Lost leaders

The people have made their choice and we all have to live with it.  The environment faces a tough time over the next five years and that means that those who care about it, not enough of us, need to raise our voices and do even more to fight for nature.

I went to bed, tired and worried, about 11pm last night and didn’t wake until 6am. The exit poll proved pretty accurate and the general election resulted in a romp home for David Cameron and Nicola Sturgeon, and a defeat for Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage (and a disappointment for Natalie Bennett too). It must be tough being a party leader – I always feel for the losers.

One loser, was my own former MP, Andy Sawford, who lost his seat, only gained in a by-election when Louise Mensch resigned, here in Corby. I feel gutted for Andy personally and a bit glum for myself too. Yesterday, after voting, I was delivering cards around the streets where I live to try to mobilise the Labour vote. Yesterday it was a sunny day, this morning it is a bit gloomy here. I hope that Andy feels proud of what he has done as an excellent constituency MP over the last three years.

The prospect for the environment under a Conservative government, with a small majority, is not great. Badger culls, neonicotinoids, raptor ‘management’ and biodiversity offsets are all on the cards. Little progress on marine protected areas, an uncertain future for forestry in England and the promotion of the economy over the ecology all seem likely too.

We face a referendum on the EU and further schisms in the UK. Climate change will continue to slip down the agenda. Will there be a vote on a return of fox-hunting? How big will be the next round of cuts for the environment?

Who will be chosen as the new Secretary of State at Defra? Surely not Liz Truss? There is no need to fit a few LibDems into the government so we will see a mixture of whole-nation Tories and UKIP-tending Tories in office. Who will go where? That’s not under our control but Cameron hasn’t demonstrated any empathy with rural issues so far, except through the eyes of the shooting community.

It feels like a tough time ahead.  But then, it wouldn’t be easy under any government.

Wildlife NGOs need to examine their own performance over the past five years. Have they played a good game? I don’t think so. Have they played an important game? No.

Large memberships have not been mobilised to any appreciable extent and the messages have been too soft.  The RSPB, Wildlife Trusts and others need to take a long look at whether they are trying to influence the future and how they go about it.

In the absence of environmental interest from politicians, and the absence of leadership from NGOs, then what can we ordinary folk do?  We can use our voices – they are even more needed than ever.  I’ll be writing to my new MP to ask him to take an interest in environmental issues and I’ll post my letter to him here next week. I’ll certainly be thinking of starting another e-petition on grouse shooting in a little while – we must turn up the heat.

I probably sound a bit glum, and a bit down.  I am! I can’t help but feel that the election result is a set-back for the environment, but we will see.  Even now I can feel that despondency beginning to slip away and my mind turning to what we can all do to give wildlife a better future in England, the UK and globally.

If you thought the path to a better future was smooth then you were wrong (and I don’t know where you got that idea). But the journey is worth making. What we need is an army of people heading in the same direction.

I think I need to go out for a walk to recharge my batteries. There’s a lot more work to do over the next few weeks, months and years.  This blog will continue to stand up for nature, to criticise those who are doing less than they should, and to give its readers practical suggestions for how they can make a difference through their own actions. Don’t lose heart!  In the end, we will win!

 

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49 Comments

  1. John Matthews says:

    With no need to stuff a load of lib dems in cabinet I would not be surprised to see some posts like the sec for Defra to be abolished.

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    • Mark says:

      John - that is a possibility. As cuts come, Departments get smaller and mergers are more likely.

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    • That is one of my predictions - the internal changes have already been made to Defra it is like a pea, whole on the outside, but split up the middle inside - despite predicitions being broken, here are more of mine for what will happen to wildlife over the next 5 years https://www.buglife.org.uk/blog/matt-shardlow-ceo/post-election-thoughts-and-predictions

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  2. Jenny Jones says:

    Excellent, but sobering summary of the future challenges for us. I too feel despondent this morning. Our task feels all the harder now. However, for the sake of future generations we have to continue to fight. To fight for conservation of our soil resources, our ecosystems, our organisms and our land. Climate change challenges all of these for the future. We must push for a sound presence at the Paris meeting in December that represents the views of many of us and needs for the future. Each of us must now be even more active: write to your MP, your councillors, the media etc. The message must get out there that, despite this apparent vote of confidence in the Tories, many people in the UK care desperately about the state of the UK environment and we MUST make our views known. Let today be the day when the environment is seen to move high up the political agenda.

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  3. Phil Espin says:

    Just back in from my own walk having picked up my first two Spotted Flycatchers of the year. Chin up Mark, the British public will always support activists on wildlife and environmental issues, if they are mobilised by effective leadership. There is plenty to fight for and I'm sure you will continue to take a leading part. Most of us are RSPB members, how can we mobilise to put more backbone into the RSPB leadership on issues we care about?

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  4. Benjamin Bittern says:

    I'm depressed too, not just about the environment; but about the future of our public services, the NHS & the fact that we seem to be sleepwalking out of the EU, and the devastating effect that will impact on our environmental laws, and human rights amongst others.
    I agree our big NGOs need to do more, and hope they realise this themselves. If they don't, then we as members need to stand up and be counted, and push them in the direction they should be going in to protect our wildlife.

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  5. rob yorke says:

    Mark. I trust you mean nature will win (its ability to live within our over-consumption https://www.scribd.com/doc/122302759/If-you-love-wildlife-stop-eating-all-its-food-Camilla-Cavendish-in-The-Times) - not extremist polarised views?

    There is hope, but as long as we look to the common ground.
    I will continue to do so.
    Yours aye

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  6. Lyn E says:

    Please restart the 'Ban driven grouse shooting' petition ASAP. I feel the need for a fight after this dreadful election result.

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  7. Dennis Ames says:

    Cheer up Mark do not think I can remember you being so gloomy,yes things not looking good for wildlife and associated things but not sure things would have been very different if other results had happened whatever they were.
    One clever bod a day or two ago said something along the lines of the difference between the two main party's was Tories believe in earning money from such as productivity before you can spend it whereas Labour think you can spend ,spend and spend because money grows on trees.
    As much as we would all like to ignore the fact that we are all ruled by money these days it is a simple fact that we are and the worst thing for all aspects of our country including wildlife would be if the country got into financial difficulties which to be fair this Government have set about tackling over the last 5 years.
    Look forward to you being your usual self after the shock wears off.

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  8. Hilary says:

    Without LibDems surely DC and co working with very slim practical majority? Trust this will make life harder for them.
    Same number of decent people in the country today as yesterday, probably still caring about much the same things.
    Agree NGOs need shaking awake and then some joined up thinking. Perhaps this will be the time. I hope they also pay much more attention to the rising generation of conservationists and naturalists who have been neglected for far too long.

