Inglorious Duncan Thomas of BASC

Inglorious PB loDuncan Thomas works for BASC – he is their North of England Director. His Twitter handle is @DuncanBASC.

Mr Thomas will, I understand, be on Countryfile this evening talking about grouse shooting.

Over the last year and a bit Mr Thomas has shown a rather persistent interest in my finances (nothing to see here!). In particular he has repeatedly asked how much of the money I raise from sales of Inglorious I will donate to practical nature conservation work. It’s a bit of a cheek since I don’t ask him how much he earns, but now that we have passed 100,000 signatures I’ll tell him the embarrassing truth.

Bloomsbury paid me an advance of £3000 to write Inglorious. That was fine with me – I wanted to write a book that set out the facts about the driven grouse shooting industry as part of a campaign to get it banned. An advance is a payment ‘in advance’ of royalties (the author’s cut of book sales – see below) which in theory is a debt – the publisher can ask for some or all of their money back if sales are poor (and certainly if the manuscript is sub-standard or not delivered at all).

So, £3000 as  an advance.

In addition, I was paid £500 for writing the extra chapter for the paperback edition.

So, now we are up to £3500 – are you following this Duncan?

Take away from that the author’s, (that’s me) share of legal expenses in getting the manuscript read by a lawyer – £750.

So now we are down to £2750 – are you still with me Duncan?

In addition, I have sold signed copies of Inglorious myself, having bought them with my author’s discount from the publisher.  I can’t be bothered to look up how many copies that is, but let’s say it is as many as 300 copies, which I doubt, and that I make £2/copy, which I don’t. Let’s say that’s another £600 in sales.

We’re back up to £3350 now. Are you coping Duncan?

That’s about it for income. I give talks about why we should ban driven grouse shooting, and I write articles, for some of which I have been paid, but I’m not including them here because Mr Thomas wanted to know about my huge earnings from Inglorious but they wouldn’t add up to much money and, in any case, I would have done them even if I didn’t have a book published.

Now writing a book does have some costs (if you write about Passenger Pigeons you might travel to the USA to do the research), and travel and buying research material etc does cost money. Shall we call it £1000 just to make things simple?

So now we are down to £2350 ‘profit’. And that of course is taxable.

We haven’t taken any account of my time so far have we? How long would it take you, Mr Thomas, to write 100,000 word book? Let’s say it took me 3 months actual work – most would say that is pretty damned quick – but then I do write quickly.  That’s not the end of it though – there is working with an editor ( a delight – but still it takes time), reading proofs, all that stuff with lawyers, getting copyright permissions (the author’s job) etc etc. Shall we say another 3 months, to make things simple?  That’s 6 months time overall (an underestimate rather than an overestimate).

So for 6 months work, and if I might say, quite skilled and difficult work that not everyone could do (could you Mr Thomas – just wondering?), I have made about £2350 – that’s  equivalent to an annual income for writing Inglorious (before tax) of £4700pa.

And you, Duncan Thomas, really have the nerve, on your BASC twitter account, to ask how much of my earnings I am donating to anything?

Of course, Inglorious may sell fantastically well for decades to come – but that’s a bit unlikely isn’t it? If it does, then every April, or so, I will get a cheque for royalties of 10% (I think) of net receipts. Now net receipts are not what you pay for the book, but what the publisher sells it for, which clearly is way below the cover price and way below what you pay as a buyer of the book (and something over which the author has no control).

So, when you buy the paperback Inglorious at the Bird Fair this weekend you will be contributing to my finances to the order of about 50p or so, before tax, and I don’t get the money until April 2017. My, what a money earner it is!

But I wrote Inglorious as part of a campaign (that’s why you will find the url to the e-petition on p11 of the paperback edition) and now we know it’s a successful campaign, to get 100,000 signatures to ban driven grouse shooting, not to make money. Just as well really isn’t it?


37 Replies to “Inglorious Duncan Thomas of BASC”

  1. I’ve met Duncan Thomas on a number of occasions in the last few years, mostly when he was a wildlife crime officer. Whilst he undoubtedly did some good things in that role he seemed to have a thing about raptor workers and not a good thing, ask any raptor worker in Bowland for details. He seemed hell bent on imposing himself as the arbiter of all that pertained to Peregrines in particular, yes there were problems, as ever in Bowland and some very nasty politics. Thomas ran roughshod over people who knew far more about peregrines than he ever will without solving any of the existing problems and indeed creating more. That he was heavily into shooting meant he was never entirely trusted and this was proved correct in many eyes when birds failed in suspicious circumstances he often took the side of game management against raptor workers.
    Looking from the outside Thomas was equally a *****, a ******* and an ******. Now of course he is high in BASC but those impressions have not changed. It was Thomas that claimed that the disappeared 4 male harriers in Bowland last year had gone off looking for other females, leaving their existing mates to fail. It was of course nonsense then and still is.
    One might equally ask of him —How did you manage to shoot in so many places as a humble policeman, some with very dubious reputations and was this not a huge conflict of interest with being a wildlife officer?

