Nature of Harming ‘award’ – who’s the April fool?

The result of the Nature of Harming ‘award’ is as follows:

1st The coalition government 626 votes

2nd The NFU 225 votes

3rd Gamekeepers who break the law 193 votes

Thank you to everyone who voted and even more thanks to all who commented on the poll.  The victor wasn’t really in doubt from Day 1, but it must be nice for politicians to get an overall majority in something (but George Galloway seems to know how to do it).

I am sure that you 1044 wise voters got it right.  However bad it is to break wildlife law, and it is bad, this affects a small number of species.  And however anti-environmental the ‘leaders’ of the farming community are, and I believe that they are, and however dire the state of farmland wildlife, and it is dire indeed, the NFU is at heart a union which we can’t necessarily expect to be anything other than selfish about the narrow economic interests of its members.  But the government, the government is to a large extent responsible for public environmental goods and its record is closer to the ungreenest government ever than the greenest.

However, just as the owners of shooting estates get the gamekeepers that they choose (and therefore should carry some of the can if they stray from the straight and narrow) and just as farmers get the NFU that they elect (and therefore can’t really say ‘it wasn’t us’ when senior NFU folk spout nonsense) nor can we all regard ourselves as separate from the government of the day – we voted them in.

So my challenge to us all – me included – is what will we do (at least the 60% of us [me too!] who voted for the coalition government in the Nature of Harming ‘award’) before the next general election to try to get a greener more wildlife-friendly government in place next time around? Don’t act like you are a victim – you are a player.

And I have several ideas for future polls so watch this space or make a suggestion.



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  1. Jonathan Wallace

    No real surprise about the winner and I too voted for them in your poll, but what a bitter disappointment after their promises at the outset of their term in office.
    Bill Clinton's aphorism "it's the economy, stupid" is firmly fixed in most politicians' minds as the only issue voters care about so we really have to take every opportunity to let our MPs know that we care very much about the degradation of the environment and will vote accordingly.

  2. John Miles

    No surprise the game keepers did not win as like the e petition no one really cares about the fate of Birds of prey in this country. Instead they rush off to Malta where the 'Raptor camp' is over subscribed this year.

    • David Beattie

      Not true that "No-one really cares about birds of prey" We do , but the fact the Condems won shows that we care about everything else as well. Badgers being culled, birds of prey being persecuted, forests being privatised and stopping the creation of another Heathrow runway

  3. Redwood

    Any significance in announcing the result on April Fool's Day ?

    • Mark

      Redwood - they're all fools?

  4. Dennis Ames

    Very good Mark,really liked the way you said that we are all responsible,some of course to a greater or lesser degree but would any government voted in have been any better and think the gamekeepers more or less have to do what they are told,think that whoever voted as NFU president is always going to be a political type of person and farmers cannot just put in a wildlife friendly person who is no good on other things.
    Summing up it would be nice if the three in the poll tried a lot harder and as voters both for government policy and NFU we are absolutely helpless.
    Personally I understand your going on about the NFU but lets emphasise that lots of farmers are getting more wildlife friendly whatever the NFU says and if the schemes get changed to pay more for important practices we will see better results for our money.

  5. Gwil Wren

    And if the economy cannot get you out of the mess what is Plan B?
    Ask the Greeks..............

    • Mark

      Gwil Wren - welcome and thank you for your comment.

  6. Peter Cairns

    It's very easy to point the finger of blame and for what it's worth - notwithstanding the tongue being firmly in the cheek - I think it's counter-productive. Social history tells us that changing people's behaviour is very very difficult and we cannot reasonably expect one body - governmental or otherwise - to do so.
    Behaviour is founded on values and values are informed by what influences people are exposed to. Rather than expend energy on blaming this person or that, we should more effectively - and more imaginatively - galvanise our shared goals and work to fuel a shift in societal values. The conservation community, as much as anyone, is lacking in that department. Mind you, it's damned good at finger-pointing.

  7. Pete Jennings

    If the UK wildlife charities, CCW,NE,SNH all combined had been an option I wonder how many votes would have gone that way?



  1. Going cuckoo - or gone cuckoo? - Mark AveryMark Avery

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