Beefy loses his line and length

Last week the You Forgot the Birds campaign disclosed that their ‘campaign’ was funded by the British grouse industry.

Today, in the Mail on Sunday (prop P Dacre, grouse moor owner) YFtB is described as a grassroots campaign of farmers and conservationists.

59-year old Ian Botham has been brought back into the bowling attack. He attempts to get a few balls on target but only succeeds in unfairly stripping RSPB Chief Exec Mike Clarke of his doctorate  with a glancing blow to the helmet when Mike was looking the other way.

Botham, the self-styled champion of gamekeepers, appeals to the umpire that the RSPB accused him of killing birds of prey on the BBC last week.  I missed that – I wish I’d heard it – I only heard Martin Harper on Farming Today.

Botham also accuses the RSPB of ‘constantly slurring gamekeepers as criminals’ which seems to me to be rather unfounded – even rather a slur itself, particularly when followed by an apparent attack on the motives of the RSPB who do this as part of their class war and to help raise funds. Sir Ian asks if the RSPB has heard of libel – I suspect they have actually

The danger is, that the RSPB might be content with picking up a few runs from these wides and no balls from Beefy rather than remembering  to despatch the ball to the boundary. The British grouse industry, who fund the Botham campaign, are in the pavilion, having had their second innings and having amassed a feeble score. There is a Test series to be won here. When will RSPB start swinging the bat, delighting the crowd and winning the game?




19 Replies to “Beefy loses his line and length”

  1. It does seem that th RSPB are trying to be too diplomatic. Talk of many gamekeepers being law abiding on the BBC Look North Last week I thought was very generous, but how long before they realise that the Grouse industry aren’t interested in playing ball. They are playing a wiley game and just making the RSPB look a little on the week side. I hope someone soon says enough is enough and gets the 1 million plus members activated and campaigning to stop these arrogant bunch of killers.

  2. If the RSPB has ever been at fault it’s for being too polite and restrained with the utter drivel characters like Botham spew out. The wee note at the bottom about the trees ‘unlawfully’ felled, was a reference to a restoration project which involved the removal of plantation conifers and was due to a very slight admin mistake, NOT cutting down of trees that should never been touched. I saw that info posted on the fb page of a charming group called ‘Forsinard Says No’ – a group of ‘locals’ who because they don’t like the design of a RSPB visitor centre have chosen to deride the RSPB in any way possible including pasting in garbage from the likes of the Mail. The Red Menace has gone so I suppose you need a new pantomine baddy, what can fit the bill more than a bird conservation charity whose influence is due to the public liking it? I would have thought Sporting Estates, after all they are deliberately keeping red deer numbers high with it an increased risk that there will be potentially FATAL road accidents, even stunted highland deer are big animals. However, if you really want to play the ‘I’m a minority, I’m country’ card then something perceived/portrayed as supported by townie Springwatch types is better – actual reason doesn’t come into this.

    Re Botham’s beloved gamekeepers, I was speaking to someone who looks after injured birds of prey yesterday. He told me of an incident in the Scottish Borders a few years ago. He was flying his birds on an estate where he had permission to do so. A gamekeeper came up and told him there was a goshawk nest with three chicks there, if he didn’t take (buy?) them the nest would be shot out. My new friend declined and reported incident to the SSPCA. A few weeks later he was at another estate about three along from that one when he was approached and told to leave, when he said he had permission he was told ‘no you don’t’ and they weren’t very polite about it. A close knit bunch aren’t they?

  3. The danger is, that the RSPB might be content with picking up a few runs from these wides and no balls from Beefy rather than remembering to despatch the ball to the boundary. The British grouse industry, who fund the Botham campaign, are in the pavilion, having had their second innings and having amassed a feeble score. There is a Test series to be won here. When will RSPB start swinging the bat, delighting the crowd and winning the game?
    Really unfortunate Mark but that is not going to happen for whatever reason is hard to fathom.
    It is left to yourself and several other individuals and smaller organisations to put the case for everyone to be able to enjoy Hen Harriers.
    Well done to all of you.

    1. Is there a clue in the name? Royal SPB? Their senior staff will not want to upset the current establishment figures even if it would be principled to raise issue profile and taking a stance on law breaking?

      Are the RSPB now the Lib Dems of nature conservation heading for a similar fate, in so far as there is an increase in smaller more focused specialist charities taking their disillusioned members/potential members? With the likes of beefy & Gardiner on the right & you leading the left?

      Discuss maybe but not to the extent that we distract from the real target ….

      1. Not being at all interested in cricket (there are a few of us out here) I’m afraid I’m baffled by your cricketing analogies. But if Botham’s attacks on the RSPB are ‘just not cricket’, then I assume similar criticisms here aren’t either.

        That said……I do feel that what the RSPB lacks is charismatic, communicative leadership.

