin on Tue Aug 10, 2010 4:57 am

Dan wrote:
Admin wrote:Good posts Dan

Like you I wonder when the staff were notified. I also wonder if the company or its owners intend to fulfil there payment obligations to its loyal employees or leave them to the mercy of the UK Government Scheme.

If they did that over here it would be seen as a prima facie proof of insolvent trading and the Government would ensure the directors were pursued by the Liquidator.



Can you explain that a bit more please Admin? Do you mean that if Psychic News doesn't pay redundancy to their employees they are admitting trading insolvent? Haven't they said they are insolvent? I thought that would be obvious if they are shutting down for lack of money?

Hi Dan,

Well shutting down for a lack of money may not be insolvent if all creditors are paid out. However, Directors should always ensure this is the case or else they could be said by a liquidator to have traded whilst insolvent, they are then personally responsible for the losses incurred whilst they traded in this manner. One of the most clear evidences of insolvent trading is being unable to pay out employee entitlements.

In this case we now have a very clear date when they decided they should put the company into insolvency, May 22nd the directors resolved to place Psychic Press in liquidation. After that date they should have avoided a variety of actions and preferably acted differently by appointing an Administrator. I would imagine that the directors would like these minutes to cease to exist but someone took them and I am sure they realise this cannot happen.

The decision to liquidate, directly by the Board is, as I have already said, unusual. More unusual still we have been told a liquidator is appointed not activated. My antenna picked up on this because Liquidators need paying and charge fairly large fees.

I can only consider that this unusual action follows discussion internally and results also from getting external advice. It appears to me certain that these liquidators were involved in this, probably as far back as April. Almost certainly the contact would have to be with someone like the company Chairman, Mr Bruton and a small committee considering the liquidation. It is quite probable the liquidators gave advice on how to proceed with matters and are being paid from within the SNU.

Just these matters are unusual and it is plain to see the owners and major creditor were well aware of the probability of an insolvent liquidation at that time.

Add to this the evidence that this meeting was meant to start a members voluntary liquidation, however, I am certain no Director signed the necessary statutory declaration of solvency in the 5 weeks prior to this. One can see why they would not by the fact the company is now clearly not intending to pay its debts. This means that, despite any contrary opinions on the Board, the Company Board actually voted the company straight into a Creditors Liquidation and were very foolish not to appoint an administrator. This date is very important because we are told that cheques were cashed, for future events, after May22nd. This is a clear example of something that the Companies Investigation Bureau CIB will look at, even if there is a liquidator appointed.

As I quoted above the type of thing they will look at is
HOWEVER, where payment has been made in advance, and the company appears to have no intention of supplying the goods or services, it may be appropriate for CIB.

Liquidating the company the Board had every expectation these events would not go ahead and never should have banked money which was clearly being held to one side. One wonders who took the money and banked it? Who so ordered this person to do it as well?

We also need to consider that as the directors did not file statutory declarions of solvency and this was not therefore a Members Voluntary Liquidation there was no need for Members ratification to validate the resolution. I expect this was obtained in the 2-3 weeks after the board decision with the NEC agreeing to it on behalf of the SNU, somewhere around the 12th June (to pick a date). However, once the directors had decided on liquidation they had a duty to act in a way to ensure all creditors were protected with no monies received or banked or new supplies received without the tenderer of money or the supplier being made aware of the risk for loss.

To this end note the imperative rules imposed by the companies act for Directors in a Creditors Liquidation
The resolution must be:
advertised in the Gazette within 14 days; and
sent to the Registrar within 15 days.

A meeting of creditors must be held in the next 14 days after passing the resolution. Notice of the meeting must be sent to the creditors at least 7 days before the meeting. Also, the directors must prepare a statement of affairs for consideration at the meeting, and appoint one of themselves to attend and preside over the meeting.
When the liquidator is appointed, the directors must provide him or her with a statement of affairs and otherwise co-operate with the liquidator.
7. Does the company have to advertise notice of the meeting?
Yes. The meeting must be advertised in the Gazette and in two newspapers in the area where the company has its principal place of business.


