Back in 2005 the Labour Party published a document attacking 100 (alleged) spending commitments the Liberal Democrats had made, including one which accurately quoted Vince Cable from his website:
Twickenham has one of the best bee keeping centres in the country. Many local people support it. Benefits from bees’ natural pollination activities are enormous, worth billions of pounds. There is however negligible research into damaging diseases and I have pressed the ministry of agriculture for a bigger research commitment.
Oh, how Labour laughed back then at the absurdity of the idea that money should be spent on hard working bees rather than on hard working families.
But now? Since Vince Cable led the way in the political field in taking the plight of our bees seriously the issue has gained increasing attention and support from across the political spectrum. The latest is a report from the cross-party Public Accounts Committee (via I Spy Strangers):
A committee of MPs has accused the government of being indifferent to the health of honeybees, despite the fact they pollinate crops worth £200m a year to the British economy.
The Public Accounts Committee published its report into measures the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is taking to prevent, identify and control notifiable diseases affecting livestock and honeybees.
Edward Leigh MP, Chairman of the Committee of Public Accounts, said:
“Honeybees are dying and colonies are being lost at an alarming rate.
“This is very worrying and not just because the pollination of crops by honeybees is worth an estimated £200 million each year to the British economy.
“So it is difficult to understand why Defra has taken so little interest in the problem up to now.
“Additional money for research into honeybee health has been announced but the focus will include all pollinating insects.
“We need to know from the department what proportion of the funding is to be ring-fenced specifically for research into the causes of the decline in honeybee numbers.”
There are rather more high profile issues on which the course of events has proven Vince right, but congratulations on adding another one to the list.