    1. Good question Paul, one that I have heard a few people ask.

      Presumably being such a dutiful public servant, in the event of having been offered free or subsidised days shooting, Mr Thomas will have rigorously adhered to the Code of Ethics reacting to gifts, gratutuities and hospitality. As such any gifts received or offered will be on record, and presumably obtainable through an FOI request?

      Read below:

      ‘Police officers, special constables and police staff are subject to standards of professional behaviour and the Code of Ethics, chief amongst which is that which relates to honesty and integrity. This standard specifically states that officers and staff are honest, act with integrity, do not compromise or abuse their position and makes it clear that officers and staff should never solicit the offer of any gift, gratuity, favour or hospitality in any way connected to or arising from their role within the police service, whether on or off duty.’

      ‘As a further guiding principle, police officers, special constables and staff should not accept the offer of any gift, gratuity, favour or hospitality as to do so might compromise their impartiality or give rise to a perception of such compromise.’

      ‘Offers of a gift, gratuity or hospitality vary widely accordingly to the circumstances and will range from readily identifiable examples of criminality (such as a breach of the Bribery Act 2010) through to instances of entirely appropriate and reasonable extension of gratitude and common courtesy which do not amount to any suggestion of any breach of integrity of any party’.

      ‘The provisions of the Bribery Act 2010 contains two general offences covering the offering, promising or giving of a bribe (active bribery) and the requesting, agreeing to receive or accepting a bribe (passive bribery) at sections 1 and 2 respectively. The provisions of the Act extend the definition of bribery to include seeking (or agreeing) to bring about improper performance of duties which includes a public function such as policing. Improper performance amounts to any breach of an expectation that a person will act in good faith, impartially, or in accordance with a position of trust.

      ‘The Act does not prohibit reasonable and proportionate hospitality and promotional or other similar business expenditure intended to improve the image of a commercial organisation, to better present products and services, or to establish cordial relations. It is, however, clear that hospitality and promotional or other similar business expenditure can be employed as bribes. Considerations in this regard will include the degree of lavishness of a gratuity or hospitality connected to the business in question. The existence or otherwise of previously offered or accepted gratuities or hospitality may also be relevant.’

      ‘During the course of their duties in the community, police officers, special constables or staff may well occasionally be offered gifts or hospitality which do not in any circumstances amount to any breach of integrity on the part of either party. Examples of such include the provision of light refreshments as a common courtesy in line with policing duties, inexpensive promotional products from partnerships or conferences, or discounts aimed at all members of the wider police service.’

      ‘Officers and staff should be aware that at times a refusal to accept such an offer may cause unnecessary offence or might hinder productive working relationships. Equally, to accept such an offer may be misinterpreted and could lead to inaccurate expectations of favour or service. Where doubt exists, advice should be sought from the Professional Standards Department.’

      ‘Where it does not prove possible to tactfully refuse or return any offered gratuity or hospitality the recipient should ensure an entry is made in the register of gifts and hospitality.’

      ‘As a minimum, entries should include the nature of the offer, the surrounding circumstances in which the offer was made, the estimated value of the gift, gratuity or hospitality and whether permission to accept any such officer was sought or granted. Force guidance should identify the level of seniority at which approval for acceptance of a gift, gratuity or hospitality should be made.’

      ‘Declarations of offers of gifts, gratuities or hospitality, irrespective of whether accepted or rejected by the recipient, should be made to ensure integrity and particularly in instances where there is a concern over the motivation behind the offer of the gift, gratuity or hospitality.’

    2. Do you know anything about Phil Gunning. His name came up in this Guardian article.
      “Are they gamekeepers that killed these birds? It’s supposition,” said Phil Gunning, a retired police inspector who runs a grouse syndicate.

      I agree with those who have said that Mark’s money is the usual grouse-lobby red herring and isn’t worth responding to but if it allows us to in turn ask these people what perks they received whilst working in the police then it is a different matter.

      Here is a photo of Gunning with a Hen Harrier chick on Bowland but what that photo has to do with the article or what the article has to do with Lancashire is beyond me.

      That same stand alone photo caption appears here.

