A tangled bank






If you subscribe to the excellent British Wildlife then you may have seen my article praising the wildlife NGOs for the State of Nature report which came out in June.

I didn’t get the impression at the Bird Fair last week that any follow up is planned.  Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems a shame to me.  The State of Nature report identifies the problem – let’s now hear the solution.

And this is the time to do it.  Unless the wildlife NGOs make a fuss, rather than a hedgehog house, they will be missing the boat politically.  Kicking the current government (or lavishing praise on it if it is doing a marvellous ‘ greenest government ever’ job) is needed to make the environment and nature anything of an issue for the next government.

If the Opposition don’t see vigorous and searching commentary on how the current government is doing then they won’t be too worried about it when it’s their turn.  And unless a government feels political pain when it is doing a bad job then there is nothing to encourage it to do better.

And producing another report could involve a different range of environmental NGOs such as the National Trust, FoE, WWF-UK and others.

What is the joint NGO solution to the problem they have so collaboratively identified?  I think we should be told.


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40 Replies to “A tangled bank”

  1. Quite agree .... So often the case that issues are easily highlighted but with little initiative or momentum to provide solutions.

  2. I thought one of my environmental heroes, Jonathon Porritt, had let me down when he responded to my enquiry as to whether Forum for the Future would consider acting as the hub for all NGOs to work together co-operatively within the Forum framework thus:

    “Dear Phil

    Thanks for your email.

    I can confirm that we are indeed not working with any of those organisations – not because we’re being stand-offish, but just because there isn’t really a rationale for combining forces on any of the different programmes that we’re involved in.

    Collaboration can indeed be very helpful in these matters, but not always! Any collaboration has to be able to demonstrate that the outcome of organisations coming together is going to be greater than the sum of their individual parts!

    Best wishes

    I owe him an apology, it’s hard work for an ordinary person like me to fight through tiny snippets of communication in order to get to the bottom of these matters, but I now see clearly what he meant following “melodious’s” extraction of the reasons why the RSPB won’t support John Squire Armitage’s ePetition at the bottom of this page: http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=263813

    I also now, less clearly, understand why Mark (Avery) came under fire from an ex colleague at his BirdFair 2012 pitch over alleged mismanagement of the rspb response to a Breckland development("under his (Mark's) watch" he loudely bellowed). My guess is Mark left the rspb because he was fed up with the game and wanted to make a real “stand for nature” and the guy from Hope Farm had been dispatched to shoot him down (with lead shot) in the style of Dominic Lawson attacking the Balcombe (fracking) protestors in last weeks Sunday Times.

    James Lovelock thinks we’re collectively too stupid to save ourselves. I’m now convinced he’s spot on despite Porritt asserting we can’t possibly believe in that position.

    The vast majority of the general public does not give a monkeys about environmental matters and I had been urging the RSPB to reach out to them in the absence of any interest being shown by a majority of the so called million voices for nature. I’d suggest the board collectively watch “Consumed. Inside the Belly of the Beast” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bOKl04TWVsU where they’ll see that consumerist man expects things to be dished up on a plate, but I now know I’m wasting my time. The one million voices are not interested because the rspb does not apparently believe they have the mental capacity to decide for themselves whether or not to act on matters of some considerable (symbolic) importance.

    Good luck to you Mark, keep up the good work. You/we have to first tackle the foremost conservation body in the UK before real progress can be made it seems. As you said previously - Yuk !!!

    1. This was why I resigned my membership from the rspb. There are many good officers in the rspb but decisions are made by a "committee" who seemed to be removed from "field experience" and out of touch with the membership.

    1. Bob - let's hope it is, but nobody could tell me of any plans for the future. It's not too late to do something together, but a bit of speed is needed.

  3. I suppose those of us with any interest in wildlife were hardly surprised by The State of Nature report but that doesn't really explain the lack of anger or even coverage of the issue at Bird Fair let alone any suggestions as to how we tackle the problem.

    I guess we are all wringing our hands waiting for someone to step forward with a big idea.

  4. Some combined action is needed now, or very soon, but what is the best way forward? We/they shouldn't wait for Sate of Nature II. With a combined membership of ? 3M ? we should have more influence than we seem to... Perhaps the CEOs are working on it, or perhaps they are working on their own advertising too much?

  5. I have to say that I have met with a different repsonse to Mark when I have asked about what happens next. I am assured by many that they are working on a report now to outaine what solutions are necessary to redress the dreadful declines we are all aware of.