It is quite a list of items which the Directors of Psychic Press have failed to do but I would feel they must have believed they were constrained by the NEC, representing the owners, Psychic Press's major creditors, who had appointed them to their roles. Sadly that does not protect them if the CIB take action it will also fail to help them if the Fleet Street tabloids get onto this story.

They may have sought advice from the liquidator before hand but I wonder what this party would make of these events. I doubt they would acknowlegdge these actions followed their instructions.

Once again I say that what is going on is bewildering, there is an offer available which stops the liquidation and prevents insolvency. This fulfils all the Directors obligations. Yet it may appear the owners prefer liquidation. I fail to see how, apart from some smart footwork by the liquidator, the owners can remain in possesion of these assets they are refusing to sell. Even if they have created a secured debt (in which case the liquidator would need to look at the when, the how and who was involved) they cannot just take over the assets and abandon the other creditors because the offer on the table pays off that secured debt and all other debts. They would have to match or better this paying out everyone.
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Re: Psychic News, SNU Spiritualist National Union and Liquidator

Post by Lis on Tue Aug 10, 2010 7:06 am

The remarks made in the retiring SNU President’s address to the members at the Conference at Blackpool in early July, and those made by the new President, David Bruton, have given rise to considerable interest, as much for what they do not say as for what they do.

It is worth examining Mr. Gascoyne’s points:

1. Over previous years the President made clear the need for SNU members to support Psychic News, in other words - “Use it, or lose it.”

2. In July 2009 he said the future of PN was in the member’s hands but his words were not heeded.

3. It appeared to Mr. Gascoyne that there was no “real motive or incentive from the majority of SNU Spiritualists or the Movement in general to keep it (Psychic News) going …”

4. “ … apart from a few individuals who feel it should be kept going for historic or sentimental reasons.”

5. “feeling sentimental about it does not pay the high costs involved in publishing a weekly newspaper.”

6. Trustee’s Report noted “their concerns over the financial situation regarding Psychic Press (1995) Ltd.”

7. The situation at present (that is 3 July 2010) the Company (Psychic Press (1995) Pty Ltd) “cannot continue” – “it is no longer in a viable financial position to do so” and “we (the NEC) now have no choice (but) to take the appropriate action and liquidate it.”

8. “Due to the fact that Psychic Press (1995) Ltd is responsible for publishing Psychic News this now means that this in its present form will cease publication on the 31st July 2010.

9. “Over the past few weeks the Union has been looking at various ways of retaining Psychic News.

10. It is “quite clear … it cannot be done in its present format.”

11. “There has to be a completely new approach if it is to be revived and this has to be considered very carefully.”

12. Mr. Gascoyne did not remove David Bruton from his position of Executive Director of Psychic Press – this was an NEC decision - requested by David Bruton – “due to his other commitments.”

13. The rumour that Mr. Gascoyne “personally took the decision to close down Psychic News” is “completely untrue.”

14. Mr. Gascoyne has, “with the full knowledge of the other SNU Officers and those concerned spent a great amount of time and effort in trying to keep it going and also finding the finance to do this. Otherwise it would have shut down weeks ago.

15. The decision to liquidate was taken by the Board of Psychic Press (1995) Ltd and this has subsequently been endorsed by the National Executive Committee.

16. As the (retiring) SNU President Mr. Gascoyne announced he felt “that the Union churches and members should be informed first of all about the decisions made and reasons why.

17. He was sure that the “Psychic Press Report” would present “ideas for the future of Psychic News.”

The first two points suggest that it was up to SNU members to buy Psychic News if they wanted to see it continue. The paper’s future was entirely in their hands. But, did the company which ran Psychic News, or the parent company, the SNU, make any effort to increase circulation – among the SNU member churches and individuals? It would appear not.