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    • MK says:

      Slim majority could actually make the Tory backbenches more disciplined. And with labour so far behind in seats, almost no lib dems and very few others I can't see anyone mobilizing a majority to defeat the govt. even with the SNP.

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  9. Alistair gammell says:

    I think the real issue confronting all of us interested in nature is the fact that the environment generally and nature conservation specifically was just a non-event in the election. Did any of the party leaders ever mention it? Did journalists ever ask them about it? No, presumably because they regard it as unimportant. How to change that needs to be thought and acted upon.

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    • Marian Hussenbux says:

      Re Alistair's comment - I think the party leaders and the media respond to what the general public appears to want - I remember someone on this blog (I think) making the point before that the environment/conservation did not feature among the concerns of many.

      How many questions were put to party leaders on this subject at their hustings and in TV discussions?
      I attended one of Ed Miliband's hustings and all the questions but mine were about the NHS, the economy, jobs, bedroom tax.

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    • Steve says:

      Yes they did.

      Vote Green

      Wake up.

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  10. Les Wallace says:

    Yes grim, but if there is one gleam of light it's as you say Mark that the conservation/environmental organisations finally start being louder and harder in pushing their message. They have been far too soft for far too long, almost apologetic about caring for wildlife. Hope you start another epetition on grouse shooting soon..plus up in Scotland we need to start our own for the Scottish Parliament.

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  11. Chris Green says:

    With Boris back in the commons does anyone know if his crazy island airport will be back on the agenda?

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    • Steve J says:

      Boris will ensure his airport is back on the agenda. Cameron will step down after the EU vote, letting Boris take over. I reckon with Boris leading, the Conservatives will be hard to defeat - he's just the sort of loveable lunatic the British electorate longs for. A huge future battle over his airport seems inevitable.

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  12. Dennis Ames says:

    Here we go,here we go the conservationists do not get the fact that something like 95% of population not as interested in that as in lots of other things.
    That is why it got hardly a mention from the politicians in the run up to the election.
    When this simple fact is grasped it will not seem so bad.
    Today I took the log shed door off as somehow a Robin had started a nest in there and at this time of year for some reason at least one pair of Blackbirds start coming on the doorstep more or less asking us to feed them Sultanas for a while,they did not give a stuff about EM resigning.Thank goodness he is not PM,first little thing that goes wrong in five years and he resigns,no grit.

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    • Paul V Irving says:

      I'm sorry Dennis that you are probably right about the general public and conservation. I've spent a great deal of time saying recently to colleagues if you care about conservation and particularly birds of prey don't vote Tory. The idea that we will be governed for another 5 years by Diamond Dave and the City Spivs is truly depressing for a whole host of reasons--- NHS, education, HS2, Trident and benefit cuts for those already at rock bottom as well as conservation reasons. The only saving grace, the Lib Dems got what they deserved for getting into bed with the Tories and Farage is kept out.
      I found it quite odd last Monday driving home from Wales to see UKIP posters in farmland, rather like turkeys voting for Christmas, do these numbwits not realise a vote for UKIP was a vote to end EU subsidies!

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  13. Ernest Moss says:

    I'm thoroughly depressed by it all, not so much because of the how it will impact upon nature conservation as I don't think the other parties realistically offered much more in that regard.
    I just feel so desperately sorry for those unfortunate souls whose lives will really suffer from the imminent wave of ideologically driven cuts to social welfare and education. It's just so depressing that nearly 50% of the country voted for two parties whose philosophy is based on the premise that in order to get on in life you have to tread on others.
    And once again we seemed to have another election where the Tories managed to successfully frame all of the main issues around their own values, how the hell do they do it?!....I could go on but I need a glass or three of red and a bloody good sleep.

    Tomorrow I intend to re-join the Lib Dem's and I'll donate all election spread-betting winnings (I sold the Lib Dems) to a local food bank - both now need my help more then ever!

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  14. rebecca Robinson says:

    I think members of Environmental charities, who do pay to join, expect the leaders of those charities to stand up for the environment as strongly as possible.

    The Charities should mobilise their members to vote with the environment in mind but I would interested to know what response they get to the petitions they are increasingly using to influence decisions and does their charitable status prevent political campaigning as I have heard some say?

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    • Mud-Lark says:

      I suspect they would present a case that they do and they must remain neutral etc. Cross party membership interest ought to help and it enables them to use their charitable status to seek funds by claiming non-partisan, all inclusive, public friendly etc.

      Sadly too from my observations, too many are almost quasi quangoes or project managers for the state. Throw a few crumbs (eg NIAs) and they roll over grateful for funding.

      Harsh yes, reality sadly yes. Criticism of NIA outcomes, not particularly except where they have provided additional agri-welfare payments to the industrialised members of the agricultural sector.

      Change is needed to this two party democracy. Change also to NGO governance and operational accountability.

      Ho hum, changes and chainsaws ahead as Matt suggests. Opportunity knocks if we can but muster new offer?

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  15. Haematopotamus says:

    I've been reading this report by the State of Politics partnership which says that because wildlife has declined so much (apart from those non-native species, of course, coming over here taking our habitats...), there's really no need to include it in any party's policies.

    It's not as though the UK National Ecosystem Assessment is going to be made into a reality TV show is it? Springwatch has lost its bounce and is more of a wildlife Prozac than a means to encourage active involvement. There are lots of lions and elephant and rhinos and pigmy hippos on the telly. And you can even see tigers from Tasmania on YouTube. And a staggering variety of sheep on EweTube. So surely that's progress.

    Things are bound to have changed since that nice Mr Attenborough was in black and white. And you don't hear him complaining about the state of the nation's wildlife do you? You do? Well, not very loudly. And nobody believes that George Monbiot exists. And if they did, then they'd assume that all could be made right by adding a few wolves and beavers, so the environment really can't be in bad situation can it? All we need to do is cry wolf.

    It seems that all the time that the RSPB and the WT's were wolfing, sorry, woffling on about how many voices they had for Nature amongst the political parties/voters they were forgetting that also means that their members are, in the main, ordinary people who watch a bit of Springwatch now and then (But they can handle it, can't they?) and like to do their bit for wildlife by reading magazines, filling in peitions ('Oh thse poor woodlands, harriers, horrid spiders, stick insects and whatever it is this week, (Oh not not bees again! Borr-ing!) - walking in the countryside (safe from wolves, if not woffle), and maybe dying and leaving a legacy for the dormice or those lovely green parakeets. Ordinary peope who really aren't bothered by what they can't see affecting them and theirs, even if they've got the time and spare funds or even the prospect or retiring at 70 and a place to call the banks (in China, Spain, the US).

