Thank you so much – 123,075

end2At midnight last night our e-petition to ban driven grouse shooting closed at 123,075 signatures. We now move on to a period of Firm Briefing to MPs and an evidence session in front of the House of Commons Petitions Committee and a debate amongst our MPs.

But ‘thank you’ all 123,075 of you for getting us this far.  I guess I have met a few thousand of you over the years.  Some have become firm friends, others I’m sure would do if we ever saw each other but have become familiar names through this blog and other social media.  Others I must have passed in the street, or perhaps sat next to on a train, or stood nearby on the Tube, without them knowing who I was or me knowing them at all.

When I started the first of three e-petitions on this subject I had no idea where it would lead – and was relieved and delighted when nearly 11 months later we reached 22,399 signatures. That felt like a massive achievement – and actually, I think it was.

Our second e-petition was started with trepidation for it would only last 6 months due to a change in the rules – would we even reach the previous total? We did, thanks to all of you – I should have had more faith in you and in myself.

I was fairly sure in March this year that we had the momentum to cross the 50,000 signature barrier but I thought the likelihood of getting to 100,000 signatures was low. Maybe we would almost get there, in the 80,000s, if we did really well.  Again, I should have had more faith in you and the group of strong friends and supporters around me who have done so much to get us to this amazing total.

I really would like to thank each and every person who has signed this petition personally – but this will have to do;





24 Replies to “Thank you so much – 123,075”

  1. No…….. thank you Mark!

    I’m sure we all realise its going to be a long journey, but you certainly have pushed us down the road with gusto.

    We now have the public attention and most importantly, people have begun to realise that they have been lied to for decades; our uplands and moorlands could be much richer and more attractive; the habitats could work for us rather than against us…. and it does not have to be this way.

    Dare to believe that change can happen and who knows maybe it might just happen.

  2. Many, many thanks to you Mark. You are really brilliant. Our wildlife is lucky to have you on its side.

  3. What an amazing effort from lots of people.
    Now let’s hope that MP’s listen to the arguments and don’t just follow party lines.
    Well done to all!!!!

  4. As Circus maxima says, we now have the public’s attention and that is important, we need to keep the “juggernaut” on the road. The State of Nature reminds us that there is still an incredible amount of work still to be done.

    Perhaps we could clone you and place secondments in various organisations and in the halls of power? Others need to take up the baton but lest they lapse into the usual lethargy ‘we’ still need to maintain the profile of mis-management and the persecution etc.

    You’ve been absolutely amazing, Chris Packham too, Bill Oddie, LACS, BAWC and many others – here’s to the next phase but in the interim, raise a glass or two to the 123,075!

  5. Hi Mark
    I read last night somewhere that the GWCT (game and wildlife comedy trust) are raising funds (£10000) for propaganda, they say to inform politicians before the debate. This will no doubt involve buying them wine at a an estate somewhere and handing them a number of rhetorical fallacies which they can use to dismiss any argument against grouse shooting. That will be things like that animal rights extremists have infiltrated the RSPB etc. No doubt there will be a stinktank (spelling mistake) involved, which will contrive arguments effectively trying to tell people what to think. Some political recon might help, ie identify the politicians that GWCT take out and anything they say attribute to GWCT Stinktank. I thought the fee they were trying to raise (£10000) was a bit high just to produce literature to inform politicians, as they claim. This begs the question, what the ??? do they need to raise that much money for?

    1. And on that point – does our side need to raise any more funds to fight for a ban? Let us know please, Mark. I know we are not as wealthy but there are more of us.

    2. In which case then I’d like to think that our above reproach, open and honest politicians will declare an interest or at least register any gift etc.?

      The not so Game Comedy Trust (Less) and associates / followers frequently demand of Mark publication of matters between him and the tax man, again I offer that for parity then they too need to be beyond any whiff of hypocrisy?

      Then again observation of reality ….

      But, Kevin Rush reminds us of each time ‘they’ launch a public attack it backfires. It’s the insidious nature of the grousers is such that it’s the dark, dank corners we need to continue to shine lights into?

  6. Thank you for your persistence Mark. It has been a roller coaster ride. I’m sure we all have different aspirations from now on. My aspiration is to prove to the uk government, the Scottish government and the NGOs that there is an alternative to driven grouse shooting that can deliver substantial rural employment whilst removing virtually all of the negative aspects of this sport. Getting over the huge disadvantages that I, and most others like me, don’t own or run a grouse moor (yet?) and that the PR machine that is the grouse industry has a great deal of support in high places makes this almost as difficult as getting 100,000 signatures to ban driven grouse shooting.

