Chris Packham and the nasty brigade

m8ALFD4rG4jR50EoMj_a--6ZDFGIz0oYz3X9zg3FAJoChris Packham has come through a BBC investigation unscathed it seems. Hooray!

But Ian Botham seems not to have forgotten the trouncing that Chris Packham gave him on the Today programme (back on 11 August) as he was quoted in the Sunday Times,This decision is a risible whitewash. Yet again it shows the BBC’s metropolitan elite insulting the intelligence of the countryside by allowing Packham to continue to use the BBC as a platform for his extreme views.’.  Still feeling sore, Sir Ian?

I found two things particularly interesting about the Sunday Times article after I had spent some time trying to imagine risible whitewash (and wondering how often Ian B uses the word risible in real life).

The most interesting thing it reveals, for I don’t recall ever having seen this before (maybe I missed it) was that the co-complainer with the Countryside Alliance was the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust.

This was what the ST wrote: ‘The Countryside Alliance and the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust complained about the article. Both said Packham was bound by BBC rules on impartiality because he was a regular presenter and that his programmes covered public policy matters.’

The GWCT complained? I’d expect to find the Countryside Alliance near the bottom of barrels but GWCT is sinking fast too.  Can you imagine GWCT getting involved in this way 15 years ago? I really do think they have  undergone a deep and rather pitiful decline over the years. I find really nothing much left to admire.

The GWCT’s spin-doctor Andrew Gilruth was quoted by the ST as saying the report failed to address concerns of a ‘deep metropolitan bias’ at the corporation, which was identified in a BBC Trust report in June 2014.  Did you notice that both Andrew and Ian are deeply concerned about the metropolitan nature of the BBC? Do they have the same script-writer?  How odd!

Gilruth refers to the report on the BBC’s rural coverage by Heather Hancock – Heather Hancock does not suffer from ‘deep metropolitan bias’ because she is a grouse moor owner, so that’s OK.

This metropolitan hang-up is very odd and the second thing that interested me.  I don’t remember Botham refusing to play at Lords because of its metropolitan nature.

As we have seen from our e-petition to ban driven grouse shooting, it is the rural constituencies, particularly many near grouse shooting areas, that have given us the greatest support. It’s places like the Calder Valley, Ross, Skye and Lochaber, Westmorland and Lonsdale and the Derbyshire Dales that are our greatest supporters not Birmingham and London.  No matter, Gilruth and Botham can keep saying metropolitan as often as they like.

Just for fun, which of these maps do you think is the map of London constituencies for our e-petition (to ban driven grouse shooting) and which for the so-called rival e-petition to protect driven grouse shooting?

Map A

us

Map B

them

Map A is ours, and there are c10,000 signatures from Greater London out of our total of 123,000 – that’s 8%.

Map B is the other e-petition, and there are c1900 signatures from Greater London out of their total of 18,000 – that’s 11%.

So a higher proportion of grouse moor supporters are metropolitan Londoners than are the supporters of a ban on driven grouse shooting.

And if we are talking ‘metropolitan elite’, which I don’t, but I know some do, then over 20% of the London support for grouse shooting comes from one constituency: that stronghold of the metropolitan elite, Fulham and Chelsea.  I’m not sure which is more interesting, the London distribution of grouse shooting’s supporters, or the fact that Botham and Gilruth seem to want to bad-mouth their own natural supporters.

 

 

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43 Replies to “Chris Packham and the nasty brigade”

    1. I can explain Countryfile. You remember the Douglas Adams quote:

      “There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable.

      There is another theory which states that this has already happened.”

      Countryfile is the living proof of that theory. Either that or there is a Jackass Genie out there with a really weird sense of humour.

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  1. Botham hasn't been entirely rational since he failed to get his leg over. It obviously had a deep psychological effect on him.

    And any contribution from an organisation whose very name is an oxymoron is going to be pretty suspect too. But the good news is that the more hysterical twaddle they both come out with, the more we've got them rattled. I wonder how long driven grouse shooting would last with a Labour government under Jeremy Corbyn?

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    1. Too true, they don't like it up 'em!

      However we feel about Botham please let's not make fun of his confession over impotence, however tempting - let's stick to "play the ball not the man" as so ably demonstrated by Mark and Chris P.

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    1. Lewis - now now! As a Somerset and Bristol boy I was a strong admirer and supporter of Botham as a cricketer. All praise to him. I remember seeing him play for Somerset against Northants at the ground at Wellingborough school, a small ground, where he splattered the ball everywhere with great skill.

      But he ought to stick to cricket whereas I wouldn't be that bothered about seeing Chris P with a bat or ball in hand. He should stick to nature.

