Retired hurt?
Stanley Howe [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
I was looking forward to seeing a titanic battle between (Sir) Ian Botham and the RSPB on Newsnight tonight. Given that Beefy is an all-rounder, would the RSPB field its Director, Scotland, Stuart Housden, to block the balls in Boycott-fashion or would Martin Harper be sent out to fire down a few bouncers at a padded-up Beefy?

Apparently Beefy can’t be found – #wheresBeefy?

This page Ian
This page Ian


It might be that Beefy is curled up with his copy of Sibley given that there is a Carolina Wren on the website where he has the nerve to suggest that the RSPB is a bit picky about which species of bird it features on its website. Hit own wicket?



Maybe Beefy didn’t have the balls to turn up, or the bat, or the knowledge?  Retired hurt?



Perhaps he should look for his balls in the long grass – he has a history with grass.




I asked the RSPB whether Sir Ian was a member and they said that they weren’t sure but I reckon he had been called that a few times today.


But seriously, I remember years ago (obviously) going to watch ‘Both’ play for my home county of Somerset just down the road from here at Wellingborough School against Northants, and he was amazing.  It was a great afternoon watching him and Viv Richards take Northants apart.

Being good, no, great, at cricket is not necessarily an adequate preparation for being able to argue the rights and wrongs of nature conservation. Sir Ian, I salute your amazing sporting past, you were a brave and inspiring sportsman, but you were wise to hide in the pavilion rather than face the opposition on such a sticky wicket.

By Northmetpit (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
Sir Ian? Sir Ian? Are you in there? By Northmetpit (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

13 Replies to “Retired hurt?”

  1. Ian Botham certainly does have the balls. He tweeted a picture of ’em a few weeks ago. You don’t forget images like that in a hurry.

  2. Hi Mark
    Did you know the issue was discussed on You and Yours on Friday? Listen here
    1. The man from “You Forgot the Birds” seems to think only urban dwellers are members of RSPB, which of course isn’t true.
    2. I think it is clear to members through both their annual financial statement and the member’s magazine that the RSPB campaign on wildlife issues.

  3. I do like websites like this one as they allow both sides to be aired with readers commenting, whether in agreement or disagreement. Whilst I would prefer comments to be made without hiding behind pseudonyms, discussion leads to a greater knowledge of the arguments.

    To find a website where no one can comment or point out factual or technical errors is both annoying and contrary to the British attitude to fair play; the sort of fair play for which awards are given. To add spin to such website entries does not allow anyone to respond with a straight bat.

    I would love to respond to Mr. Botham and his colleagues but am denied that opportunity. Had I been allowed to do so, I would have requested that the field be cleared of all the rubbish at silly mid wicket and then I could find myself in agreement with the facts behind Saturday’s rather googled delivery.

    What is Mr. Botham saying in his Saturday presentation. As I see it he is explaining that the RSPB has

    1) A deer management strategy when needed and
    2) A predator control strategy when needed.

    He is perfectly right and this is fully explained by the RSPB in publicly available documents although they do rightly add the words ‘as a last resort’.

    Most conservation organisations would agree that ‘deer populations require careful management to maintain health and quality and ensure a sustainable balance with their environment’ (British Deer Society – another shooting organisation). I would hazhard an educated guess that most deer removed by the RSPB and others are Sika ‘regarded as a pest in areas of conflict since the damage that they cause is serious and the rate of hybridisation with red deer alarming’ (BDS again).

    The suggestion is there to leave the RSPB and transfer to the Wildlife Trusts instead. I am convinced they adopt the same control strategies as a last resort.

    There are organisations that would not support such control measures and I am sure that LACS and Animal Aid would love to find themselves on the same side as moorland owners or would that be an own goal (sorry, wrong analogy).

  4. What a tragedy it is that a man admired as much as Sir Ian allows himself to be manipulated by so-called friends and allows his name to endorse ghost-written nonsense on the blog with no right of reply!