    And if the members of said organisations and the diverse (but pointless) Heinzness of wildlife NGOs aren't calling on their elected members for more nature-friendly policies (Well Mr Attenborough isn't. And Malta's eV.E.n further away than Poland, And none of those Biodiversity academics are. At least not very loudly, or consistently or in any vaguely united fashion. {What? I've got 3 grant applications and 57 papers to write this week or NERC will take my funding away.} And (you may recall), if those NGO members aren't inclined to act up, then the great majority of the British Public (non-doms and all) aren't likely to. Springwatch audience = how many. RSBWT members = how many? Gaining more members shouldn't be the focus. Or if it is then other organisations need to reach the parts that the old pals aren't

    Will there be a Nature and Wellbeing Act in place by the time of the next General Election? Will our air be cleaner then? Will our ground water be completely fracked? Will there be spread betting on which species will be next to go extinct. Or a reaiity TV show - Extinction - Remember that your vote could raise enough money

    And another question is, why has no one set up an Angry Birders society yet?

    The main problem with a major documentary series on "Where the Wild Things Went (and Why) is that it would be too bloody and depressing. Better to do a Hitler in the Bunker YouTube video "Was? Der SSSIs sind allgemeinlich in favourischen oder "recovering" Kondition?!! Gott in HemelHempstead!!" (Und so weiter)

    Still... to end on a slightly bright note, to reduce the droop of your moustache, Mark.... Caroline Lucas.

    And now watch the next thousand cuts in local government....

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  16. Greenfly says:

    The other day I heard someone on Radio 4 say "no-one ever changed the status quo by arguing moderately against it". My only hope is that now is the time that the wildlife NGOs (and also campaigners for other things such as the NHS) will stop being so damn polite and get stuck in arguing for what matters. I promise to do my best to persuade the ones that I am a member of.

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  17. John Stuart Mill (deceased) says:

    It was a bad night for Liberals. I may need to return from the dead to help them with a resurrection of their own. I'm sure Mrs Mill has a nice bonnet she could spare for Paddy Ashdown to chomp on. And Mr Disraeli is rather cross at the mention of One Nation Toryism. He says he would be a Lib Dem voter nowadays.

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  18. Steve says:

    Labour...

    Well done Mark.

    Another wasted opportunity.

    Next time, vote Green.

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    • Mark says:

      Steve - great analysis http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/politics/constituencies/E14000648

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  19. Dennis Ames says:

    Could be that Corby you kippers helped Tory win that seat.Funny that it was assumed by experts??? that you kippers would hurt Tories yet seems they hurt Labour.

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    • John Stone says:

      Bait and switch Dennis. The Tory Kippers who initiated the movement flocked back to Dave whilst the more recent Labour kippers stayed with it.

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      • Dennis Ames says:

        John,very good,that must mean Tory you kippers are either brighter or happier to use dirty tricks than Labour you kippers.

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  20. bimbling says:

    SNP have been pretty forward thinking up here: vicarious liability, land reform, minimum pricing of alcohol, pressure on deer management, positive view on re-introductions.

    Maybe Nicola should have had more candidates across the UK?

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  21. Mark Gibbens says:

    I think one of the most important things after this election is conservation priorities. There is little time and space for mobilising conservation minded people on less important issues. As mentioned in this blog many, many times sleepwalking out of Europe would be the very worst outcome for the Environment (and in my opinion the economy).

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  22. Centre ground says:

    This idea that you have to be leftist if you're pro conservation is exactly what is wrong with Mark Avery and the conservation movement he's trying to energise, and exactly why it will be ineffective.
    Mark is a party political member and a party activist (he was out trying to mobilise *Labour* votes on thursday), so of course he sees everything through that prism - if it's not Labour, or left of Labour (former 'Old Labour' territory, like Greens), then it must be bad cos they're 'the enemy' of everything he stands for. Well, if you spend your energy turning conservation into a political football and a partisan issue, don't be surprised if you alienate political opponents from the conservation cause, because they are not on your football team. And right now, that means Tories, who just happen to be in charge.
    I don't remember hearing from Mark Avery when it was the Labour Party in power who closed down about half of the environmental/ecological research stations in the country, to save a paltry million quid while they sold off the nation's gold and invaded Iraq. I don't remember Mark complaining when it was unelected billionaire big-businessman Lord Sainsbury who was appointed Science Minister and wielded the axe on international beacons of research such as Institute of Grassland & Environmental Research, ITE Furzebrook and ITE Monks Wood. And where were 38-Degrees activists back then? They only appeared on the bandwagon when they were in political opposition - showing that it's not the cause they're interested in, it's the politics. So it's sad to see Mark Avery sliding down the same muddy political road, and trying to drag conservationists with him.
    No. Conservation is above politics. If you can't be balanced, and a-political, then don't use conservation as a vehicle to further your political ideals. Even if you think this is not what you're doing, it actually is when seen from the perspective of those who don't share your politics. Because they're alienated, when they should be united. If Mark voted Labour in 2010 after what they did to UK environmental research in 2005-2008, then he's a hypocrite for getting all political now about badgers and grouse - the last Labour govts destroyed half of our research base. So it seems to be Mark's politics that are driving this, not his ideals - otherwise where were his campaigns back then? Why didn't he speak up for his ideals when he was heading RSPB, if this was his top priority? No, Mark has his own agendas and blinkers on, just like everyone else he criticises. He's biased, and the Editor of British Widlife doesn't seem to mind, after seeing Mark's astonishingly political rant in the last issue.
    But I mind, because I don't want to see conservation dragged down into petty politics, where we see ministers forced into knee-jerk short-term responses becasue of pressure from lobbyists hijacking causes with their own political agendas of kicking whichever Govt they don't like. That's partly why we've ended up with badger culls, and dredging, because the Tories now think there's no risk of losing votes if all the conservationists are Labour/Green anyway. Why care what they think?
    If you drag conservation into politics, don't complain when politicians of another colour couldn't give a t0ss what you think about it. Conservation and the environment are above politics, they affect everyone. So beware of politically-biased activists like Mark Avery dragging it to the left, or the right. He's basically just like Robin Page, only on the other side of the fence, but he can't even see it because of of his political blinkers.

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  • Claire Barker says:

    How can you not drag conservation into politics when policy dictates what happens to protections, investments, when vested interests coincidentally giving sizable party donations influence decisions on for example the ban Neonicotinoids. New Labour was far from perfect on this. But how is it not 'political' when so many people's counter to anyone making pro conservation plea is that they are a lefty-liberal do-gooder.

