I did break the habit of a lifetime and bought The ST yesterday because I had been told it was full of jokes – and it was!
As I flicked through it I couldn’t help but notice that there were about ( I stress ‘about’ – my eyes did begin to glaze over) 150 blokes in it, 170 guns, 50 or so dogs and about 20 women. Gals are about as numerous as deer, dead birds and a little commoner than rabbits in the lives of shooting men, it seems. What a wonderful world to inhabit – don’t you think?
Although I believe that the rag is supposed to be about the great fun of shooting, since there aren’t any gals around, one could be forgiven for thinking that the main game species is the RSPB. The RSPB appears on the first five pages of the magazine, sometimes in big letters. Obviously, the RSPB is praised to the hilt throughout – read it yourself and see.
The tone is strident and the arguments are unconvincing. It looks like the competition between shooting mags has caused a race to the bottom, and the ST is scraping it hard. What would ‘BB’ have said about it?
There is nothing as strident, and nothing as adversarial to all other moderate influences in the countryside. I bet Philip Merricks is livid about ST.
Clearly either no-one has thought what impression this approach would have on the normal man (or dog) in the street, and they certainly won’t have considered the normal woman on the street, or the ST really doesn’t care what impression it makes.
What is the ornithological equivalent of the ST? I’m not sure there is one.
I wonder what the man, dog and woman count is in Birdwatch, Birdwatching etc?
The ST discusses the RSPB’s call for licensing of grouse moors and quotes the NGO, BASC and GWCT as not being terribly keen on it. Well, they would say that wouldn’t they?
I think that the call for licensing is simply too little, too feeble and too late. The RSPB looks rather off the pace now to advance this as their new solution when they did precious little to support John Armitage’s e-petition on this very subject which only closed at the end of February. This time last year would have been the time for the RSPB to throw their weight behind this measure and harness public support for it. By the way, that’s what I did through this blog even though I think that licensing is a partial and probably ineffective solution to the wide range of problems now associated with grouse moors – it’s not just about Hen Harriers is it?
But if the RSPB had supported the e-petition on this subject then we would all have bitten our lips and said nothing. But things have moved on.
You have to realise that the shooting community would be quite happy for licensing to come in – it relies on monitoring and a system of penalties and the policing will be difficult and the penalties can be argued over for years. Years of dialogue could be spent on defining the grounds for withdrawing a licence for damaging peat too much, reducing water quality too much etc etc.
That doesn’t sound to scary to the grouse shooters. So the pages of outrage in ST are there to make licensing seems extreme (when it is actually weak and ineffective in this instance) and to make the RSPB feel that it has been really tough.
The grouse shooters are worried about the possibility, only vague and only distant, of a total ban on their activities because increasingly realisation is dawning on a range of people that the way to deal with the systematic ills of driven grouse shooting is to ban it. And they hate the idea of people expressing their abhorrence of the criminal killing of Hen Harriers on Hen Harrier Day. This might involve grannies, girls and grown women – what a thought!
Apparently the RSPB is too influenced by ‘bloggers’ – whatever they may be. I must meet some of these people and have a word with them – they sound interesting.
The thing that these bloggers might ask for is a ban to driven grouse shooting as the simplest, quickest, most effective and least bureaucratic solution to the many ills of intensive grouse moor management. I wonder whether the RSPB has noticed? Maybe this will be RSPB policy a few months after this e-petition closes.
6400 signatures as we enter Week 6 – that’s over 1000 signatures a week on average. Wouldn’t it be great to get to 10,000 in the next five weeks – by 12 August. That’s about 100 new signatures a day for the next 39 or so days – sounds quite tough to me. I wonder whether that is possible? Let’s give it a go.