Thirsk and Malton constituency

Anne Mcintosh MP  Photo: Horticulture Week, via Wikimedia Commons
Anne Mcintosh MP Photo: Horticulture Week, via Wikimedia Commons

This blog has mentioned before the deselection of the feisty Conservative MP, and chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, Anne Macintosh. Now I don’t agree with Ms MacIntosh about everything, and obviously I have no knowledge of the ins and outs, ups and downs, of her relationship with her constituency party, but I always found her an active and dedicated MP. She and I differ quite a lot politically, but share a passion for environmental issues.

One of Ms Macintosh’s interests was flooding – because some of her constituents have suffered from this disaster over the years. The evidence is growing that the management of uplands for intensive grouse shooting may (not proven yet) increase the flashiness of upland rivers with consequences for all who live downstream.

You can see why Ms Macintosh might be interested in grouse moor management although I don’t know whether or not she is or was. I would have thought that she was given the amount of grouse moor in her Thirsk and Malton constituency in the North York Moors.

It was certainly the case that at least one grouse moor owner, George Winn-Darley (I wonder whether Henry may visit him?), was an important voice in getting Ms Macintosh deselected.

The replacement Conservative candidate, Kevin Hollinrake, seems absolutely the type of chap that the grouse moor managers of Thirsk and Malton would like.

In a rather thoughtless statement, Mr Hollinrake said, of grouse shooting, ‘It benefits many rural people, from food suppliers to hoteliers and clothing manufactures to dry stone wallers. When calls are made to ban or licence (sic) driven grouse shooting, thought is seldom given to the harmful consequences to rural economies and conservation.’.

Well a tiny proportion of your electorate will be very happy with that. What will you say about floods?

Watch this space for the possibility that Ms Macintosh gets a seat in the House of Lords, and potentially comes back as a Defra Lords minister if the country makes a bad choice in 10 days’ time.


13 Replies to “Thirsk and Malton constituency”

  1. Winn Darley is her constituency chair and a prime mover in her deselection, allegedly something to do with supporting tenant farmers against estate landlords. GWD is an estate owner who shoots grouse and before inheriting used to be one of the in house agents for the “notorious” Swinton estate in the Yorkshire Dales.

  2. Regarding the ‘flashiness’ of upland rivers, I seem to remember reading a paper some years ago on this very problem. Living adjacent to the River Swale in the Northern Pennines (The name comes from the Old English or Old Norse for rushing) which is purportedly the fastest rising river in England and surrounded by grouse moors, I am too well aware of the problems of ‘flashiness’. The paper in question concluded that one of the main problems is sheep, compacting the surface layer. Couple this with humous depletion due to agri-chemicals and you end up with land that has run-off qualities akin to concrete.
    The moors which years ago some bright sparks thought needed draining by ‘gripping’ ( digging big drainage ditches) are no longer as big a culprit as the grips have either been filled in or have naturally collapsed. I await more study on current management to see whether grouse shooting is also responsible.

    The paper I refer to and of which I have a hazy memory, was I think published by a Scotish University (Aberdeen?) but I’m not too sure. Anyone provide me with more details please?

    1. “humous depletion due to agri-chemicals ”

      Do you have any reference source for that? I like humus

        1. Yes no really – it wasn’t the typo. At least you didn’t mention phosphorous! I am interested in humus, SOM, SOC, DOC & Co. as the glue that slows the transition of mountains to under-sea sediment. All competent information sources welcome.

  3. I think you should consider standing for parliament somewhere, Mark, either as an independent ‘ nature conservation’ candidate or for one of the other parties, presumably labour. If you got in then as SOS for Defra ( or whatever dept replaces it) you could make a real step change in how we interact with nature. And if you didn’t get in then at least you would raise political debate on green issues – much as the Green Party have done.

    1. A ‘conservation’ party because sadly the mainstream have collectively failed, some more spectacularly than others.

      When will we get “none of the above” option on ballot papers? Then again that would send a resounding message to the Westminster village that they are a redundant option – what in their place, review, reform & real democracy?

      To get in as an MP how about there having to be a 50% turn out in a constituency and then the candidate to get 50% of cast votes? We’d save a lot of parliamentary funding because on current form many are in by skin of teeth, certainly not any real mandate? Too radical? Discuss the case for reform of Westminster village and its 650 + 850 incumbents (can someone explain why we need more parliamentary privilege peers than actual MPs)?

  4. ‘Scotish’- new word meaning un-observant typist trying to refer to things pertaining to Scotland.

  5. Sometimes the people who write papers are in fact often trying to prove something that is nearly impossible,ref sheep compacting seriously poor moorland to influence water run off.
    Fact is this grazing is so poor that the level of stocking would mean that to cover that poor moorland with their feet and compact the ground the sheep would have to gallop round the moor twenty four seven.
    They seem to think that it is a proven science and yet on land close to moors in Peak District stocked at probably four times at least as heavy with sheep the land never gets run-off,it simply drains through because of course the grass roots are acting as good drains.
    Of course in some areas the worst run-off is created by thousands of humans walking and killing off the vegetation causing massive erosion and run-off.

    1. “thousands of humans walking”

      aka the vibrant tourist economy. But they don’t like walking on muddy sheep tracks, so they walk on the grass, turning it into a muddy track, which they don’t like walking on, so they walk on the grass, turning … . But no matter, look, there’s plenty of money from the vibrant tourist economy to pay for helicopters to deliver new stone to repair the paths, which can get slippery, so they walk on the grass, turning …

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