It may be that Scottish Land and Estates has been slumbering for quite a while but their Chief Exec, Doug McAdam, seems to have been roused from his snooze. It may well have been the sight of a six foot Hen Harrier looking in through his office window that did it…
Mr McAdam (@DougMcAdam) occasionally has a little spasm on Twitter but when asked a question about his views, and those of SLE, he usually goes rather quiet.
A while ago, 2 June actually, Mr McAdam thought it worthwhile to tweet ‘>500pairs HH’s on Scottish moors at last count!’ which is pretty much true (the last full count was in 2010). What he doesn’t say, and wouldn’t respond to on Twitter, is that the science shows that there ought to be c1500 pairs of Hen Harrier in Scotland. Two out of three pairs of Scottish Hen Harrier are missing, and they are almost completely missing from those areas of Scotland that are predominantly managed for driven grouse shooting. Scottish Land and Estates represents Scottish land managers and estates (the clue is in the name) – does Mr McAdam mostly represent those who have Hen Harriers or those who don’t? And does he represent those who want Hen Harriers or those who don’t? Or hasn’t he really got his head around the issue at all?
A few days later Mr McAdam retweeted anti-RSPB tweets such as this one ‘I would resign from RSPB over this if I had not already done so. Almost worth re-joining so I can do it again.’ and an anti-RSPB headline in the newspapers of the time.
In response to the report of the Climate Change Committee (featured here yesterday) which pointed an accusatory finger at the management of blanket bogs in the UK then Mr McAdam posted on Twitter and as a comment on this blog ‘here’s a different view https://scotlandsnature.wordpress.com/2015/06/30/species-of-the-month-heather/ … where Scotland is seen as the European stronghold for upland, heather-rich heath.’. but when asked, he couldn’t, or wouldn’t, elucidate as to how many of the 76,000ha of blanket bog which have lost their peat-forming ability because of burning were in Scotland. I don’t know either, I’d love to know.
This morning Mr McAdam seems to be having a go at me for having a book coming out on the case to ban driven grouse shooting. Obviously he hasn’t read the book, but he thinks my motives for spending my time promoting the plight of the hen harrier are to make money, it seems. Crikey – if you can tell me how to make money out of spending your time campaigning as an individual then please let me know. Yawn!
What characterises these tweets from the boss of the organisation said to represent Scottish land owners (tweeting, no doubt, of course, in a private capacity (whatever that means)) is that he attacks the people with whom he disagrees but cannot engage with their arguments. Mr McAdam scores highly on the Lagopus delusion index.
Saying that there are 500 pairs of Hen Harrier in Scotland and neglecting to mention the missing 1000 pairs is like a police officer, asked about the murder rate, saying ‘Look, we have a murderer in prison, let me show you’, and extolling the beauty of heather is like a businessman who runs a sweat-shop saying ‘But we do have pretty curtains, don’t we?’.
So let’s try again to get Mr McAdam to engage with the issues; what are you going to do about the two thirds of Hen Harriers missing from Scotland’s hills? And what are you going to do about reducing the harmful impacts of burning on blanket bog?
Twitter is not the best place to have a proper debate about the facts of an issue. A better place would be between the covers of a book where the issues can be examined in rather more detail. I’ll look forward to Doug McAdam’s response to the 100,000 words about grouse shooting and the way forward which is published at the end of the month. Maybe he will then engage with the issues – maybe he’ll write his own book. I’ll look forward to that.