    It is a shame that he was not at the RSPB AGM in Birmingham today to hear how the RSPB uses its money to support conservation objectives throughout the world, from strategies to protect coastal flooding in the UK to getting agreement from the Government of South Korea to protect Albatrosses from death by modifying long-line fishing techniques. Money freely and enthusiastically given by millions to help preserve our environment and protect our future.

  5. Here we go again. Just when you think you had run out of cricketing analogies the bowler comes in and throws something at you without you actually being shown the ball. Apparently (according to the Sunday game) a large number of RSPB supporters are in favour of the Govt proposals for increasing hen harrier numbers. As the Govt agrees there is no current Govt proposal (See epetition) and no ordinary RSPB Supporter would be aware of this, then either they have been fed a lie during the research or the supporters have been given tickets to the wrong game. I will be glad when rain stops play here.

    As they appear to rely on TNS stats then perhaps it is time for TNS to provide full details of the surveys and how they were carried out.

    1. Looks like Botham’s been dropped or perhaps caught out in the deep (he’s certainly dug himself into a big hole)! No sign of him on the Sunday submission on the blog with no right of reply. Perhaps he’s just left the field for a comfort break or a quick massage (of his ego). I think that Bob Philpott has bowled a Yorker above, well done.

  6. An ideal opportunity for RSPB to debate a few serious issues with a high profile shoot owner.
    I suspect the BBC would be very receptive if one of the RSPB’s directors invited Sir Ian to engage in a public, head to head debate, on air, on a number of issues, some selected by Sir Ian and some by RSPB.
    This would help to bring the real issue of illegal raptor persecution to the public’s attention.
    I suspect Sir Ian might decline such an invitation but the RSPB should invite him anyway.

  7. I suspect he’s having trouble hitting the target with that very unstraight bat. Bob has hit the nail on the head in that DEFRA says that as yet there is no plan agreed or otherwise. What we have is the views of the shooting lobby which they wish to see as the plan but it seems that neither RSPB nor more importantly DEFRA agree. Not surprising when we see it contains apparently acceptable density 1 pair of harriers per 314 sq km with brood management at a density any higher FROM DAY1. Yet the MA’s own figures show that we could and should have at least 2 pairs per 5000 acres or roughly 1.2 prs per 10 sq km without any measurable damage. Nor should anybody really interested in Hen Harriers accept brood management at all until we have a successfully reproducing unpersecuted viable population.
    The sheer hypocrisy of Botham et al in accusing RSPB, or any of the rest of us on the conservation side of holding up a plan to increase harriers when it is persecution by grouse shooting during and outside the breeding season that is the acknowledged problem is breath taking.
    We should all, whilst encouraging DEFRA to come to a proper solution support them in resisting being railroaded into this non-joint non- plan by the very people that are representative of the problem.

    1. Paul – thank you.

      By the way – that’s your 301st comment on this blog (I must have overlooked your 300th!). Thank you for them.

  8. “An opinion poll by TNS showed 33% of RSPB donors were opposed to it shooting foxes”. ‘deters the RSPB from properly protecting threatened birds from predators like crows and foxes’

    That was yesterday. Today we then get: [hen harriers need] ‘2. protection from foxes’ and “Hen harrier numbers then plunge because not only is there no habitat but there are no gamekeepers to protect their nests from foxes and crows”.

    Their campaign is so full of holes there is hardly any point debating their views, as they seem confused and massively contradictory.

  9. Well it looks as though the last ball has been bowled at least, I presume, until the next match. I can’t say who won because only one side was allowed on the field.

    The last few balls are appalling. All that is there on the Monday entry is a weak delivery that you wouldn’t want to sit next to a birdy person at the dinner table and I must say my family would probably agree. They do realise we have an extra man and so had a go at Chris Packham.

    But I notice that they have capitulated on one main issue.

    ‘True bird lovers should have a zero tolerance approach to all wildlife crime’. YES.

    They did say it so we do in places have common agreement. Now let all of us put that comment into practice and in the field not just in the nets.

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