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    • Centre ground says:

      Because when people like Mark equate pro-wildlife voting to voting for Labour (he was out canvassing for Labour on the day!) or Green it becomes party political. He even admitted in an earlier blog post that there was very little on offer from 'the big two', and there was essentially no difference - so on what basis was he championing Labour? Hen Harriers, climate, Buzzards, Badgers - where were Labour's committments on these any different from the Tories, if they existed at all? However hard he tries to be balanced, he is a card-carrying Labour Party member, an active member, and that colours his entire perspective.
      I appreciate that Mark is now a professional journalist and commentator, who butters his bread by writing and speaking and being opinionated. And the more extreme the opinion then the more attention it gets - hence the ever more extreme opinions and stunts (petitions, dressing up, demands for bans etc etc). But that's just what Robin Page and Magnus Linklater do, in their similar roles for other readerships. And does that kind of thing win over anyone on here to their point of view? No. So who do you think Mark is convincing? Any gamekeepers? Any Tory-leaning farmers? Of course not. It doesn't work, it makes it worse by polarising, alienating, and entrenching opinion.

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      • Mud-Lark says:

        Dare we ask how you would approach engaging the issue of getting the mainstream and other parties to protect wildlife and conserve important habitats? Perhaps a consultancy project? Who would you suggest funds it and would it be performance related, no tangible outcomes no remmuneration?

        I am not a card carrying member of any political party, yet I am an agnostic and I have lost faith in the vast majority of politicians (expense scandal, war, then poor performance on environmental issues &c. &c.), so pray tell me what 'Centre Ground' has delivered - might we assume that you would like to try brood management, after all it is what these nice people promote by way of compromise after others have clearly broken the law?

        You assert challenge fails, so we should not protest at illegal persecution, lack of science based approach to badger culls &c.? We should know our place and not challenge the established order? If we get a bunch of well paid consultants to gather a hand picked clique around a table all will be well with the state of nature?

        I sense your attack is a generic one on all conservationists, but that you blame Mark for incitement to try to secure a future for the natural environment? If that is the case then you insult a lot of people who read 'Standing up for Nature'?

        Politics ought to be a force for good yet it fails because without a healthy environment for all then we are as a species doomed?

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      • Dennis Ames says:

        Centre Ground,have thought about your comment for a couple of days and while I can see where you are coming from I think you miss lots of good points of Mark's.
        Whatever you think it is inevitable that whatever political leaning we have we will then be biased as in all other things bias follows your own thoughts.
        Yes obviously he picks subjects sometimes for his blog which will make discussion but for sure he is as passionate about wildlife as anyone and his input is sorely needed and on the political point we are surely old enough to still stick with our own beliefs.
        A bit below the belt to question his epetition that took some guts.
        Surely you respect him for printing your comment,doubt other bloggers would be so tolerant.
        Guess I have known him as a blogger for about eight years or so and can assure you he is a very caring tolerant human being.

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        • Centre ground says:

          Dennis - thankyou, but I disagree that it's inevitable. I am not saying for a second that Mark is not tolerant or caring, I'm not even saying that his opinions are necessarily wrong. I am saying that his strategy and tone is counter-productive, as stapling political beliefs to a conservation message alienates anyone who doesn't share your politics even if they do share your conservation agenda. This is what the Countryside Alliance did with foxhunting, and now we see that it is a party political issue - Labour ban it, Tories will bring it back in, the next Labour govt will probably ban it again, because both have grassroots votes tied up in that issue because that's how the activitsts sold it. Mark is doing the same with Hen Harriers and shooting - even if the next Tory minister agrees with him, it is likely to lose them votes to align with an outspoken Labour Party member who casually tells us what he thinks is the 'right' way to vote (as if we can't make up our own mind, thanks very much!). George Monbiot did the same ('vote Green').
          As a simple test, ask yourself if you have any idea how Chris Packham voted? I don't, and neither does any minister, which will make it much easier for Chris to get a hearing in the places that matter if the politicians think they are dealing with the issue and not the politics.
          Since 2010 the left has been playing a very dangerous game by hijacking conservation issues to score political points against the Coalition parties. 38 degrees and woodlands were the stunning example, and now it's badgers and neonics, and Mark is dragging harriers/persecution the same way, just as the right did with hunting. All this has achieved is a polarisation of support along political lines, when what we need is 'one nation conservation' led by the issue not the ideology- like we broadly have on climate change. Any conservationist who tells you how to vote has another personal agenda besides conservation (ideological, social) and so how would we ever know if they were being objective on the conservation message? Mark appears to be have a tribal political affiliation, a Labour Party member and volunteer activist, working for his party on election day. The best conservationists are floating voters, however, who can vote for or work with anyone, and who anyone will work with. Mark's tone and politicking just alienates the very people he needs to engage with to achieve what he wants.

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        • Mud-Lark says:

          Centre Ground?

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      • Mark says:

        'Centre' ground - you clearly haven't read much of what I have written on the subject of Labour's environmental credentials. Where, pray, do I 'equate pro-wildlife voting to voting for Labour'?

        I do disclose the fact that I am a Labour party member (at the moment). I suppose you didn't vote? Or did you? You mean that you haven't disclosed where you are coming from? Tut, tut!

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  • […] Lost Leaders – by Mark Avery (8th May) […]

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  • I admit that the result is not ideal from an environmental point of view, but then I'm not sure what result WOULD have been ideal! There certainly didn't seem to be any overwhelming pro-environment policies coming from either of the 2 major players. Conservation and an interest in and care for the environment is NOT a party political issue. There is no necessary correlation between being pro-environment and having an allegiance to any particular party. Over 1 million people voted for the Green Party and I would hazard that a significant number of those who voted Conservative would not approve of a reversal on the hunting ban or other 'anti' environmental policies. However, you are right that we need to be more vocal and vociferous in keeping the environment and the importance of our natural heritage in the public eye. The problem is getting the focus right so that many will get behind it rather than just the zealots.

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  • Centre ground says:

    Hello Mark,

    On your blog post of 6 May, the day before the election, you wrote:
    "In Tory/Labour marginals, I have faith in Labour being a better option when it comes down to it, even if they have hardly demonstrated their ability over the past five years. What about Labour/LibDem marginals? Well, there aren’t so many of them, but I am a Labour party member so that’s how I’d vote although it would be despite, rather than because of, Labour’s policies on wildlife and the environment."