        1. Yes Mark he really is called that and is the leading man in the syndicate that leases the Croasdale and Whitendale moors from UU in Bowland. I knew he was a member of the funny handshake brigade (masons) but I have no idea whether friend Thomas is or not.

        1. My theory is that Red Dwarf whilst in a co-incidence warp crashed and every piece scattered and every piece landed on every single driven grouse moor and since then the total number of co-incidence in the UK have all been on driven grouse moors.
          It’s the only explanation.

  2. I think you were ‘write’ to set out the amount of work you have done with these books. Not for Mr Thomas’s benefit but for many folk who have an interest in ‘righting’. May be one question needs answering. Did you have an agent to get this work or did Bloomsbury see you as a ‘shining star’ and now them and other publishers now just ask the question ‘will it sell’? The publishing industry has many draw backs especially when it comes to agents who also want a slice of the ‘money’. [nearly as bad as football agents!] May be readers could give you some ideas for new books that need doing like ‘the definition of livestock’ for one!

    1. John – I have an excellent agent (see the contacts page on this website) but she was not involved in Inglorious.

  3. If Duncan Thomas thinks that is a significant issue anyway, he is surely short of relevant points to make.

  4. Smokescreen! Its an obfuscation that has no relevance at all to anything – other than perhaps your tax bracket. Just as well you have that feather-bedded, gold-plated conservationist pension to rely on in the future.

    Brilliant to see your article when i opened the Walk Highlands website this morning. Spreading the truth, and more eyes on the hills.

    I resume its going to get pretty bumpy from here. Keep it going. Lets shine a really bright light into the dark recesses of this business.

    Finally, and seeing as how much you are earning from your writing, can I offer you a fish supper next time you’re up here. Seems the least I could do.

  5. Who does he think you are, John Grisham? They can’t win the argument (as they’re just plain wrong, and vile, and blood-thirsty, and horribly destructive canned-hunt supporters) so they attack the motivation of their opponents, with no basis at all.
    Well done to you for laying it out clearly. I had heard that being an author wasn’t a money-spinner, but hadn’t realised it was as bad as this! Wonder how much of his income he donates to real, proper, nature conservation, not to destroying the land – which he apparently works at 8hrs a day.

  6. Greater transparency hath no man! Given that you didn’t have to divulge this information it is honourable that you have Mark. Another example of the credibility of the whole campaign, that it has been based on scientifically based fact, and not resorted to smear, lies, distortion or the pulling of strings in high places – on top of the law breaking and cover ups at the heart of matters.
    Strikes me that at this stage the triumph of evil has been countered by the efforts of some very good people. Real people who know how to play the game as opposed to some very unsporting types.
    Besides, I always realised that until you broke into the JK Rowling scale of things the stakes remained pretty small scale but your breakdown is illuminating. A hallmark of this blog – educational as well as entertaining. Let’s hope Mr. Thomas is capable of taking on board the reality and that he’s the sort of sportsman who can accept it in good spirit.

  7. “Practical nature conservation work” sounds like the same attack that they make on the RSPB ie please restrict yourselves to some tinkering at the edges but leave us to carry on doing what we do. It is hearts and minds that we need to change and the work that you and others have done is clearly getting to them. People on the “other side” may pay some attention but quite clearly no-one does. The momentum is with us-and they know it. The longer they carry on their attacks and denials-really the better it is for our campaign. Far harder if they were a rational,sensible,scientifically based bunch.

  8. What right has Mr Thomas got to ask you to reveal your income. Perhaps he would like to disclose his own income when he left his job as a Wildlife Crime Officer in the area of Bowland Lancashire to his new position as a Director of BASC.

    1. Julie – he has no right but I guess it is part of a failing campaign to make out that I am making a fortune out of this campaign. It’s another aspect of playing the man and not the ball. But I was happy to wait until we passed 100,000 signatures before getting into this.

      1. I am amazed at how stupid the leaders of these shooting organisations are. They aren’t even clever enough to realise that they should employ someone clever to run their campaigns! Fools.

  9. Not at all surprising. Thank you. Always rather refreshing to take the plunge and discuss money, I find.

    One of the upshots of this is, of course, that folk, like me, who meant to contribute a week or so ago or whenever you made the gentle appeal for a bit of dosh to print leaflets and who have not got round to it yet should get on with it. In fact we should be thinking about digging a little deeper because that petition which has been so all absorbing was only a means to an end. We do not of course need to feel guilty about the delay all that listening to the radio, scanning social media and nerdish petition watching was very distracting and delightful.