        I can’t remember the last time if heard Mike Clarke say anything. Very nice chap, bright, bit of a behind the scenes administrator, directing operations, not fronting them.

        I think the organisation desperately needs someone who can go head-to-head with the best advocates the shooting industry has to offer, on the Today Programme, Countryfile etc. The RSPB had one such person, not so far from blog; Tony Juniper is another.

        But aside from questionable advocacy skills at senior management level, I still think the RSPB is light years ahead of the rest in terms of substance. Its science appears frequently in world-leading peer-reviewed journals (Science, Nature, ProcRocSoc, PNAS); the UK agri-environment schemes are heavily built around that science (look at the arable prescriptions, skylark plots etc); the very fact that You Forgot the Birds is targeting the mild-mannered RSPB shows just how scared they are of the organisation. This suggests that the polite RSPB is occupying an important niche in the field of conservation, but that it should be more assertively ‘cool, calm and persuasive’.

  4. When Botham became an expert on nutrition in order to sell more wheat and prevent heart disease hearts took no notice and became diseased anyway and their owners piled on weight because of the unneccessary carbohydrates they were now eating that caused their Type 2 diabetes and made them even more more prone to heart disease than they were before so you’d think that Chief Operating Oafs and their ilk would cotton on to this Kiss of Death effect associated with slebrity endorsements and stop doing it but they won’t.

  5. The Mail on Sunday article invites those who were deceived into donating to the RSPB to contact so that he can help reclaim the donation. That will be interesting for the RSPB to measure the extent of Botham’s campaign and the extent of support for their work.

    Meanwhile my wife and I have e mailed Botham to let him know that we have sent an immediate donation to the RSPB as a result of his misinformed activities! We have also written to RSPB, with a donation, in support of their stance and encouraged them to be even more active on this front in future!

    If Botham continues on this line and RSPB become more active it could be costing us a packet – but hey, it would be worth it !

  6. I have to say Mark, that the answer to your final question is probably, ‘ when it finds the balls’! (The cricket ones of course!)

  7. Well done Mr Angry!!
    Last time beefy and buddies attacked RSPB I increased my monthly payments. And now I’ve just made another one off donation too.
    Have emailed the address to explain too, and have cc’d some of the RSPB ‘bunkered leaders’. I’d encourage others to at least email the beefy address and show the level of support RSPB and others have – yes, they might not be being tough enough for some of us – but let’s not forget we are all on the same side, and we will win if we stay together.

  8. How vulnerable are the RSPB to entryism? Looking at their governance statement it appears that the normal process would be for potential trustees to be nominated by the current council of management and ratified by the membership at the AGM, but that it would be possible for someone like Botham (or his backers) to create a situation in which there was a contested election. The comment about the trustees in the Mail article rather suggests that someone has thought about it. I doubt that they’d succeed in changing RSPB policy but it could create a lot of disruption and nuisance.

  9. Perhaps rather than threatening legal action, Sir Ian should debate the issues with Dr Mike Clarke at a public meeting. There are plenty of opportunities over the summer with the number of festivals that are being held. If they invited Robin Page along they could bill it as a comedy Act.

  10. Given that none of Botham’s wild allegations are questioned, that there’s no reference to the Charities Commission throwing out earlier complaints (and the opposite misleadingly implied), that it’s not reported that, far from a ‘grassroots’ organisation, this group is funded by the grouse shooting industry, that the RSPB’s counter arguments are ignored and that the paper’s editor-in-chief has an interested party doesn’t this ‘article’ breach IPSO’s (Independent Press Standards Organisation) Editors’ Code of Practice? Articles i) and iii) of Clause 1 (Accuracy) states that –
    i) The Press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information, including pictures.
    iii) The Press, whilst free to be partisan, must distinguish clearly between comment, conjecture and fact.
    To my mind there’s no doubt this junk journalism was wilfully “inaccurate, misleading and distorted” or that it did not distinguish between “comment, conjecture and fact”. I think that those better versed in these matters than me ought to think about taking a complaint forward. Not that I’m confident of a fair hearing given that the Chair “Editors’ Code of Practice Committee” is one Paul Dacre ……

  11. According to Beefy his Grouse Industry friends are a fine,upstanding and blameless lot of real conservationists with an exclusive understanding of the countryside. Well guess what Beefy. YOU FORGOT THE TURDS!!!

  12. I went my local RSPB reserve yesterday (Minsmere: Why was it so busy?). As I drove through the gates I commented to the family that everytime someone enters a RSPB reserve, a piece of Ian Botham’s soul dies. I couldn’t reverse repeatedly and go through the gate several times due to the shear numbers of people behind me! I was so obsessed with my anger at Beefy that I nearly forgot about the birds!

  13. Whoever is pulling the strings behind this anti-RSPB campaign is a bit thick. I wonder who it is?

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