Allow me a moment of pride – please? Then back to work!

I’m rather proud of this – many people have got us this far – but only I get this email.


OK – that’s enough feeling pleased – lots of hard work ahead!

Let’s see how high we can get the signature total by midnight on 20 September (two weeks today) – get all your friends to sign the e-petition to ban driven grouse shooting.

But also if you haven’t written to your MP then please do.   Here are some useful links:

And if you could tyell me what your MP says that would be great too (



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34 Replies to “Allow me a moment of pride – please? Then back to work!”

  1. Mark, I got this email although a bit later than you did so I suspect we all did. Is it usual to hear evidence before scheduling a debate. This is an opportunity to write to an MP in a different way. I haven’t written to mine yet as it is difficult to know how to phrase it to Mr Gray. This email is now instructing me that it wants M.Ps informed. That gives me a much clearer idea as to how to start this letter.

  2. I’ve had one saying almost the same but “…you’ve recently signed a petition…” followed by all the same text as your below. But no reply yet from my MP (Karen Bradley, a third of whose Staffordshire Moorlands Constituency is in the Peak District) in spite of me contacting her twice, once with the original email, and then last week another saying I’d like a reply before the debate.

  3. I don’t think anyone will begrudge you your moment of pride Mark (well, actually, there probably are a few!). Thank you for driving the cause for a better future for our uplands.

  4. Brilliant Mark, many congratulations. I received an email as I signed the petition (proudly in the first 100). They want briefing, they’ll get firm briefing!

  5. A huge hunk of hubris is allowed, washed down with half a bottle of liquid happiness. There’s nowhere to fall.
    A parliamentary preview to the debate – THE DEBATE – you couldn’t wish for more.
    Well done, Mark.

    1. I hope not since “hubris” is overweening and foolish pride which usually ends with divine retribution for such effrontery at the hands of Nemesis! Let’s leave hubristic disappointment to the other side who by their actions, blithe assumption that they could carry on as usual and defiance of the law more fittingly can be described as hubristic. I think Mark’s pride is better regarded as that deep glow of satisfaction at a good job well done.

      1. Thanks. Yes, a stupid choice of word. But at least if any hubris were to creep in there is still nowhere to fall: the arguments for BDGS are secure.

  6. All signatories have received an email but I feel it begs several questions. From whom will MPs be hearing evidence and in what context? And, how will this context be separate from a debate itself? I’m sure you will be pursuing details on this situation, Mark, to establish if it is normal procedure.

    1. Sandra – I do know a little more than the email says but cannot say at the moment. Generally speaking – it’s all good news!

    2. Good news though this clearly is, like Sandra Padfield, I’m afraid to completely trust government wording.

      “Before setting a date for the debate, the Committee would like the House of Commons to have the chance to hear evidence on this issue. This will help to inform MPs taking part in the House of Commons debate.”

      As she wonders, is this standard practice, evidence from whom, what format, how long is this diversion likely to delay the debate, how can we influence..?

      Much more comfortable that this is all in Mark’s Master Plan! Fantastic milestone, nonetheless.

  7. Wow; as a cynical, and now retired, watcher of politics this is a HUGE achievement. With the right briefing this could be a very uncomfortable moment for the establishment – possibly a point of leverage. Let me know if I can help.

    Ps – the moment of pride should include more than ‘a beer’ …

  8. Delighted to add my congratulations and stand you a drink on Friday!

    As you say, hard work ahead but conservation has always been about challenge and opportunity?

  9. So, to a brief celebratory update;

    Today’s words: huge grin

    Sunday 4th September finished on: 119,455 (+227 signatures)
    Monday 5th September finished on: 119,608 (+153 signatures)
    Tuesday 6th September finished on: 119,950 (+342 signatures)
    The week’s signatures so far: 722

    We are looking on course for a significantly higher weekly total then for the previous 7 days (985 signatures).

    14 days to go.

  10. 4 million signed the 2nd referendum petition. Another 800k signatures from the RSPB membership would help. Why haven’t they been reached? You can’t tell us the plan. I hope it’s a good one. As Harry Carpenter once said “Get in there”

    1. Fight Dirty – if you are an RSPB member you could ask them! But it’s because they favour stronger regulation rather than a ban – it’s a long story ‘brilliantly’ told in my book Inglorious- conflict in the uplands. Having secured a debate, the RSPB will be arguing for change – just a different (less effective IMHO) form of change. RSPB would argue it’s more likely to happen.

      1. Mark, I’m not an RSPB member and won’t be banging my head up against that brick wall any time soon.

        I found out about them when I was a member and tried to get their advice and guidance regarding a personal initiative to combat Turtle Dove slaughter being organised by a British company. The offered non! A few months later they took on my idea and asked me (plus 999.999 others) to fund it!!

        Its all about the dosh really isn’t it? 100 years of the RSPB and then they produce the State of Nature Report. As the SNP MP said to David Davis the other day regarding his Brexit Status Report “Is that it – what have you been doing (all summer)”!!!

  11. ‘Stronger’? I’d generally consider stronger to suggest being effective in thia context. if that were the case then it would need to be enforceable and to quote the grousers – there are no convictions, so unlikely of suceeding? Regulation or another voluntary code being introduced and heralded as sucess by some but effective, yeah? No matter as there will be no interuption to business as usual, the status quo rumbles on for how many decades more? Raptors continue to be lost from vast swathes of suitable habitat whilst we fund them to the tune of £56 per hectare?

    Carry on with the push for the ban ….

    In the interim, enjoy the glow with sight of the next on the horizon ….