    Money will continue to matter. I have been fascinated by the Avalanche Effect. I don’t think it was HenHarrier day alone. I think it was, for different reasons, the leaflets and the videos – both of which cost money ( although I noted expenses only for the film crew – no mention of fees – big hurrah for them, then). Amongst other things those attracted media attention and all that rather random and, to us, unsatisfactory stuff suggests that indeed ‘no publicity is bad publicity’. So it looks like that money was wisely and effectively invested. Impressively so. Another small (thank goodness there are so many of us) contribution on its way to you.

    1. Susan – many thanks. And you will be interested in the next blog to appear here today which confirms what you have said (you are very wise – always have been!).

    2. It would be very interesting to know just how many signed after listening to Sir Ian Botham’s car crash debate with Chris Packham on Friday. Clearly the Moorland Association are pretty desperate if Botham’s bluster was the best that they could come up with as a counterweight.

  10. Well Mark, in the spirit of openness, I might as well ask the question then.

    Have you ever received any financial payment of any form from LACS?

    1. kie – I’m not going to answer every impertinent question about my sorry finances but I am happy to answer that one as I’ve answered it before – I think on Twitter.

      No I have never received any payment from LACS – it works the other way around – I am a supporter of them and so I give them money (although, obviously not much!).

      If you look a t the tab labelled ABOUT on the tab labelled HOME on this website you will find that I list my sources of income for the years 2011-14. It’s only looking at that that I realise it isn’t up to date with 2015. But 2015 looks quite like the other years.

      I will just point out that you hide behind anonymity when asking these questions.

    2. What spirit of openness? Mark is the only one offering that.
      No need to hide your red herrings in ‘a spirit of openess’ it is as clear as day anyway

    3. You just don’t get it do you Kie? You and those unfortunate people like you cannot conceive that other people might be motivated by anything other than selfishness and greed. I feel sorry for you actually.

  11. Mr Thomas clearly likes to ask impertinent questions thinking it passes for debate. That being the case, perhaps he could discuss his former role and interests in respect of the Lancashire Constabulary’s Code of Ethics which, following the College of Policing’s guidelines, state under “Associations”
    “6.3 – Membership of groups or societies, or associations with groups or individuals, must not create an actual or apparent conflict of interest with police work and responsibilities.
    6.4 – The test is whether a reasonably informed member of the public might reasonably believe that your membership or association could adversely affect your ability to discharge your policing duties effectively and impartially”.

    It seems abundantly clear that both in his associations and his negative attitude towards perfectly respectable experts (with whom he would inevitably have liaise and work with) that a “reasonably informed member of the public” might “reasonably believe” that his ability to perform his duties were compromised. Note that it is unnecessary to prove that any impropriety took place (and there’s no evidence that it did) but that a reasonable suspicion exists that there might be a conflict of interest and that this would reflect ill on the force. Given the clarity of these guidelines, it is not unreasonable to question how he was appointed to the post in the first place. Carrying impertinence still further it might well be interesting to ask whether he too is a mason.

  12. The most disturbing thing about your article Mark, is that Countryfile is, once again, being used as a propaganda vehicle for those who are responsible for the illegal persecution of raptors, and the legal, but morally reprehensible, practices of killing Corvids and ground predators.

    When are the BBC, given that they cannot use Packham, going to invite you on to Coutnryfile to put the case against driven grouse shooting?

    1. Mr Thomas

      To demonstrate that you are not a hypocrite perhaps you should now respond to the questions asked of you?

      Then again, open transparent conduct is not in keeping with the ethics let alone practice of upland grouse moor management claiming public benefits?

  13. A gamekeeper once told me that Thomas in his wildlife officer guise was regarded as ‘a useful idiot’ by the gamekeepers in Bowland…

    Just saying.

  14. “No man but a blockhead ever wrote, save for money”. Does he expect you to be like a grouse moor owner, and take money from the taxpayers?


    The field sport marksman stealthily strode,
    His weapon primed with lethal load,
    To skulk behind a moorland hide,
    Where countless birds had flown and died,
    Pheasant, snipe, grouse and partridge,
    Wantonly dispatched with twelve bore cartridge,
    Once in range and at his leisure,
    Brutally slaughtered for sadistic pleasure.

    Again the quarry was lined in sight,
    Then blasted apart whilst in mid-flight,
    A brief explosion of gore and feather,
    Fell to earth on blood drenched heather,
    The shattered creature hit the ground,
    Retrieved by ever faithful hound,
    Obediently dropped at shooter’s feet,
    Once winged elegance now dead meat.

    Steve Walmsley – circa 1988

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