A week is a long time in politics. Last year when I launched the parliamentary BASC bird box initiative to highlight our commitment to conservation, it would have been impossible to predict the political turmoil that we were about to endure: Brexit chaos, a general election, and the ever-looming threat of further changes to the general licences.
The initiative aimed to strengthen political engagement with MPs and formed part of BASC’s political approach.
With this initiative, we hoped to connect with politicians who wouldn’t necessarily have an existing affiliation with BASC, or who may not already have a basic understanding of the vital work we and our members do.
I met several MPs in their constituencies (both rural and urban), highlighting the great work BASC’s 155,000 members undertake in every corner of the UK. The message was clear – no matter the constituency, there is always a need to support conservation.
This mission has taken me nationwide – from a castle in Hastings to meet former Home Secretary Amber Rudd, to a golf club in West Bromwich with the former Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, Tom Watson. One thing we didn’t anticipate when undertaking this initiative was how many parliamentarians would now be ‘former’.
The campaign was an immediate success. It allowed the political affairs team to travel all over the country meeting cabinet members and leaders of different political parties, to espouse the work the organisation is doing and to champion sustainable shooting and conservation.
BASC is committed to continual cross-party engagement, and the parliamentary BASC bird box initiative is just one of the many ways the political affairs team engage with politicians every week.
Parliamentarians involved in the initiative include both current and shadow Secretaries of State and Ministers, as well as a range of backbench MPs.
Some of the politicians who have backed the initiative include:
The BASC bird box initiative is another step in our parliamentary engagement. With owl boxes and bee hotels in production and a new offering to get MPs visiting shoots and trade members in their constituencies, the political team have a busy couple of months ahead.