One might also add that despite Mr. Gascoyne suggesting the fate of the paper was in the members hands – the members were not consulted before the decision to close down PN was taken. Would the membership of the SNU (quite apart from the many other subscribers of PN who were also not consulted) have decided that Psychic News should close? I seriously doubt that they would have.

Next, Mr. Gascoyne claimed there was no real motive or incentive from the majority of SNU Spiritualists or the Movement in general to keep Psychic News going apart from a few individuals who didn’t want to see it close for historical or sentimental reasons, and that sentimental reasons don’t pay the high costs of publishing a weekly paper.

One might well ask Mr. Gascoyne just how he established the validity of these claims. Did he approach “the majority of SNU Spiritualists”? Did he canvas the “Movement in general”? How did he determine there were only “a few individuals” who didn’t want to see PN close? How did he identify that the reasons of these ‘few individuals’ were purely historic or sentimental?

He was apparently suggesting there was NO ONE who had any desire or motivation to keep Psychic News because it had, for them, a meaning or purpose – a value. This is clearly untrue, as the many emails and phone calls expressing concern and unhappiness at the closure of PN undoubtedly testify.

Mr. Gascoyne then moved on to talk about the “high costs” of publishing a weekly Psychic News – though he does not, in his address give details, and draws attention to the “concerns” of the SNU Trustee’s regarding the “financial situation,” before moving quickly on to say that, as of that day, (3rd July 2010) the company could not continue because it was not in a “viable financial position” and there was NO choice but to liquidate it.

According to Mr. Gascoyne there was no choice but to liquidate the company because it was no longer financially viable but, to date, though Psychic News has ceased publication, the company, that is Psychic Press (1995) Ltd, has not been put into liquidation.

It is now over five weeks since the SNU membership were informed – and it still has not happened. Why? Not financially viable means unable to operate – insolvent – cannot pay its debts, etc. A serious situation and one, once the directors of the company are aware, that requires swift action to ensure compliance with legal requirements.

Either, the claim the company was not financially viable was untrue, or, if true, proper procedure has not been followed. Why?

Mr. Gascoyne also claimed that Psychic News would cease publication on 31st July. In reality, the plug was pulled on PN a week earlier, with the last edition dated 24th July. Again, no explanation for this change has been offered.

Interestingly, in relation to Psychic News ceasing publication, Mr. Gascoyne uses the words “in its present form,” which must suggest that Psychic Press might be once again published in some other form. Such an interpretation is strengthened by Mr. Gascoyne’s further remark that the “Union has been looking at various ways of retaining Psychic News” though not in its present format.

Mr. Gascoyne suggested that this “looking at various ways of retaining Psychic News” had been occurring “over the past few weeks” – an even more interesting comment as it might appear, from that wording, this consideration of alternative format, or attempts to retain Psychic News, has only very recently been considered. In reality, as I hope will eventually become clear, discussion, consideration, as to other forms of Psychic News, has actually been going on for quite a long time - much longer than a “few weeks;” just as the idea of closing Psychic News has been in the pipeline for very much longer than a few weeks.

Three other significant matters are drawn attention to by Mr. Gascoyne. First, the issue of Mr. Bruton’s departure from the role of Executive Director of Psychic Press (1995) Ltd., and secondly, Mr. Gascoyne’s denial of personally making the decision to close Psychic News. The third matter is of course the decision taken by the Board of Psychic Press to “liquidate.” I will examine those shortly in a further post.


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Re: Psychic News, SNU Spiritualist National Union and Liquidator

Post by Lis on Tue Aug 10, 2010 9:35 am

Mr. Gascoyne denied he was personally responsible for the decision to close down Psychic News. He states emphatically, this is completely untrue. The decision to liquidate was taken by the Board of Psychic Press, not Mr. Gascoyne.

As it happens, information now becoming available would suggest that Mr. Gascogne may have played quite a significant role in the demise of Psychic News, as may have the new President, David Bruton.