    That seems like a clear endorsement of Labour, but not even a rational one - it's based on "faith", not even track record. But a clear endorsement nontheless. On the same post, you also explicitly recommend that people vote Green, which is also what I picked up on. Flipped round, you equate pro-wildlife voting with NOT voting Tory (except for Zac Goldsmith) or Lib Dem.
    You also seem to contradict yourself a little - you recommend that people vote Green, unless it's a marginal seat. But your constituency of Corby had a Labour majority of nearly 8,000 at the last by-election (only 3 years ago) - so why the need to personally mobilise the Labour vote rather than the Greens? Corby was not even a Tory target seat, so surely not one of your 'marginals'? Doesn't that go against what you wrote on 6 May and also in British Wildlife?
    I wont disclose who I voted for, because I'm a conservationist first, and a political ideologue somewhat further down the list, and I wouldn't want to alienate anyone from my conservation goals by implying that I'm more enviro-politically sound than they are. Even UKippers.

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    • Mark says:

      'Centre' ground - in other words I analysed the environmental bits of 7 election manifestos, criticised them all, disclosed my own allegiance and suggested what others should do (which involved voting LibDem, Labour or Green). Terribly shocking!

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      • Centre ground says:

        Not shocking, Mark. And it would have been very shrewd indeed had the only person who can do anything meaningful about raptor persecution (or any other environmental policy) for the next 5 years have been a conviction politition of the LibDem, Labour or Green Parties. As it turned out, however, it is going to be a committed politician of one of the few parties you chose to publicly snub and deride, whilst polarising yourself and your message from a third of the electorate. So I wonder if that will make your campaigns easier or harder?

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  • […] The Conservatives won the general election and everyone else including the natural environment lost it. The long-running Catfield Fen story was resolved, it seemed. Three male Hen Harriers had gone […]

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  • Trackbacks

    1. John Matthews says:

      With no need to stuff a load of lib dems in cabinet I would not be surprised to see some posts like the sec for Defra to be abolished.

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      • Mark says:

        John - that is a possibility. As cuts come, Departments get smaller and mergers are more likely.

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      • That is one of my predictions - the internal changes have already been made to Defra it is like a pea, whole on the outside, but split up the middle inside - despite predicitions being broken, here are more of mine for what will happen to wildlife over the next 5 years https://www.buglife.org.uk/blog/matt-shardlow-ceo/post-election-thoughts-and-predictions

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    2. Jenny Jones says:

      Excellent, but sobering summary of the future challenges for us. I too feel despondent this morning. Our task feels all the harder now. However, for the sake of future generations we have to continue to fight. To fight for conservation of our soil resources, our ecosystems, our organisms and our land. Climate change challenges all of these for the future. We must push for a sound presence at the Paris meeting in December that represents the views of many of us and needs for the future. Each of us must now be even more active: write to your MP, your councillors, the media etc. The message must get out there that, despite this apparent vote of confidence in the Tories, many people in the UK care desperately about the state of the UK environment and we MUST make our views known. Let today be the day when the environment is seen to move high up the political agenda.

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    3. Phil Espin says:

      Just back in from my own walk having picked up my first two Spotted Flycatchers of the year. Chin up Mark, the British public will always support activists on wildlife and environmental issues, if they are mobilised by effective leadership. There is plenty to fight for and I'm sure you will continue to take a leading part. Most of us are RSPB members, how can we mobilise to put more backbone into the RSPB leadership on issues we care about?

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    4. Benjamin Bittern says:

      I'm depressed too, not just about the environment; but about the future of our public services, the NHS & the fact that we seem to be sleepwalking out of the EU, and the devastating effect that will impact on our environmental laws, and human rights amongst others.
      I agree our big NGOs need to do more, and hope they realise this themselves. If they don't, then we as members need to stand up and be counted, and push them in the direction they should be going in to protect our wildlife.

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    5. rob yorke says:

      Mark. I trust you mean nature will win (its ability to live within our over-consumption https://www.scribd.com/doc/122302759/If-you-love-wildlife-stop-eating-all-its-food-Camilla-Cavendish-in-The-Times) - not extremist polarised views?

      There is hope, but as long as we look to the common ground.
      I will continue to do so.
      Yours aye

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    6. Lyn E says:

      Please restart the 'Ban driven grouse shooting' petition ASAP. I feel the need for a fight after this dreadful election result.

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    7. Dennis Ames says:

      Cheer up Mark do not think I can remember you being so gloomy,yes things not looking good for wildlife and associated things but not sure things would have been very different if other results had happened whatever they were.
      One clever bod a day or two ago said something along the lines of the difference between the two main party's was Tories believe in earning money from such as productivity before you can spend it whereas Labour think you can spend ,spend and spend because money grows on trees.
      As much as we would all like to ignore the fact that we are all ruled by money these days it is a simple fact that we are and the worst thing for all aspects of our country including wildlife would be if the country got into financial difficulties which to be fair this Government have set about tackling over the last 5 years.
      Look forward to you being your usual self after the shock wears off.

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    8. Hilary says:

      Without LibDems surely DC and co working with very slim practical majority? Trust this will make life harder for them.
      Same number of decent people in the country today as yesterday, probably still caring about much the same things.
      Agree NGOs need shaking awake and then some joined up thinking. Perhaps this will be the time. I hope they also pay much more attention to the rising generation of conservationists and naturalists who have been neglected for far too long.

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      • MK says:

        Slim majority could actually make the Tory backbenches more disciplined. And with labour so far behind in seats, almost no lib dems and very few others I can't see anyone mobilizing a majority to defeat the govt. even with the SNP.

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    9. Alistair gammell says:

      I think the real issue confronting all of us interested in nature is the fact that the environment generally and nature conservation specifically was just a non-event in the election. Did any of the party leaders ever mention it? Did journalists ever ask them about it? No, presumably because they regard it as unimportant. How to change that needs to be thought and acted upon.

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      • Marian Hussenbux says:

        Re Alistair's comment - I think the party leaders and the media respond to what the general public appears to want - I remember someone on this blog (I think) making the point before that the environment/conservation did not feature among the concerns of many.

        How many questions were put to party leaders on this subject at their hustings and in TV discussions?
        I attended one of Ed Miliband's hustings and all the questions but mine were about the NHS, the economy, jobs, bedroom tax.

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      • Steve says:

        Yes they did.

        Vote Green

        Wake up.

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    10. Les Wallace says:

      Yes grim, but if there is one gleam of light it's as you say Mark that the conservation/environmental organisations finally start being louder and harder in pushing their message. They have been far too soft for far too long, almost apologetic about caring for wildlife. Hope you start another epetition on grouse shooting soon..plus up in Scotland we need to start our own for the Scottish Parliament.

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    11. Chris Green says:

      With Boris back in the commons does anyone know if his crazy island airport will be back on the agenda?