    I had suggested a National Conference for all to put across ther views so nothing is missed but I was persuaded that work is well on. At this time I have to believe this is true but if we wait much longer even more will have been lost.

    I find myself in an awkward position because I wake up every day an optimist (you have to be as a Norwich City supporter) and hope we can trust these NGO's to get on with the job.

    Maybe I am in for a nasty shock.

  6. If the State of the Nation could be considered a baseline....then one helpful move would be simply record change....as it happens. We know when we see a local hedgerow ripped up, but where can we record this? When blanket bog is lost to a windfarm who records how much has been destroyed? At one time there was a proposal for a national database to record these changes...BARS?? But this was altered so that it only recorded positive change(useful but certainly not complete). Its a typical government approach, if you are not recording bad things, then they are not happening.
    Surely it would be a simple thing for LINK or someone similar to set up and maintain?

    1. Good point Circus Maximus. The accumulation of small unkindnesses to the landscape can ultimately be as damaging as Big Engineering.

  7. Thanks for the prod Mark. Various NGOs are indeed planning a follow up, which will involve a range of actions. Butterfly Conservation and many others are committed to build on the State of Nature so watch this space. Any ideas of how to make a big difference would be very welcome.
    The problems we face are the same as ever, lack of understanding of how the survival of the human race relies on nature, political ignorance and short-termism, focus on growth and the economy. So not easy nuts to crack. The reality is that many smaller NGOs also have some very immediate problems of our own survival with falling income, so making space for big picture stuff is a dilemma. However, we will do our best.

  8. Some well made points, and as usual they seems to be from conservationists rather than the 'professional' ones who as inferred above do too much talking rather than delivering tangible benefits particularly when it comes to challenging government.

    Understandably perhaps they are concerned about their pensions, and why conserve when you can build biodiversity with project officers undertaking corporate PR with developers greenwash funds or S106 finance? Bite the hands that scatters the crumbs from the table, mmmh now that would be a novel idea? I'm sure they're well meaning and I'm sure there are some good practical examples somewhere. I suspect that the majority of the collective membership feel good through their subscription and don't have time to look too closely at governance, strategies and policies and how many Boards are selected rather than actually elected?

    Circus Maximus hits the nail on the head, we don't record negative therefore it does not happen! Intervention has to be cheaper than re-introduction post extinction, but nice distraction PR I suppose? Peter Rafferty is also right with his 'death by a thousand cuts' comment and that's where the planners and statutory agencies and authorities fail to take account of cumulative impact, a sceptic might suspect they're gagged?

    The rest of us, blog readers and individual lobbysists and campaigners should gather en mass to brain storm the solution, Derek Moore has more than once voiced the conference suggestion. Left to the collective NGOs notably the 'big boys', who I seem to recall were planning to meet again in three years to talk about it again (maybe market it as the 'Hen Harrier wake'), nothing is likely of changing anytime soon. Living Landscapes are dying and conectivity corridors are haemorraging biodiversity, is anyone capable of waking us (man) up because tomorrow is too late and The State of Nature will be as safe as a zero hours contract?

    So, Iolo and Mark .... there's the challenge, call us to arms?

    1. Why do you need someone to call you to arms, many (e)petitions are out there waiting to be signed? Start your own, open it up to the world and not just the UK via organisations like Change.org etc. Write to your MP, keep writing and even write to the opposition,tweet the heck out of the buggers until you get a suitable response, start a group locally showing your current and any future MP for your area what your concerns are and demonstrate the numbers in the area that are concerned lets face it so few are local to the area these days they probably ain't got a clue what's what, after all they need a bloody big poke, what's your labour MP said Mark about conservation issues in your area (have you asked him or any other politcian to guest blog?) sure all hard work and perhaps all "pie in the sky" suggestions but why wait for orders something is better then nothing , I agree with some of your comment but we do record the bad, how many times do you hear in media and other reporst "we've lost an area the size of" etc...just nowhere to report it ourselves as others have pointed out

  9. In the 'old days' of principled conservation projects like "Open Access on National Nature Reserves" as promoted by Natural England would have been open to public consultation, compliant with the Habitats Directive and funding would have been secured in perpetuity for monitoring Likely Significant Effect upon special interest features of SSSIs and Natura 2000 sites.

    If not, then the NGO 'big boys' would have challenged the proposal. Why the silence now? Please, put your collaborative muscle behind this and challenge the science at least. Why, 87 National NATURE Reserves are at risk, Natural England are judge and jury on the 'plan or project' so there is no possible 'conflict of interest' because Chinese Walls are in place, mmmh?

