I’m just back from a meeting of the Dorset BKA’s Council. We always have one this time of year principally to discuss the propositions for the BBKA Annual Delegates’ Meeting, which is to be held next weekend and, if thought desirable, to mandate our Delegate to vote in a certain way. This is rarely done as the view of the delegate may change as a result of the debate; otherwise there’s be no point in having the meeting and it could all be done by email!
I was delegate for many years but have now been superseded by our Secretary, Liz Rescorla and this will be her first ADM.
Before we got to the BBKA business we had brief reports from our officers: we have 390 members, £6,000 in the bank with no big payouts due and our Convention made a surplus of £394!
Liz and a few others had recently been to the SW Counties Joint Consultative Committee where the ADM agenda had been discussed by knowledgeable and influential beekeepers from all over the south west, so we got feedback from that to help us.
Proposition 1 was for an increase in capitation (subs) of £1. This was thought inevitable but, understandably wasn’t accepted with enthusiasm.
2. Whistle blowing policy: ok
3. Detailed marking for the Basic exam? No. It’s like a driving test: pass or fail.
4, 5, 6 and 7 are all about neonicotinoids upon which there is widespread dissatisfaction with the lack of positive (or negative?) action by the BBKA. I pointed out that there was very little factual knowledge about neonics as we are swamped with opinion and pressure groups. Ian Homer, a BBKA Trustee sat next to me agreed on this point. Our meeting came to no decision so it will be left to Liz to cast our vote when she’s heard what everybody has to say (if she stays awake).
8. Compulsory registration of beekeepers or of BKA members? On one hand this would be more convenient to Bee Inspectors tracking down sources of disease; on the other there would be costs involved, especially when it comes to enforcement, and what about all the feral colonies? Within 5 miles of this keyboard I am aware of a lot more feral colonies than I am of other beekeepers’ apiaries. If I were still delegate, I would vote against this as Big Brother is too big already!
9. Exam board? Non starter.
10. Sugar waste ban? Unenforceable.
11 and 12. Cost of BBKA News? £4.25 for 12 issues a year in members’ letter boxes. No great saving would be made by changing it to an e-version as the bulk postage deal is good and there would be a loss in advertising revenue as advertisers aren’t so keen on email compared to paper.
13. Constitution: votes for ‘country members’? No. They aren’t beekeepers and it would provide a back door via which pressure groups could, inexpensively, infiltrate the BBKA to get their views across.
14. Honoraria? Dealt with. There will simply be fees in future.
15. Records of Executive Council meetings. Besides the usual Minutes there will also be a recording of the event. This is often done in any case to assist the secretary and always happens at the ADM.
16. SHB. Not much we can do about it. American Air Force bases are US sovereign territory (news to us!) and they might provide additional entry points as well as ports, plants and imported bees. Our Bee Inspector intends to spend the summer at the seaside looking out for SHB.
17. Centrallised membership register/database. Security? Would we be swamped by adverts etc? Ivor Davies who, with Jan, his wife, created and ran our membership list for some years apparently is happy and he is sensible.
18. Oldham BKA. They can join the BBKA as a separate branch.
19. Northumberland want regional Trustees. This wouldn’t get past the Charity Commission.
I asked about the candidates to be Trustees as the e-paperwork gave details of 4 people but didn’t say how many vacancies there are: 4. Ian commented that there are as many vacancies on the Education Committee but only 1 candidate.
Our AGM is to be on 1st March. Our Treasurer, Richard Norman, is stepping down after only a year, being fed up with hassle about cheque signatories and getting an ‘independent’ auditor. Nobody volunteered to take his place so that might be an awkward problem at the AGM.
We’re not going to change our subs this year.
The main speaker at this year’s Convention is to be Jennifer Berry of the University of Georgia. She’s good fun. I have drunk with her in the early hours at Gormanston. The bad news is the date: 18th October, as my son, Charlie, is getting married the previous day next to romantic Loch Lomond which is an inconvenient distance from home and I may not get back in time.
Lastly, our President, Mervyn Bown is stepping down, which is a pity as he had done an excellent job being, not only a good beekeeper but also great with microscope and camera. We need a successor and Richard Norman suggested me!