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      1. Agree. Sir should stick to cricket.
        But in defense of his use of the word 'risible' ('wisible').
        It's famous, courtesy The Life of Brian:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zPGb4STRfKw

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  2. If anyone's seen the vile comments on Chris Packham's Facebook page, from the hunty/shooty types, they prove Chris was absolutely right, they certainly are the nasty brigade.

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  3. You've had relative success with your petition in upland rural constituencies because that is where you and your supporters have carried out biased leaflet drops through front doors. That way you can paint the picture, as you are doing with your maps, that your proposed ban is supported by rural folk in grouse shooting areas, and is not a urban vs. rural issue. Cunning but duplicitous.

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    1. Neil P - welcome. I'll reply to y0ur erroneous comment in a blog tomorrow or Friday. You're very rude and not very cunning.

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    2. There really should a study on how the shooting fraternity try to avoid reality with this type of incredibly contrived and self deluding drivel. Fascinating study it would be too.

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          1. not something I have ever done 🙂 However I'm sure you get my point about how scientific studies can be targeted

            My ears always prick up when I see mention of 'the science' in fact I think we should have a moratorium on it - would you sign a petition to that effect? I appreciate 'a science' might be a bit feyarabendimist though.

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          2. giles - I'd agree, up to a point. First mention of Feyerabend on this blog as far as I can recall. Nice to know you are an epistemological anarchist.

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        1. Giles, do you mean that you think Les Wallace's suggestion of a study into the denial of the shooting fraternity is "using 'science' as a political weapon"?
          Strange, I thought it was called psychology.

          However Gilruth's job description could be 'using pseudo-science as a political weapon'.

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          1. Well I guess all studies add something to the development of understanding however my feeling that the subject matter for the proposed study would have been mainly motivated by politics.

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    3. My recollection is that upland rural constituencies were already leading the field well before the leaflets were produced. The maps generated simply do not support the contention that it's an urban vs rural issue - there's nothing duplicitous in reproducing them to demonstrate the fact. If you want and example of gross duplicity, look to those groups generating false and facile excuses to explain away the disappearance of tagged harriers on grouse moors.

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    4. 'Rural folk' - presumably Neil you only qualify for the label if your leisure time activities involve killing something that has fur, feathers or scales. The rest of us should keep quiet and know our place.

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  4. What I find difficult to understand is how the Game and Wildife Conservancy Trust, a charity, decided that it was in its charitable remit to complain, apart from anything else, about the BBC's "deep metropolitan bias".

    Here are the GCT's charitable objects:

    3.1 TO PROMOTE FOR THE PUBLIC BENEFIT THE CONSERVATION OF GAME AND ITS ASSOCIATED FLORA AND FAUNA.

    Difficult to see how Chris Packham arguing against the shooting of birds and allied killing of wildlife would be grounds for a complaint based on this object.

    3.2 TO CONDUCT RESEARCH INTO GAME AND WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT (INCLUDING THE USE OF GAME ANIMALS AS A NATURAL RESOURCE) AND THE EFFECTS OF FARMING AND OTHER LAND MANAGEMENT PRACTICES ON THE ENVIRONMENT; AND TO PUBLISH THE USEFUL RESULTS OFSUCH RESEARCH.

    Well Packham has always stated his views are based on empirical research so it's not this charitable purpose that the GCT is complaining Packham threatens.

    3.3 TO ADVANCE THE EDUCATION OF THE PUBLIC AND THOSE MANAGING THE COUNTRYSIDE IN THE EFFECTS OF FARMING AND MANAGEMENT OF LAND WHICH IS SYMPATHETIC TO GAME AND OTHER WILDLIFE.

    Could this be the one? Is the GCT concerned that Packham is also advancing the education of the public in the effects of farming and land management for shooting. If he is, then why would GCT have any grounds for a complaint? Unless it's because they don't agree with the views from whence he is seeking to educate the public. That I think is stretching this particular charitable purpose to breaking point.

    3.4 TO CONSERVE GAME AND WILDLIFE FOR THE PUBLIC BENEFIT INCLUDING:
    WHERE IT IS FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT, THE CONSERVATION OR PROMOTION OF BIOLOGICAL BIODIVERSITY THROUGH:

    3.4.1 THE PROVISION, CONSERVATION, RESTORATION OR ENHANCEMENT OF A NATURAL HABITAT; OR
    3.4.2 THE MAINTENANCE OR RECOVERY OF A SPECIES IN ITS NATURAL HABITAT ON LAND OR IN WATER AND IN PARTICULAR WHERE THE NATURAL HABITAT IS SITUATED IN THE VICINITY OF A LANDFILL SITE.

    Packham has done more for conservation, in its widest sense, than most conservation charities put together. I think we can safely reject this charitable purpose as justifying the GCT's complain about Packham.

    From this quick analysis, I would suggest the GCT has over-reached itself and stepped outside its charitable objects in pursuing this complaint against Packham. What on earth were the Trustees thinking of letting this one run?