    Please consider supporting Stop & Rethink (a democratic aspiration) and signing http://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/stop-rethink-national-nature-reserves-as-open-access

    See also http://thmcf.wordpress.com/2013/08/14/help-please-sign-our-on-line-petition-stop-rethink/

  10. I do subscribe to British Wildlife. Your piece was good.

    The only place in this particular blog post where I disagree with you Mark is where you say:
    "The State of nature report identifies the problem" (let's now hear the solution).
    Your turn of phrase implies that many of these issues weren't identified before.
    I don't think the report surprised many in the environmental sector?
    I may be wrong.

    As far as I can see, the report confirmed the problem which was as much of a problem when you were employed by the RSPB.

    Too much conversation.
    Not enough conservation.

    1. Doug - some truth in that, I think. But if there are not many new facts then you have to repackage them to get them noticed. I think the State of Nature report was a good start and I'm glad to hear (Martin Warren's comment here) that a follow up is being planned.

  11. Quite DMD, you re-iterated more eloquently the point I made earlier.

    Good start mmmh, how many times have we been here before and yes it's good to hear of follow up ('range of actions') but in Iolo's wonderful impassioned plea - there needs to be actual action and resounding challenge. Yes, it's good that BC appear to be listening. But for any of the larger NGOs to ask us 'watch this space' - I've been doing that for too long and still species continue to be lost at an alarming rate, dare I offer the poor Hen Harrier as the next in our lifetime?

    A repackage, all glossy PR - not for me but I quite take your point about the 'education' needed to make all this materially relevant to the vast majority of the public.

    In the words of Edmund Burke, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing". Where are the good men who can persuade mankind that "Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little". Where there's a will there's a way?

  12. It seems to me that the contents of the State of Nature did not come as a surprise to the wildlife NGOs (surely not to anyone?) but the fact that the report was published must have been a surprise. I have in front of me July-August "BTO News" (no mentions), Summer 2013 "Birds" (two lines), Summer 2013 "Natural World" (nothing), Summer 2013 "Butterfly" (nothing), Summer 2013 "Plantlife" (half page + comment). OK - so print deadlines are well in advance - but surely these magazines should be leading on this, not giving details in advance but ensuring that the maximum number of people were expecting the report and preparing for action. So Martin Warren is planning a follow up! Great. The time for planning this was last year so that the impact of the findings of the State of Nature report were maximised. The opportunity has been lost already. With everything else going on in the world your moment in the limelight may be brief. Yawn! What report? A wasted opportunity - business back to usual. Now where did I put that plan for a hedgehog box?

  13. I love your blogs and pieces in British Wildlife but it is easy to be cynical. I'm with Derek - ever the optimist (Leicester fans have to be even more optimistic than Norwich fans).

    But.....are we really not working together (speaking as CEO of Yorkshire Wildlife Trust)? Are we really too relaxed about the ecological catastrophe unfolding around us? Do we really have no response to 'State of Nature'? Not from where I'm sitting. I'm as angry (i.e. spitting mad, fuming) about the loss of wildlife as I ever was (actually probably more so; ignorance is bliss), and at YWT we're pushing as hard as we ever have to make some difference. We work with anyone - RSPB, National Trust, Local Authorities, Developers (if it makes sense), Moorland Association (ditto) whenever and wherever it adds up to more.

    Would we like to be listened to more? Would we like our rants to get press attention more? Well of course. Is it always the best to take the moral high ground? It is certainly easier but partnership requires working on the common ground between organisations and that means pulling your horns in a little sometimes. Making stuff happen on the ground is not simply about publicly fuming; its about practical action on the ground. I could slam moorland owners about Hen Harriers and too much burning or we could work with them to restore a quarter of all damaged blanket bog in Yorkshire. What's better?

    1. Rob, you reflect my hero Porritt's position. Could I respectfully suggest we don't need more paralysis by analysis. There is tons of the stuff out there already, totally invisible to the ordinary bloke in the street. We need action now, the softly softly strategies of the past have self evidently failed and time is running out.

      All you clever people (heads of NGO’s, Green politicians, professional conservationists, environmental commentators, scientists etc) are constantly telling us plebeians interested enough to dig for it, that we face oblivion if we don't act now to get onto a sustainable track in good time to avoid the environmental positive feedback loops that will spell the end of us. Yet when someone like John Armitage does something practical there is no backup, support, encouragement call it want you will.

