Many thanks to you all for your feedback. Below is an update on the meeting itself (scroll to the bottom for the outcome)
Shortly after sending you my original note, I received the actual agenda, which showed 4 separate proposals for time changes, which I paraphrase here:
(a) From Francis Rayner (Hastings): default is 50 moves in 100 minutes for Div 1, same for other divs if time available, if not, then similar to the current time control
(b) From Lewes: default is all moves in 80 minutes + 10 secs for all divs
(c) From Brighton: Default for Div 1 as present, other divs 80/10
(d) From Eastbourne: Default for all divs, all moves in 65 minutes with 30 secs from move 1.
The meeting was fairly well attended. From Hastings we had myself, PK, MW as 3 team captains, along with Howard Tebbs (late replacement from Marc who was unwell), and Francis who attended to speak for his own motion.
The item opened with the chair (surprisingly in my view) having an opening vote to essentially do away with adjudication, and move towards an incremental time control as the default time. This was passed overwhelmingly with very little debate, meaning option (a) and (c) fell immediately.
There followed a lengthy discussion, at which I concluded whilst the majority of people present wanted to move away from adjudication and go to 80/10, little thought had been given to the bigger picture. In particular, what happens if (as happens at some venues) play needs to stop at a given time because the venue closes. The only solution (other than the preposterous suggestions “captains getting together and decide” and “the players will work it out”) was to ensure the rules included a provision for adjudication.
Moreover, the feedback I received and read elsewhere from stronger, experienced div 1 players indicated a severe dislike of 80/10 because it would affect the quality of the game. It was quite possible that many strong players would refuse to play under such a time control, risking the credibility and unity of the league.
At the meeting itself, it was clear to me that 80/10 was being pushed by “weaker” players at the disregard of stronger players, so we ensured the proposal from Eastbourne (formally lodged by Adrian Pickersgill, but presented by Oliver Froom, both what I consider to be strong div 1 players) was given a proper airing. When it came to the vote, 80/10 achieved 12 votes, whilst 65/30 achieved 14 votes (including all Hastings votes).
. There was no competition for places at the actual election, A number of matters arising from last year’s AGM (eg lack of a child safeguarding policy) had not been addressed in the intervening 12 months.
OUTCOME: next season, the MSL will trial a default time control for all divisions of all the moves in 65 minutes with an increment of 30 seconds from the beginning. Players will therefore need to write down all the moves for the entire game. Players can agree at the start to a stop at 60 moves (the equivalent to a maximum 3 hours 10 minutes). Other optional time controls will be available by agreement of the 2 players (80/10, 42 in 90, quick play finish).