Simon Barnes – ‘#WhoseSideAreYouOn Prince William?

Simon Barnes writes so well, and I tend to agree with him too.

IMG_2578In today’s Independent on Sunday he makes the point, made here and elsewhere in the past, that it’s very nice to see Prince William arguing against illegal killing of wildlife abroad but why the silence here at home? How about coming out against grouse shooting, based as it is, on illegal killing of birds of prey (because even those who don’t kill raptors themselves benefit from the actions of those who do).

Or at least come out against illegal killing of protected wildlife by gamekeepers (and by anyone else, of course) in the hills of Britain.

William comes from a shooting family.  Barnes says that William has been a participant in grouse shooting and, of course, his grandfather is a keen shot, and his father participated too, and his little brother had a close encounter with some Hen Harriers at Sandringham too (no, we don’t know who shot two Hen Harriers that evening at Sandringham but we know that Harry was out with a gun at the time – that’s all I mean).

Barnes suggests that William should give up shooting ‘game’ completely. That seems a bit extreme to me. But I think that we could all make it easier for him to give up grouse shooting, and for others to do so too, by signing this e-petition to ban driven grouse shooting.





12 Replies to “Simon Barnes – ‘#WhoseSideAreYouOn Prince William?”

  1. I wrote to his dear mother just before she sadly died. Who of course, was against her sons shooting. My timing could not have been worst. That was when those trying to protect Hen Harriers were just a few individuals against the rest of the world or that is how it seemed. We also went to parliament to sit in a room with the RSPB and others to show what was going on. But failed to persuade them there was a problem. [I wonder why!!] How things have changed now it is big business and many of those involved in the early days have been forgotten. Will 2015 be the year things change!!

  2. I strongly suspect that although William is heir to the throne, he is still a pawn in the game. I suspect that he may well wish to come out against things his family have done for decades but the pressures from above may be too great. Whilst applauding him for the role he does play in conservation I would strongly urge him to find the strength of his amazing mother and stand alone against them.

    1. Hunters immerse young children in their ‘sport’ to ensure that it continues, as shown in Countryside Alliance literature and fox hunting. Once children see cruelty as natural, it becomes a normal pursuit.

      I see it as child abuse.

  3. Funny how the Royal family seems to think that conservation is something to be done abroad, not at home… Anyway, I still rather hope that Prince William will turn out to be cut from a different cloth than the other royals. He’s already indicated a desire to destroy Buckingham Palace’s ivory collection ( so maybe in time he will be the first royal to turn his back on blood sports.

    1. It’s not just the Royal Family. When did we see Attenborough talking about the crisis in UK wildlife? Most people in this country have little awareness of what’s happening in their own backyard. Provided the countryside is still full of chocolate box villages, and an impoverished landscape can still look ostensibly attractive, which it can, then they are happy to ignore what has happened in plain sight; that the Swallows and Martins of their childhood have disappeared; along with the Grey Partridge and often the Skylark. That the countryside is nowadays a very quiet place.

      1. “When did we see Attenborough talking about the crisis in UK wildlife?”

        At the launch of the State of Nature Report for example. He actively supports various UK wildlife charities although he is well into his eighties. I don’t think he needs to apologise to anyone for not having done his bit to protect wildlife either in this country or abroad.

        1. Yeah, point taken. I didn’t put that well. It’s not Attenborough I mean to highlight but the way the mainstream media and in particular BBC approaches wildlife. That is, either through spectacular Life on Earth or Serengeti watch type stuff which make it appear all the problems are abroad or through Happy Clappy stuff like Springwatch, that may be great for getting people enthusiastic about birds, but by and large don’t put across the context of the scale of wildlife decline or what has driven it.

  4. As always, find myself agreeing with SB. I suspect Prince William has a rod of steel running through him, he appears to be a very compassionate and caring person but I think anyone who sees this as a lack of character or weakness has misjudged him. And yes, it would be amazingly good news if he were to find a way of supporting British wildlife too – perhaps he should take a leaf out of his fathers book and set a Prince William Trust for British wildlife conservation.
    In the meantime I was a little heartened to read on the BBC website article on funding for the wildcat project that Scottish gamekeepers are already seeking to diversify “Alex Hogg, the Scottish Gamekeepers’ Association chairman, said: “We have already done work in terms of wildcat identification with our members and, due to their practical knowledge, gamekeepers can be very useful in wildcat conservation in terms of trapping, field skills and the sighting of cameras, all of which will be useful in the ongoing effort.”

  5. The countryside is impoverished because “we” have voted for parties whose policies have resulted in that impoverishment and we live a lifestyle that demands over-consumption.

    Perhaps we should stop blaming others for relatively minor matters and look at ourselves and how we live our lives instead?

    1. I don’t really understand why you appear to see these as mutually exclusive activities.

      Secondly, I don’t agree that loss of biodiversity is a relatively minor matter. It occurs in a variety of different ways and requires various different approaches to try and halt it including speaking out against the wanton destruction of wild animals when and where it occurs.

      1. They aren’t mutually exclusive JW, but getting a bit ranty against people who shoot birds to the exclusion of looking at the bigger issues (and if you look at this blog it pretty much IS to the exclusion of other issues) then the bigger picture of habitat loss, degradation and population declines will continue. Even if there were a healthy Hen Harrier population, the ecological health of the countryside would be very little different.

        Throw in the obsession this blog has with the failed major political parties, whose outlook is one of propping up free market capitalism (with the inevitable results), and it just gets predictable, tired, lame and utterly uninspiring. Same old, same old. The times they aren’t a-changing.

        1. Steve – well you aren’t forced to come here and read this same old, same old so it’s your choice.

Comments are closed.