      I stir it up constantly and feel like I'm wading through glue. I found the exchange between melodious and Blánaid Denman published here http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=263813 devastating because it not only showed the rspb are only going to “throw the kitchen sink” at issues of monumental symbolic importance so long as it does not offend the establishment but also because it confirmed what many of us had already suspected! I could publish the email exchange with the rspb over the lack of help I received when I asked for legal advice regarding Turtle Dove persecution in Morocco aided and abetted by a UK estate agency and shooting company that I was trying to “reason” with.

      Do you clever guys not understand how that knocks back us ordinary guys in our effects to make a difference when we take your prompting to do so literally?

      Following that exchange, Paul Morling, RSPB Head of Economics, Sustainable Development Department did respond after I stopped my fellowship in disgust, providing useful pointers to the efforts of the TEEB (The Economics of Ecosystems and Bio-Diversity) and NEF (New Economics Forum) along the way. I was grateful to Paul but that’s what I'm talking about, yet more useful analyses that the wider world is just not going to be interested in unless you clever guys get out there and serve it up in digestible form on a plate for the general public to consume!!

      Otherwise Dominic Lawson will continue to write back to my letters, the latest published in today’s Sunday Times, with the one liner: "Thank you for taking the time to write" - a very polite alternative to two words to do with sex and travel! I'm similarly very grateful to the ST letters editor for intercepting, but Lawson and his father, who thinks we should just adapt to an increasingly hostile environment, will continue to get away with it so long as ePetitions continue to reflect an apparent public ignorance or apathy.

  14. Douglas, its a question of scale. John Armitage’s ePetition provides a clear illustration of the problem. At 6231 signatures thats 0.6231% of the so called 1 million voices for nature and 0.0095% of the UK population.

    Unless the RSPB changes its stance on this petition we can’t even mobilise the potentially significant force that Mud Lark rightly states are sat back feeling good about their subscription. Maybe an Avaaz or Change.Org campaign targeting the rspb will help?

    My big idea was to use Porritt’s 5 capitals framework, as described in “Capitalism as if the World” matters, as the mechanism where all concerned about achieving “dynamic equilibrium” between human, societal, natural, manufactured and financial (I’d also add spirital) capital, could come together to present a single powerful force.

    Porritt has his reservations as described above but would that be a suitable rallying point?

    1. You're right Phil the lack of people signing the e-petitions actually gets me down, in fact it irritates the hell out of me and is one of the points Mudlark makes that I was nodding my head to as is the RSPB's lack of interest in them, seriously how hard would it be for the RSPB to help promote, remember when Labour was in power and the RSPB launched a petition to toughen the laws on raptor persecution they even handed it into no.10.
      I've said it before but if you're a politician and you see an e-petition and it has so few numbers on it what would your impression be? Well I know from one politician his response on a previous e-petition was (and I paraphrase a bit as I didn't write it down) "the persecution of birds can't be as bad as some say after all you're the only person I met who has raised the issue with me, I've looked at the e-petition and the numbers, given the number of birdwatchers either they don't care or don't believe there is a problem"...says it all to me and shame on all those who don't bother to sign e-petitions

      1. Douglas, this thread is running out of steam but here goes with another blast of personal views based on the opinions of the clever people!

        The encouraging thing is more and more of the general public are seeing through government/political spin and the underlying thought processes which are, as you suggest, highly calculated and short term.

        They'll see through it because they are starting to hurt, really hurt. The next election will hopefully prove that point with the help of Porritt's report on the Greenest Government Ever claim: http://www.jonathonporritt.com/blog/greenest-government-ever-one-year#comments.

        But then again a critical mass of UK voters may be taken in by the chancellor's claim "the economy is healing" after two quarters of miniscule growth. My projections (based on ONS stats) show end 2013 national debt @ £1.28 trillion, deficit (annual overall borrowing) £118 billion (although further cuts (to key services?) will allegedly reduce this to £90 billion), debt interest £54 billion and the overall rate of growth in National Debt still rising exponentially at 0.9% growth rate. Any wonder the UK was recently downgraded by the credit agencies?

        The economic and ecological futures are linked and can change when ordinary people are allowed to get their heads around it. It's not the chancellor's fault the UK finances are in such dire straights, or Obama in the US or Merkel in the EU. The globalised money led market economic system is bust. Western governments prop it up through horrendous borrowing but the time is fast approaching when that can't be sustained - ask Donald Trump http://www.moneynews.com/Outbrain/Trump-Aftershock-American-Economy/2012/11/06/id/462985?PROMO_CODE=10999-1

        Western, consumerist man can maintain his/her lifestyle by treating the bio-sphere as an open system, there to be plundered indefinitely, until of course, it cannot be plundered any more. The time is fast approaching when mother nature will say enough! and it won't be pretty for any number of reasons.

