Firm briefing 13 – the BASC firm line

799px-Houses.of_.parliament.overall.arp_A new line has begun to appear in some standard letters being sent out by MPs, overwhelmingly by Conservative MPs, in response to your letters to them about the debate on driven grouse shooting.  I suspect that these are designed to be used in responses to BASC members but have found their way into replies to some of you.

The line is ‘I applaud the strong line that the British Association for Shooting and Conservation takes on this matter, and would urge that it continue.’.

You can see these words on three MP websites Andrew Bingham MP (569 signatures), Mel Stride MP (360 signatures), Nigel Adams MP (226 signatures) and in letters/emails from some MPs too (eg Mark Garnier MP, (222 signatures)).  Three of these four MPs are members of the APPG on Shooting (and Conservation ho!ho!) which is serviced by BASC.

If my MP included this in a letter to me I would write back as follows:

I was intrigued by the line in your letter ‘I applaud the strong line that the British Association for Shooting and Conservation takes on this matter, and would urge that it continue.‘ as, apart from being against wildlife crime like every other organisation is, I am not aware of BASC having a strong line. Could you please clarify what you meant by this? Given that you went rather out of your way to mention this in your letter, what evidence do you have that BASC is going out of its way to reduce wildlife crime on grouse moors.

I notice that you are a member of the APPG on Shooting and Conservation which is  serviced by BASC. Have you ever shot a grouse yourself?

MPs sometimes hope we won’t notice these things or pick up on them. If we do, it keeps them on their toes.  And no doubt BASC will have to spend some time drafting a paragraph for MPs to use in their replies to you – let’s call it the overheads of advertising.




11 Replies to “Firm briefing 13 – the BASC firm line”

  1. What strong line ? The only one I’ve picked up is against any sort of change and against ‘eco-zealots’. The ‘line’ on lead is even starker than on Grouse shooting: an easy PR win for shooting, which was mindlessly discarded.

  2. these MPs (and mine too) are self-serving as well serving their master. What they don’t do is serve the majority of their constituents.
    I have a draw full of written response from my MP (A. Burt) and the only thing of note is the quality of stationery used. The content is utter rubbish, cow towing the Tory line and not answering any specific questions raised. Not worthy to serve in my opinion.

  3. One thing they these MP’s forget, it’s the people that vote them in and the people can vote them out. I’ve got a Tory MP in my constituency and he is as useful as an ashtray on a motorbike. The Torys are not listening to the people and I for one are fed up with it, maybe we can start another petition to call for a general election to rid us of these people and their high ranking mates. If only Jeremy Corbyn had a pair of balls! This Country’s Wildlife is going to be wiped out very soon under the Greenest Government ever. Look at the idiot on the horse who ploughed that poor woman down, got off Not Guilty. Perhaps people could write to the opposing party stating that there is a conflict of interest, because the MP’s with the BASC tag line are certainly not going to be standing up with banners flying to support the ban. I was going to suggest writing to the EU, but I would imagine they wouldn’t ***s on us if we were on fire.

  4. I will tell you what BASC strong line will be: “We utterly condemn the abhorrent persecution of protected birds of prey and urge all our members to report any illegal activity to the police.” in a nutshell. May be abhorrent and utterly are a bit too strong for them. What their members actually do is off course up to them, since “any erosion of liberty is also condemned.” Note also reporting illegal activity to the police and no-one else.

  5. The expected, patronising reply from my MP.

    “Dear Mr. Cooper,

    Thank you for contacting me about grouse shooting and I do understand you have considerable personal interest in the topic.
    I share your concerns over the illegal persecution of raptors and I would encourage anyone with information about it to report what they know to the authorities. I believe that the Government’s commitment to tackling wildlife crime was highlighted by its decision to fund the UK’s specialist National Wildlife Crime Unit fully until at least 2020.
    With regard to concerns about the impact of grouse shooting on moorland, in my view game management can make an important contribution to biodiversity by providing cover for wildlife, and through the creation and care of habitats such as woodland, grouse moors, beetle banks and hedgerows. You may be interested to know that the vast majority of grouse moors that are sites of special scientific
    interest are now in favourable or recovering condition, whereas only around half were in that state in 2006. This reflects growing awareness among moorland managers of the importance and sensitivity of upland biodiversity.
    Game management plays an important role in the rural economy, generating income and employment in some of our
    most remote communities. For example, shooting contributes in the region of £2 billion to the rural economy and supports the equivalent of around 70,000 full-time jobs. I will therefore continue to support shooting sports and the rights of all those who wish to use firearms safely and in accordance with the law.

    I hope this reassures you and thank you again for taking the time to contact me.

    Yours sincerely,


    1. Sorry folks!

      In my haste, I failed to notice that this was the same stock reply featured elsewhere on Mark’s blog. I also forgot to add that the sender is one Mark Garnier.

  6. Safe seats will never change from personal or party preferences. Democracy, sorry ‘a representative’ one. Made and arranged, so offers to ….

    There must surely be something in the parliamentary protocols or procedures which will take account of potential conflict of interests, surely such honourable folk (either side) will declare an interest?

    Then again, there are times when I am inclined to think they make it up as they go along or are caught out.

  7. My MP responded to the initial mail-out with something which, whilst not the standard Tory response, was rubbish and innacurate. I responded with some clarifications, asking a few more questions and received the automatic acknowledgement stating I would receive a response within 14 days. 17 days and still waiting for that response. expect nothing more, really.


  8. Louise, MPs have constituency case workers, perhaps check out how many yours has? Phone the office and enquire when you might receive a substantive response? Perhaps you offer to meet with them?

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