The Council of the LMS has three main purposes:
On the second point, my view is that what we the members chiefly value in the LMS are (a) the publications: newsletters, journals, book series, and (b) the small grant schemes, which provide incredible value for money. This is the core business of the LMS, which must be safeguarded at all costs. This is particularly important in a time of recession (which, despite newspaper headlines, will be with us for years to come): when cuts are needed, they must fall much more heavily on peripheral activities and non-essential administration.
Of course, other activities of the LMS are also important, particularly representing mathematics to government and the general public. Here it is vital that the LMS promulgates an informed opinion, which should be as far as possible consonant with the views of members, and not necessarily with the views of other organisations. For example, it should not have been possible for the LMS to sign up to the joint LMS-IMA press statement on the proposed Use of Mathematics A-level. It is no use `speaking with one voice' if that voice is giving out the wrong message.
The third point is legally the most important, as, under charity law, Trustees (which includes Council members) can be held individually liable for actions of the Society. Recent events suggest that governance of the Society is under strain, and some effort needs to be put in to strengthen the connections between the various parts of the Society. There seems to be a tendency for the Executive to become out of touch with the views of ordinary members, which needs to be addressed.