Perhaps we should also point out that David Bruton, the newly elected President, did, though removed as Executive Director of Psychic Press, at his request, “due to his other commitments,” continue on the 4 person Board of Psychic Press - as Chairman - and can also hardly be said to have had no involvement in what the Board decided would be the fate of Psychic Press and Psychic News this year.

So when exactly did the Board of Psychic Press (1995) Pty Ltd actually decide that Psychic News was no longer financially viable and must be placed in liquidation? Certainly one significant date is May 22nd, 2010, when a Psychic Press Board Meeting took place. Apparently a decision to that effect was formally made at that time. Sources also confirm this decision was subsequently endorsed by the National Executive Committee of the SNU. I understand that ‘endorsement,’ or ratification occurred at a NEC Board meeting on June 12th, 2010.

However, word has it that by the beginning of April 2010, there was already in existence a ‘Working Party’ set up to consider the future of Psychic News. We are trying to corroborate this. Apparently the working party ultimately ‘recommended’ to the Board of Psychic Press that the company should be liquidated, and this recommendation was what was approved on May 22nd, 2010, though action was deferred till the decision was ratified by the NEC.

Now I am not saying that a parent company, concerned about the financial viability of one of its subsidiaries, should not have the right to investigate that subsidiary's ability to continue functioning. Nor am I suggesting that a company should not, if it genuinely finds that the situation is so serious, decide to 'cut its losses' and put that subsidiary into liquidation, or at least administration. It might well be considered 'good business practice' to make such difficult decisions, despite the fact that there would be many who are upset by the decision. Ultimately a company cannot just keep a non-viable subsidiary in operation, no matter how distressed people might be to see it cease to exist.

The questions that arise in this situation are however more about whether the subsidiary (Psychic Press - Psychic News) was in fact no longer financially viable; whether attempts were made to resolve any financial problems; whether the parent company actually wanted to see that subsidiary cease to operate for other reasons, whether the decisions made were based on genuine financial issues or on other priorities; whether a fair and independent assessment of the viability of the subsidiary was undertaken; whether other solutions were sought or other financial options considered; whether the proper procedure for winding up the subsidiary were followed, and whether it is a process that will stand scrutiny.

It is evident, that many are not happy with the closure of PN. It is also evident that there is disquiet about the manner in which the closure of PN has been handled. There is considerable confusion due to the lack of transparency of the actions of the Directors of Psychic Press and the NEC.

As a postscript, however, I would ask the question: Surely the SNU, must realise that it is in the best interests of Spiritualism throughout the world, to accept the offer being made to purchase Psychic News, allowing it to remain as an Independent Voice for all Spiritualists. This would not prevent the SNU from establishing its own in-house publication, able to reflect the views and values of the SNU, but would ensure that all those who have been disadvantaged by their closing of PN would be fully recompensed by the new owners, especially since it is evident that the SNU has no intention to so honour those outstanding obligations.


Last edited by Lis on Tue Aug 10, 2010 11:28 am; edited 4 times in total

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Re: Psychic News, SNU Spiritualist National Union and Liquidator

Post by hiorta on Tue Aug 10, 2010 10:07 am

It is increasingly looking as though the PN debacle is merely a smoke screen to hide the real target.
Didn't the SNU and its properties belong to its duped members?

Perhaps the folly of not resisting the blandishments to enter 'sole trust' arrangements - giving control over local Associations properties and monies to the SNU - without any guarantees in return, is now apparent.
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Re: Psychic News, SNU Spiritualist National Union and Liquidator

Post by Lis on Tue Aug 10, 2010 10:23 am

it really is difficult to say Hiorta, what was the real motivation of any of the parties involved. It would be unwise to make assumptions about their intent - for after all they may believe their motivation was good, even if others do not see it that way. What I am saying is that whatever the motivation, this does not seem to be a situation which has been handled well - and a lot of people have been deeply distressed, disadvantaged and concerned by what has occurred.

The true situation, the motives, the aims, and the consequences of the decision all do, however, need some airing.

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Re: Psychic News, SNU Spiritualist National Union and Liquidator

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