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      • Steve J says:

        Boris will ensure his airport is back on the agenda. Cameron will step down after the EU vote, letting Boris take over. I reckon with Boris leading, the Conservatives will be hard to defeat - he's just the sort of loveable lunatic the British electorate longs for. A huge future battle over his airport seems inevitable.

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    12. Dennis Ames says:

      Here we go,here we go the conservationists do not get the fact that something like 95% of population not as interested in that as in lots of other things.
      That is why it got hardly a mention from the politicians in the run up to the election.
      When this simple fact is grasped it will not seem so bad.
      Today I took the log shed door off as somehow a Robin had started a nest in there and at this time of year for some reason at least one pair of Blackbirds start coming on the doorstep more or less asking us to feed them Sultanas for a while,they did not give a stuff about EM resigning.Thank goodness he is not PM,first little thing that goes wrong in five years and he resigns,no grit.

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      • Paul V Irving says:

        I'm sorry Dennis that you are probably right about the general public and conservation. I've spent a great deal of time saying recently to colleagues if you care about conservation and particularly birds of prey don't vote Tory. The idea that we will be governed for another 5 years by Diamond Dave and the City Spivs is truly depressing for a whole host of reasons--- NHS, education, HS2, Trident and benefit cuts for those already at rock bottom as well as conservation reasons. The only saving grace, the Lib Dems got what they deserved for getting into bed with the Tories and Farage is kept out.
        I found it quite odd last Monday driving home from Wales to see UKIP posters in farmland, rather like turkeys voting for Christmas, do these numbwits not realise a vote for UKIP was a vote to end EU subsidies!

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    13. Ernest Moss says:

      I'm thoroughly depressed by it all, not so much because of the how it will impact upon nature conservation as I don't think the other parties realistically offered much more in that regard.
      I just feel so desperately sorry for those unfortunate souls whose lives will really suffer from the imminent wave of ideologically driven cuts to social welfare and education. It's just so depressing that nearly 50% of the country voted for two parties whose philosophy is based on the premise that in order to get on in life you have to tread on others.
      And once again we seemed to have another election where the Tories managed to successfully frame all of the main issues around their own values, how the hell do they do it?!....I could go on but I need a glass or three of red and a bloody good sleep.

      Tomorrow I intend to re-join the Lib Dem's and I'll donate all election spread-betting winnings (I sold the Lib Dems) to a local food bank - both now need my help more then ever!

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    14. rebecca Robinson says:

      I think members of Environmental charities, who do pay to join, expect the leaders of those charities to stand up for the environment as strongly as possible.

      The Charities should mobilise their members to vote with the environment in mind but I would interested to know what response they get to the petitions they are increasingly using to influence decisions and does their charitable status prevent political campaigning as I have heard some say?

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      • Mud-Lark says:

        I suspect they would present a case that they do and they must remain neutral etc. Cross party membership interest ought to help and it enables them to use their charitable status to seek funds by claiming non-partisan, all inclusive, public friendly etc.

        Sadly too from my observations, too many are almost quasi quangoes or project managers for the state. Throw a few crumbs (eg NIAs) and they roll over grateful for funding.

        Harsh yes, reality sadly yes. Criticism of NIA outcomes, not particularly except where they have provided additional agri-welfare payments to the industrialised members of the agricultural sector.

        Change is needed to this two party democracy. Change also to NGO governance and operational accountability.

        Ho hum, changes and chainsaws ahead as Matt suggests. Opportunity knocks if we can but muster new offer?

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    15. Haematopotamus says:

      I've been reading this report by the State of Politics partnership which says that because wildlife has declined so much (apart from those non-native species, of course, coming over here taking our habitats...), there's really no need to include it in any party's policies.

      It's not as though the UK National Ecosystem Assessment is going to be made into a reality TV show is it? Springwatch has lost its bounce and is more of a wildlife Prozac than a means to encourage active involvement. There are lots of lions and elephant and rhinos and pigmy hippos on the telly. And you can even see tigers from Tasmania on YouTube. And a staggering variety of sheep on EweTube. So surely that's progress.

      Things are bound to have changed since that nice Mr Attenborough was in black and white. And you don't hear him complaining about the state of the nation's wildlife do you? You do? Well, not very loudly. And nobody believes that George Monbiot exists. And if they did, then they'd assume that all could be made right by adding a few wolves and beavers, so the environment really can't be in bad situation can it? All we need to do is cry wolf.

      It seems that all the time that the RSPB and the WT's were wolfing, sorry, woffling on about how many voices they had for Nature amongst the political parties/voters they were forgetting that also means that their members are, in the main, ordinary people who watch a bit of Springwatch now and then (But they can handle it, can't they?) and like to do their bit for wildlife by reading magazines, filling in peitions ('Oh thse poor woodlands, harriers, horrid spiders, stick insects and whatever it is this week, (Oh not not bees again! Borr-ing!) - walking in the countryside (safe from wolves, if not woffle), and maybe dying and leaving a legacy for the dormice or those lovely green parakeets. Ordinary peope who really aren't bothered by what they can't see affecting them and theirs, even if they've got the time and spare funds or even the prospect or retiring at 70 and a place to call the banks (in China, Spain, the US).

      And if the members of said organisations and the diverse (but pointless) Heinzness of wildlife NGOs aren't calling on their elected members for more nature-friendly policies (Well Mr Attenborough isn't. And Malta's eV.E.n further away than Poland, And none of those Biodiversity academics are. At least not very loudly, or consistently or in any vaguely united fashion. {What? I've got 3 grant applications and 57 papers to write this week or NERC will take my funding away.} And (you may recall), if those NGO members aren't inclined to act up, then the great majority of the British Public (non-doms and all) aren't likely to. Springwatch audience = how many. RSBWT members = how many? Gaining more members shouldn't be the focus. Or if it is then other organisations need to reach the parts that the old pals aren't

      Will there be a Nature and Wellbeing Act in place by the time of the next General Election? Will our air be cleaner then? Will our ground water be completely fracked? Will there be spread betting on which species will be next to go extinct. Or a reaiity TV show - Extinction - Remember that your vote could raise enough money

      And another question is, why has no one set up an Angry Birders society yet?

      The main problem with a major documentary series on "Where the Wild Things Went (and Why) is that it would be too bloody and depressing. Better to do a Hitler in the Bunker YouTube video "Was? Der SSSIs sind allgemeinlich in favourischen oder "recovering" Kondition?!! Gott in HemelHempstead!!" (Und so weiter)

      Still... to end on a slightly bright note, to reduce the droop of your moustache, Mark.... Caroline Lucas.

      And now watch the next thousand cuts in local government....