    1. Sorry, Mark, but I’ve got to agree with Nimby. You’ve done fantastic job in building momentum towards a ban, then along comes the RSPB, piggybacking on your success and proposing a much feebler solution.
      If I were a grouse shooter, I’d start making conciliatory noises and agreeing that tighter regulation is indeed the best way forward. The legislative wheels start turning (very slowly), the steam gradually goes out of the ban campaign, and very little changes on the ground.
      I agree that ‘tighter regulation’ is much more likely to happen than a ban. The shooters may well go along with it – but only because they know that they have little to fear.

      1. AlanTwo – you won’t see any concession from the shooters. You see.

        The RSPB is free to use the opportunity of the debate to promote its policies – that’s life. The RSPB will have to be a lot clearer about what its proposal is, and how it might work.

        1. But the shooters are always making concessions, like joining PAWC, working with the LAG, signing up to the HH recovery non-plan, working tirelessly to weed out bad apples…
          The snag is, none of them mean anything.
          Of course, the RSPB is free to do what it likes. But sometimes what it does strikes me as not very helpful.

        2. AlanTwo, RSPB can roll over and be tickled by shooters, that’s their prerogative as Mark suggests. They signed up to the [In]Action Plan – great timing when they saw it for what it was and withdrew their support.

          Not just RSPB, 47 combined membership is reputedly 850,000 …. the usual suspects (but accept there are some exceptions) are, sadly, deafeningly silent?

          Reality and past observation sense they (grousers) will use the façade of voluntary code or light touch regulation to carry on regardless, but for the time being RSPB may attempt to run the show and claim success but I am inclined to agree with Mark, grousers will not accept any concessions
          so I fail to see how any ‘compromise’ can be achieved to allow any claim of success, but ever an agnostic?

          No compromise, then there is a case to be made to remove any public funding from the driven grouse estates on the basis of no public benefit so no public funding?

          The RSPB are in something of a predicament, I can see all sides but …. if Mark is ok with them using the platform he’s achieved through this petition aspect of the campaign then we remain patient but the momentum should continue to seek a ban on driven grouse shooting IMHO.

          Like Sandra Padfield, I agree we need to ensure that any ‘evidence’ is able to be cross examined and challenged. Media spin is not robust science. Wouldn’t it be nice if we at grassroots could trust government to conduct business in an open and transparent manner and be accountable for their conduct and any subsequent actions?

          1. I think you said it exactly right – the shooters will not make any worthwhile concessions, but will be delighted to hide behind the façade of a voluntary code or light touch regulation. This could effectively kick the issue into the long grass for years to come.
            I’m really, really worried that it will be difficult to maintain the momentum that Mark and other have worked so hard to build up while such a process grinds slowly along towards eventual failure.

    2. Nimby, as others have suggested I really would avoid the hubris! The sound of hackles rising is deafening!!

      1. ? Fight Dirty – you suggest I am guilty of hubris?

        Excessive pride or self confidence, where have I indulged in either?

  12. Slightly off-topic, but following your retweet of Countryman’s Weekly’s tweet of Guardian article (, the final two paragraphs stand out.

    Spot the Difference:
    “Tim Russell, BASC director of conservation, said: ‘We welcome this debate because it provides an opportunity to correct some of the misinformation that has been spread by anti-shooting extremists. Grouse shooting makes a significant contribution to the economy, provides jobs and investment in some of the UK’s most remote areas and offers important benefits for wildlife and habitat conservation.’

    “In response to the petition, the environment department said: ‘When carried out according to the law, grouse shooting is a legitimate activity and in addition to its significant economic contribution, providing jobs and investment in some of our most remote areas, it can offer important benefits for wildlife and habitat conservation.'”

    Who’s copying whose notes?

    1. Perhaps consequential of the level of toxic lead in their grouse burgers on one of those fact finding / hospitality days out on a grouse shoot?

    2. They fight a good dirty fight don’t they? The environment department didn’t use the word extremist. Is that the difference? I hope it’s not going to be Queensberry rules vs Tyson.

  13. Thanks Cicely for the link. Ive commented on the article thus and now I really must stop wasting brain cells!:

    Remember these scenes at Hebden Bridge

    Mark Avery wrote on his blog: “According to the Environment Agency the years in which Hebden Bridge has been flooded seriously are: 1946, 2000, 2006, 2007, 2012, 2012 again and 2015. Richard Bannister acquired Walshaw Moor and started the increased drainage, building of tracks and car parks etc which got him into a dispute with Natural England in 2002. So in the 13 years since Walshaw Moor changed hands there have been five Hebden Bridge floods and in the 56 years before there were two such events as best we can tell. That’s quite a change. Makes you think doesn’t it?”

    It does make you think! Doesn’t it? – that literally hundreds of households and businesses “downstream” are suffering hideously from the effects of actions taken “upstream” to maximise the “bag” for shooters.

    I don’t mind that people shoot game birds, I do mind that other legally protected species appear to be systemmatically wiped out as a consequence of commercial considerations and I am completely incredulous that first line defences against flooding can be so seriously compromised and yet nothing is done about it. Theresa May promised to tackle “burning issues of injustice” in her inaugrual speech. This is indeed a test of that pledge.

    1. May also talked of “making things work for the many not the few” (or words to that effect) but how long before that goes the same way her predecessor’s pledge of being the greenest government ever? Then we saw true colours and the cutting of the green c**p?

      No serious opposition, what a mess but if nothing else it has motivated grass roots activism? Sadly, IMHO, I fear that politics is something of a farce all round at the moment?

  14. Great work Mark, but I fear it’s just the beginning, people who enjoy killing for fun won’t just go away, these are the same people who think it’s acceptable to kill Foxes, Badgers, pheasants, etc etc, it’s a mindset that all right minded people should oppose, we need to stop focusing on individual species and focus on the perpetrators.

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