        The RSPB has an admiral history of slowing the rate of decline in the world of nature but cleary it does not have all the answers. The State of Nature proves it! Change happens when masses of people act together, history proves that!!

        The rspb could help but is clearly very political on the Hen Harrier/Gamekeeping issue - an issue of monumental symbolic importance if only Blánaid could see it - which of course he can but spins against it for some reason unknown.

        As an organisation they don't have to sign John Armitage's ePetition but they could highlight it to their one million voices, all hopefully prepared to make a stand for nature if only they were aware.

        The ePetition is now up a whole 311 points since I signed and I put that down to the Mark Avery (ex RSPB) and Chris Packham (RSPB Vice President) effect. Interesting to note that Mark and Chris have 10k and 70k Twitter followers respectively. 311 points out of 80k potential signers - what does that tell us?

        It tells us that individuals cannot precipitate change in a timely manner, we have to work together IMHO!!!!

        1. Phil, I think the reason why e-petitions have failed to gain the support (look at the badger cull e-petition, in fact look at most of them..very low numbers) is the whole system itself. Even though I have signed many on various topics I was always sceptical, to me it was always designed to give the impression of politics working for the people, you have to remember when it was setup, by whom and the political mood at the time...it wasn't long after the start of the Iraq war after almost a million people marched on London saying NO to the war. Some might say the after the epetition was setup numbers at various protests dropped.
          Their is no guarantee that if an epetition reaches the numbers required will it get a chance to be debated in the HofC, look at one of the most popular epetitions "legalise canabis" that reached over 150,000 do you ever remember a debate in the HofC? No because there wasn't one so the e-petition system failed, all it does is give the impression of democracy working at the same time preventing real petitions, real questions demanding an answer. Could you imagine if we took John's petition to nature reserves, birdfair etc, I reckon more people would've sign it (perhaps some are just too lazy to click a mouse!) then formed a march to hand the petition in? I'm not sure the result would be any different but the media coverage might have brought the topic onto the news bulletins rather the buried under the normal drivel.

          1. Douglas, did you watch George McGavin on Swarms last night? As if by divine intervention he talked about the "wisdom of the crowd" being better than leadership by a handful of individuals!!

            Were the RSPB board watching I wonder?

            The bit about ants knowing more about traffic flows than humans cracked me up, but then all creatures know more about survival than us!! Homo Sapiens - don't make me laugh!!!

  15. Rob - It must be hard working in Yorkshire while supporting such a club! You even have stolen our King!!! May be a change in jobs is needed giving your job to some one from the county!!

  16. Maybe the problem (or one problem) is that there are too many talkers and not enough walkers? It may be politically prudent to be seen to comment about wildlife, habitats and OUR ENVIRONMENT from time to time but what are these people doing to improve the situation? There are many people who have campaigned for better protection for many years. I have been doing so for more than 30 years, but because we are not famous we are usually ignored. It was interesting to read the comment by Rob Stoneman, "its about practical action on the ground." Could this be the same Rob Stoneman who promotes expensive wildlife projects that do not deliver? Douglas raises some good points about campaigning but we are not all new-comers to this area. Many people have been campaigning for decades for better wildlife and habitat protection. The sorry state we as a nation are in is that it is left to the public to raise awareness that our country is in a poor condition. Why do those who consider themselves "our leaders" politically or otherwise, not take the lead? It seems to me that our Environment and everything it contains is being used to further some peoples own aspirations. Where/what is our environment? Some people think it is somewhere in the sky. The present Government seem to be intent on removing any legislation and/or funding that was installed to look after our environment. Is this the action of a civilised society. Would we vote for apathy?

    1. Must be a different Rob Stoneman. If you google 'Rob Stoneman' - a drug dealer comes up. Maybe its him. YWT would never bother with 'expensive projects that don't deliver'. We generally go for really cheap projects that really do make a difference. We're a Wildlife Trust. Bugger all money but loads of passion.

  17. Diapensia/Douglas, you have both hit the nail on the head.

    We need a plan, a cunning plan in fact. A plan so cunning you could put a tail on it and call it a Weasel (Edmund Blackadder).

    Perhaps a brainstorm in cyberspace?

    Problem: How to overcome apathy and/or the system.

    Solutions: Please all pitch in, esp. the clever people. No idea to frivolous or apparently lunatic. Often these are developed by the clever people into something that really works.