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    16. Greenfly says:

      The other day I heard someone on Radio 4 say "no-one ever changed the status quo by arguing moderately against it". My only hope is that now is the time that the wildlife NGOs (and also campaigners for other things such as the NHS) will stop being so damn polite and get stuck in arguing for what matters. I promise to do my best to persuade the ones that I am a member of.

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    17. John Stuart Mill (deceased) says:

      It was a bad night for Liberals. I may need to return from the dead to help them with a resurrection of their own. I'm sure Mrs Mill has a nice bonnet she could spare for Paddy Ashdown to chomp on. And Mr Disraeli is rather cross at the mention of One Nation Toryism. He says he would be a Lib Dem voter nowadays.

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    18. Steve says:

      Labour...

      Well done Mark.

      Another wasted opportunity.

      Next time, vote Green.

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      • Mark says:

        Steve - great analysis http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/politics/constituencies/E14000648

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    19. Dennis Ames says:

      Could be that Corby you kippers helped Tory win that seat.Funny that it was assumed by experts??? that you kippers would hurt Tories yet seems they hurt Labour.

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      • John Stone says:

        Bait and switch Dennis. The Tory Kippers who initiated the movement flocked back to Dave whilst the more recent Labour kippers stayed with it.

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        • Dennis Ames says:

          John,very good,that must mean Tory you kippers are either brighter or happier to use dirty tricks than Labour you kippers.

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    20. bimbling says:

      SNP have been pretty forward thinking up here: vicarious liability, land reform, minimum pricing of alcohol, pressure on deer management, positive view on re-introductions.

      Maybe Nicola should have had more candidates across the UK?

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    21. Mark Gibbens says:

      I think one of the most important things after this election is conservation priorities. There is little time and space for mobilising conservation minded people on less important issues. As mentioned in this blog many, many times sleepwalking out of Europe would be the very worst outcome for the Environment (and in my opinion the economy).

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    22. Centre ground says:

      This idea that you have to be leftist if you're pro conservation is exactly what is wrong with Mark Avery and the conservation movement he's trying to energise, and exactly why it will be ineffective.
      Mark is a party political member and a party activist (he was out trying to mobilise *Labour* votes on thursday), so of course he sees everything through that prism - if it's not Labour, or left of Labour (former 'Old Labour' territory, like Greens), then it must be bad cos they're 'the enemy' of everything he stands for. Well, if you spend your energy turning conservation into a political football and a partisan issue, don't be surprised if you alienate political opponents from the conservation cause, because they are not on your football team. And right now, that means Tories, who just happen to be in charge.
      I don't remember hearing from Mark Avery when it was the Labour Party in power who closed down about half of the environmental/ecological research stations in the country, to save a paltry million quid while they sold off the nation's gold and invaded Iraq. I don't remember Mark complaining when it was unelected billionaire big-businessman Lord Sainsbury who was appointed Science Minister and wielded the axe on international beacons of research such as Institute of Grassland & Environmental Research, ITE Furzebrook and ITE Monks Wood. And where were 38-Degrees activists back then? They only appeared on the bandwagon when they were in political opposition - showing that it's not the cause they're interested in, it's the politics. So it's sad to see Mark Avery sliding down the same muddy political road, and trying to drag conservationists with him.
      No. Conservation is above politics. If you can't be balanced, and a-political, then don't use conservation as a vehicle to further your political ideals. Even if you think this is not what you're doing, it actually is when seen from the perspective of those who don't share your politics. Because they're alienated, when they should be united. If Mark voted Labour in 2010 after what they did to UK environmental research in 2005-2008, then he's a hypocrite for getting all political now about badgers and grouse - the last Labour govts destroyed half of our research base. So it seems to be Mark's politics that are driving this, not his ideals - otherwise where were his campaigns back then? Why didn't he speak up for his ideals when he was heading RSPB, if this was his top priority? No, Mark has his own agendas and blinkers on, just like everyone else he criticises. He's biased, and the Editor of British Widlife doesn't seem to mind, after seeing Mark's astonishingly political rant in the last issue.
      But I mind, because I don't want to see conservation dragged down into petty politics, where we see ministers forced into knee-jerk short-term responses becasue of pressure from lobbyists hijacking causes with their own political agendas of kicking whichever Govt they don't like. That's partly why we've ended up with badger culls, and dredging, because the Tories now think there's no risk of losing votes if all the conservationists are Labour/Green anyway. Why care what they think?
      If you drag conservation into politics, don't complain when politicians of another colour couldn't give a t0ss what you think about it. Conservation and the environment are above politics, they affect everyone. So beware of politically-biased activists like Mark Avery dragging it to the left, or the right. He's basically just like Robin Page, only on the other side of the fence, but he can't even see it because of of his political blinkers.

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  • Claire Barker says:

    How can you not drag conservation into politics when policy dictates what happens to protections, investments, when vested interests coincidentally giving sizable party donations influence decisions on for example the ban Neonicotinoids. New Labour was far from perfect on this. But how is it not 'political' when so many people's counter to anyone making pro conservation plea is that they are a lefty-liberal do-gooder.

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    • Centre ground says:

      Because when people like Mark equate pro-wildlife voting to voting for Labour (he was out canvassing for Labour on the day!) or Green it becomes party political. He even admitted in an earlier blog post that there was very little on offer from 'the big two', and there was essentially no difference - so on what basis was he championing Labour? Hen Harriers, climate, Buzzards, Badgers - where were Labour's committments on these any different from the Tories, if they existed at all? However hard he tries to be balanced, he is a card-carrying Labour Party member, an active member, and that colours his entire perspective.
      I appreciate that Mark is now a professional journalist and commentator, who butters his bread by writing and speaking and being opinionated. And the more extreme the opinion then the more attention it gets - hence the ever more extreme opinions and stunts (petitions, dressing up, demands for bans etc etc). But that's just what Robin Page and Magnus Linklater do, in their similar roles for other readerships. And does that kind of thing win over anyone on here to their point of view? No. So who do you think Mark is convincing? Any gamekeepers? Any Tory-leaning farmers? Of course not. It doesn't work, it makes it worse by polarising, alienating, and entrenching opinion.

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      • Mud-Lark says:

        Dare we ask how you would approach engaging the issue of getting the mainstream and other parties to protect wildlife and conserve important habitats? Perhaps a consultancy project? Who would you suggest funds it and would it be performance related, no tangible outcomes no remmuneration?

        I am not a card carrying member of any political party, yet I am an agnostic and I have lost faith in the vast majority of politicians (expense scandal, war, then poor performance on environmental issues &c. &c.), so pray tell me what 'Centre Ground' has delivered - might we assume that you would like to try brood management, after all it is what these nice people promote by way of compromise after others have clearly broken the law?

