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KC members’ steps towards democracy

IN the hallowed halls of the Royal Aeronautical Society in London's Mayfair last week 211 Kennel Club members, about 28%of the total membership, eventually accepted their own committee's proposal to open up the membership to associates of five years standing or more.

With immediate effect they can put themselves forward to be considered for full club membership and as long as they can find a seconder they could be considered for full membership at the next General Committee meeting. The maximum number of members is 1500 and there is currently 779 including Honorary Members and Honorary Life Members.

'The consideration process of meeting members of the committee on meeting days will not change' as one Kennel Club grandee stressed to those present at the meeting, 'but this is a way of broadening the base on which Kennel Club membership is perceived by the outside world and those in government and positions of influence,' he concluded.

Whether the club will be inundated with applications remains to be seen but as one member of 16 years standing said his wife had been an associate member for 35 years and had applied for full membership twice and had been twice turned down. What would change?

‘Nothing’, if the response to the question was to be accepted - the due process of consideration of membership to a private members' club would be pursued by the general committee and a decision reached.

The small change had been 18 months in the making from a casual approach to members in November 2001 to a firm proposal in May 2002 part of which was accepted with a ceiling of 1500 members agreed but the mechanism to achieve this lost when members rejected the second half of the proposal because it was felt that three years as an associate was not enough to show a commitment to the sport.