    My starter for ten. The Green Party put in an appearance on our TV screens and start spelling out the story Caroline Lucas and Michael Woodin told in "Green Alternatives to Globalisation - A Manifesto"

    Also, and you'll all laugh it this, the RSPB advertise John Squire Armitage's ePetition aimed at protecting Hen Harriers. After all they've just sent me an email stating our farmers need me! please vote asap. 'Avin a laugh (Ricky Gervais)

    1. I've just posted this on Martin Harper's blog. They're as fed up with me there as you guys must be here and I expect not to be published!!

      Martin, you haven't published my last comment distinguishing between the Vicarious Liability initiative and John Squire Armitage's ePetition to licence game keepers.

      The RSPB has also not, as far as I can tell, publicised Mr Armitage's petition on your blog as your colleague Blánaid Denman the RSPB's Skydancer project Engagement Officer states you (the rspb) would in an email exchange with a commentator known as melodious:

      "While e-petitions can be a good way to raise awareness, they very rarely achieve their objective on their own merit. In the first year of the e-petition site being launched, only 10 out of 36,000 petitions reached the 100,000 mark (see here). Experience has shown that printing a link in a high-circulation magazine is unlikely to translate into a similar volume of hits on a website. The RSPB’s own Bird of Prey Campaign generated around 350,000 signatures but only through hard on the ground lobbying and collecting written signatures on specially printed pamphlets at reserves and events over a period of about two years and with significant monetary investment.

      What the e-petition does achieve, regardless of whether or not it’s successful, is a physical representation of public opinion and in that context, even 5,000, 10,000, or 20,000 signatures is still hugely positive. We will gladly draw people’s attention to the petition through appropriate tweets and blogs but I hope you now understand why we won’t be advertising it in Birds."

      Why not? And given the take up of blogs why not simply email your membership many of whom will have email addresses to raise awareness. You (the rspb) seem to saying one thing and doing another!!

      John Armitage calls for people like melodious and myself to "bore people rigid on the subject" and I've taken him literally with much "vacuous comment" on the Mark Avery blog. I won't be giving up any time soon, the Hen Harrier is the new Avocet, IMHO!!

        1. What's it all about Mark? I've no carpets left in my house!!

          Seems us plebs can't help you clever guys. Should I go play golf instead??

          1. Oh shit, the rSpB and I seem to agree on something just a quick look out the window to make sure the sky isn't falling, but I do have to bring into dispute their petition that brought 350,000 signature to the HofC more precisely "the hard work", I'm sure staff did work hard to organise it all but the campaign seemed to work on a couple fronts 1)mail campaign..I got a letter 2)email campaign...got email 3)A brief mention in the magazine they issue and a couple of the nature magazines too oh and one other larger contributory factor (i beilieve) if you signed you got a small book about Birds if Prey, I have to wonder how much that book enticed people to sign I actually know six (I won't name and shame) individuals who did sign to get the book....is that the way forward "you sign this and we'll give you back something tangible", to prove a point do you get something for voting in the farmer of the year poll....yep albeit a "chance" of something.

  18. Douglas, 350k votes blimey! Here's another cunning plan and I believe it to be a good one!

    John Squire Armitage is ex RSPB Mark Avery is ex rspb, Chris Packham is RsPb (nicking Douglas's style) Vice President. Are they all good buddies? Who knows, but rather than me suggest it ('cos I'm only a faithful servant to the cause, easily dismissed) maybe John and Mark could approach Chris and ask him to include a piece about Hen Harrier persection on "Autumn Watch" with multiple (nightly) plugs for the ePetition. Chris has after all already endorsed it on Twitter and he is another hero of mine (greasy little slimeball that I am)!!

    Whats not to like, gets the rSpB off the hook, advertises a very worthy petition to millions of avid viewers and all in good time before the petition closes in February 2014. The stats will do the rest!

    Medal please Mr Dastardly!!

    1. Oh, and if that be done please at least explain why and I'll go back to the golf course and dream up other cunning plans.

      In Hope, Many Thanks

    2. Hi Phil. A rather late response due to being involved in other commitments since I got back to Islay. Mark and I are in regular contact and Chris Packham has generated support for the petition quite independently. The Hawk and Owl Trust ( again with CP being central to their operation ) supported the petition too.

      Whilst an "Autumnwatch" announcement would be tremendous I suspect the Beeb would need to be supportive of the idea too.

      And finally (!), I'm beginning to wish I hadn't been christened "Squire". No jokes please!



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