        You assert challenge fails, so we should not protest at illegal persecution, lack of science based approach to badger culls &c.? We should know our place and not challenge the established order? If we get a bunch of well paid consultants to gather a hand picked clique around a table all will be well with the state of nature?

        I sense your attack is a generic one on all conservationists, but that you blame Mark for incitement to try to secure a future for the natural environment? If that is the case then you insult a lot of people who read 'Standing up for Nature'?

        Politics ought to be a force for good yet it fails because without a healthy environment for all then we are as a species doomed?

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      • Dennis Ames says:

        Centre Ground,have thought about your comment for a couple of days and while I can see where you are coming from I think you miss lots of good points of Mark's.
        Whatever you think it is inevitable that whatever political leaning we have we will then be biased as in all other things bias follows your own thoughts.
        Yes obviously he picks subjects sometimes for his blog which will make discussion but for sure he is as passionate about wildlife as anyone and his input is sorely needed and on the political point we are surely old enough to still stick with our own beliefs.
        A bit below the belt to question his epetition that took some guts.
        Surely you respect him for printing your comment,doubt other bloggers would be so tolerant.
        Guess I have known him as a blogger for about eight years or so and can assure you he is a very caring tolerant human being.

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        • Centre ground says:

          Dennis - thankyou, but I disagree that it's inevitable. I am not saying for a second that Mark is not tolerant or caring, I'm not even saying that his opinions are necessarily wrong. I am saying that his strategy and tone is counter-productive, as stapling political beliefs to a conservation message alienates anyone who doesn't share your politics even if they do share your conservation agenda. This is what the Countryside Alliance did with foxhunting, and now we see that it is a party political issue - Labour ban it, Tories will bring it back in, the next Labour govt will probably ban it again, because both have grassroots votes tied up in that issue because that's how the activitsts sold it. Mark is doing the same with Hen Harriers and shooting - even if the next Tory minister agrees with him, it is likely to lose them votes to align with an outspoken Labour Party member who casually tells us what he thinks is the 'right' way to vote (as if we can't make up our own mind, thanks very much!). George Monbiot did the same ('vote Green').
          As a simple test, ask yourself if you have any idea how Chris Packham voted? I don't, and neither does any minister, which will make it much easier for Chris to get a hearing in the places that matter if the politicians think they are dealing with the issue and not the politics.
          Since 2010 the left has been playing a very dangerous game by hijacking conservation issues to score political points against the Coalition parties. 38 degrees and woodlands were the stunning example, and now it's badgers and neonics, and Mark is dragging harriers/persecution the same way, just as the right did with hunting. All this has achieved is a polarisation of support along political lines, when what we need is 'one nation conservation' led by the issue not the ideology- like we broadly have on climate change. Any conservationist who tells you how to vote has another personal agenda besides conservation (ideological, social) and so how would we ever know if they were being objective on the conservation message? Mark appears to be have a tribal political affiliation, a Labour Party member and volunteer activist, working for his party on election day. The best conservationists are floating voters, however, who can vote for or work with anyone, and who anyone will work with. Mark's tone and politicking just alienates the very people he needs to engage with to achieve what he wants.

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        • Mud-Lark says:

          Centre Ground?

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      • Mark says:

        'Centre' ground - you clearly haven't read much of what I have written on the subject of Labour's environmental credentials. Where, pray, do I 'equate pro-wildlife voting to voting for Labour'?

        I do disclose the fact that I am a Labour party member (at the moment). I suppose you didn't vote? Or did you? You mean that you haven't disclosed where you are coming from? Tut, tut!

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  • […] Lost Leaders – by Mark Avery (8th May) […]

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  • I admit that the result is not ideal from an environmental point of view, but then I'm not sure what result WOULD have been ideal! There certainly didn't seem to be any overwhelming pro-environment policies coming from either of the 2 major players. Conservation and an interest in and care for the environment is NOT a party political issue. There is no necessary correlation between being pro-environment and having an allegiance to any particular party. Over 1 million people voted for the Green Party and I would hazard that a significant number of those who voted Conservative would not approve of a reversal on the hunting ban or other 'anti' environmental policies. However, you are right that we need to be more vocal and vociferous in keeping the environment and the importance of our natural heritage in the public eye. The problem is getting the focus right so that many will get behind it rather than just the zealots.

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  • Centre ground says:

    Hello Mark,

    On your blog post of 6 May, the day before the election, you wrote:
    "In Tory/Labour marginals, I have faith in Labour being a better option when it comes down to it, even if they have hardly demonstrated their ability over the past five years. What about Labour/LibDem marginals? Well, there aren’t so many of them, but I am a Labour party member so that’s how I’d vote although it would be despite, rather than because of, Labour’s policies on wildlife and the environment."

    That seems like a clear endorsement of Labour, but not even a rational one - it's based on "faith", not even track record. But a clear endorsement nontheless. On the same post, you also explicitly recommend that people vote Green, which is also what I picked up on. Flipped round, you equate pro-wildlife voting with NOT voting Tory (except for Zac Goldsmith) or Lib Dem.
    You also seem to contradict yourself a little - you recommend that people vote Green, unless it's a marginal seat. But your constituency of Corby had a Labour majority of nearly 8,000 at the last by-election (only 3 years ago) - so why the need to personally mobilise the Labour vote rather than the Greens? Corby was not even a Tory target seat, so surely not one of your 'marginals'? Doesn't that go against what you wrote on 6 May and also in British Wildlife?
    I wont disclose who I voted for, because I'm a conservationist first, and a political ideologue somewhat further down the list, and I wouldn't want to alienate anyone from my conservation goals by implying that I'm more enviro-politically sound than they are. Even UKippers.

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    • Mark says:

      'Centre' ground - in other words I analysed the environmental bits of 7 election manifestos, criticised them all, disclosed my own allegiance and suggested what others should do (which involved voting LibDem, Labour or Green). Terribly shocking!

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      • Centre ground says:

        Not shocking, Mark. And it would have been very shrewd indeed had the only person who can do anything meaningful about raptor persecution (or any other environmental policy) for the next 5 years have been a conviction politition of the LibDem, Labour or Green Parties. As it turned out, however, it is going to be a committed politician of one of the few parties you chose to publicly snub and deride, whilst polarising yourself and your message from a third of the electorate. So I wonder if that will make your campaigns easier or harder?

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  • […] The Conservatives won the general election and everyone else including the natural environment lost it. The long-running Catfield Fen story was resolved, it seemed. Three male Hen Harriers had gone […]

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