  7. Just one word – wow! Oh and congratulations. I think there might have been a bit of a late surge in signatures last night, perhaps the irredoubtable Jim Clarke will tell us? Will it creep up a little more as people click on their confirmation emails? (still on 123,075 just now).

    I remember having some time off work in March when it first launched and getting excited watching the signatures go up (and adding my own) – little could we have imagined we’d be celebrating this milestone now.

    That’s quite a lot more than one word… congratulations again, and looking forward to the next round of firm briefing.

    1. Happy to oblige, WWI, I didn’t post anything last night as I thought it would be poor etiquette to do so before Mark had made comment on The Petition’s conclusion. We did in fact get a little bump in signing rate for the last few hours, with the total for the day being 332 (by the way I’m slightly surprised no further signatures have been added yet today; another change in the rules? Is it now sign and confirm email address before the petition deadline rather than, as formerly, just the former?).

      From a part of the world where high praise probably went out with Skaldic poetry; tha did all reet, Mark, tha did all reet!

      1. Jim – thanks for this and all your other efforts. Yes, it looks as though they’ve guillotined the click on the link bit too.

  8. Well done, Mark. Just getting this far is a massive achievement, although the opposition we face is pretty implacable. However, the story of the petition shows that, the more squealing there is from the grouse lobby, the more the public reacts in the other direction. I almost find it comical, but there’s no doubt that we saw this phenomenon in the spring and summer. It teaches us not to be afraid of campaigning by GWCT and others – in fact we should look forward to many more silly articles in the Daily Mail having precisely the opposite effect to that intended! I wonder where we’ll be at this time next year? I would guess that it will be significantly further on.

  9. Woo hoo!!!! I’m absolutely thrilled with this. It’s fabulous to see how far people power has come. We’d never have done it individually so a huge thank you to everyone who has given a voice to all of us “little people”. We’re all so grateful to Mark as our figurehead and everyone who has done anything to help – you all know who you are. Maybe I’ll even get to see a native breeding hen harrier one day now. Not that it’s all about me, it matters not if I get to tick my life list of birds but it matters hugely that hen harriers do not become extinct as a breeding species in my country. I have met you a couple of times, Mark (I’m the woman who was was the first to ask you to sign a T shirt which I hasten to add I WASN’T wearing that wet HH1 day at the Derwent Dam!) but other than that I’m easily overlooked but hey, there’s no way anyone is likely to pass you by without recognising you, you are most imposing which I mean in the nicest possible way 🙂 We all deserve a small pause for celebration now, but then we need to get back on the case helping Mark with whatever he asks us to do in support of the debate that’s coming. I hope we have a rally on the day (whenever that is!) and I look forward to meeting as many of my 123,074 fellow signatories as possible.

  10. Mark,
    Your inspiration to put in words the thoughts of the silent majority who were only too happy to support something they’ve frustratingly fretted about for years. The opposition will no doubt come up with their same platitudinous rubbish and now is the time for conservation organisations to take their gloves off and stop acting in a gentlemanly (or rather subserviently) way to big money and privilege.

  11. Well done Mark! You have inspired so many of us! Question – if the petition hadn’t reached 100,000, would you have launched a fourth? 😉

  12. Fuelled by rough wine and operating out of the foothills of cyberspace, this part-time partisan of the keyboard salutes you as a real hero and champion of the British uplands.

    A fair breeze now ruffles those moors and it is rumoured that the sweet zephyrs of the equinox plan to rise up and usher in great winds of change. Thank you.

  13. For more than forty years now I’ve been reading about the ‘legacy’ of our sporting estates which has deprived so many people of fantastic wildlife. It’s still going on and I can’t believe that in 2016 the estates are still getting away with it. The petitions have been the most significant way I’ve had to register my disgust in my 49 years on the planet, so thank you very much indeed for that.

  14. massive thanks Mark – let’s hope that your force for good can prevail.
    I do think that something we can all do to help the culture of killing that we have in UK currently is simply not to vote Tory. With the Tories in office we see only to readily that laws can be broken and the establishment turns a blind eye.

  15. Well done lad! Thaa’s dun weel.
    We are, I’m sure, all still behind you and willing iin our own small way to add some financial support whenever you ask for it.

  16. I say well done to Mark as well.

    Although it was to be expected given his experience and track record. Top scientist, top conservationist and politically astute to the extreme.

    I just wonder what sort of an organisation RSPB would be now if he’d been given the top job… More ballsy? More outspoken? Less red squirrely and hedgehoggy?

    With Mark at the helm, would RSPB 5 years ago have bought and managed a previously intensively managed driven grouse moor and by now already be starting to demonstrate the benefits of responsible (grouse?) moor management for hen harriers and other raptors (a la Hope Farm). I would think so.

    Keep up the great job, big man 🙂

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