    Of course the Countryside Alliance can complain on any grounds they like about anyone they don't like. They aren't a charity and are not bound by the Charity Commission rules. Though they would love to be one (but thus far the Commission have seen fit to reject their application.)

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  5. They roll out the same old arguments, its exactly the same with any blood sport be it shooting or fox hunting, we just don't understand countryside ways. What they singularly fail to comprehend is that the people they claim to represent are often the ones which hate them the most and the big earners who pay large sums to shoot are probably earning their crust and living in the cities.

    The irony and lack of understanding is incredible.

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    1. "We just dont understand countryside ways"?...The reason why they are getting so angry is that because of Mark, Packham, RPUK, RSPB Investigations Section and a handful of dedicated wildlife policemen - not to mention satellite tagged birds of prey - the public does now understand their "countryside ways".Savage ways, criminal ways.

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    1. Sorry, I am confused (really). Who's from London? I'm not... and I oppose the illegal persecution of birds of prey so you can't mean "us".

      Do you mean all shooters? The ones I know aren't.

      Do you mean the hedge fund managers who can afford to go grouse shooting? They make their money in London but I doubt they were all born there. And I'm sure that grouse moors have other clients too.

      On both sides this is about all sorts of issues for all sorts of people, but asserting that this is about townies vs country folk is just silly. And a bit rude. And ignorant. And... well silly will do. Daft. Please say something less silly next time.

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    2. Giles, there is nothing wrong with being from London and I don't think (but please correct me if I'm wrong) Mark or anyone commenting on this blog has suggested there is. However, the supporters of grouse shooting (and 'field sports' in general) have consistently put forward the argument that opponents of field sports are 'townies' who do not understand and do not speak for the countryside. In the present case the term 'metropolitan elite' has been deliberately used by the GWCT to disparage the BBC and cast doubt on its support for Chris Packham. It is therefore entirely reasonable to point out that, proportionally, the petition in support of driven grouse shooting obtained more of its signatures from central London than the petition to ban DGS and that the latter scored its highest levels of support in rural constituencies. The 'townie v countryman' conflict is entirely an invention of Bonner, Botham et al in a feeble attempt to defend the indefensible.

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  6. "Predator control is an important part of wildlife management in the British countryside. This one-day course covers fox snaring, corvid control and tunnel trapping.
    The GWCT has carried out over 200 man years of research into how to make snaring more effective, target-specific and humane.
    Fox snaring is one of many techniques available and it is certainly one of the most effective when used correctly."
    from their events page....... and after "200 man years" they haven't figured out snaring isn't humane. The GWCT seem to be lacking in common sense all round.

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  7. I'm sure Beefy knows a lot about whitewash being on the receiving end during his cricket career. I'm pretty sure when the BBC had cricket he wasn't so anti-beeb either. No surprise his "comments" appear in a Murdoch tabloid.
    Funny thing is I wasn't to keen on Chris Peckham, but the shooting brigade again shoot themselves in the foot twice. Firstly after the abuse over Chris' aspergus by certain quarters and they way Chris handled it all, he seriously impressed me. Any true zealot might've been forgiven if they were to come out guns blazing in full attack mode. But no Chris just kept to the script, played a straight bat and won me over.
    Second shot in the foot by bringing the complaint I've had people who wouldn't normally engage in a conversation about wildlife with me asking what the "story" is all about, helping to make more people aware of the situation, so THANK YOU GWCT

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  8. A bit of a side-track, but as one of the above links made a connection with the FSA, I also made a mental connection to a request I made to them recently. I'd been looking for info on lead in the environment, in different forms, and came across this (n.b. geochemical lead) https://www.food.gov.uk/science/research/chemical-safety-research/env-cont/fs241030

    As there were no 'conclusions' attached. I e-mailed a request for further info. The answer said it had been passed to the colleagues involved, who would reply. No answer yet and time has run out. I've very likely got an over-active imagination, but will persist!

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  9. It appears Botham will happily pontificate on a range of differing subjects just so long as he can trouser some cash from it. Perhap's his spread betting results have gone from bad to worse lately....you can usually tell from his commentary.

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/aug/21/ian-botham-has-a-real-problem

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  10. Brilliant post Mark. In other news, the epetition total has crept up by one to 123,076! A Metropolitan elitist zealot clicking on their confirmation email?!

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  11. Botham is in the same frame as that other champion of the countryside (now deceased) Clarissa Dickson. She was another one with her loud posh voice telling all of us plebs how ignorant of country ways we were, and we should stay in our hovels and let the gentry enjoy themselves fucking up the land. Well done Mark for shooting the shooters in the backside.

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    1. I met someone who used to work in an agency that dealt with Clarissa DW. Clarissa was notorious for her arrogant treatment of the staff, my acquaintance was given a particularly hard time as she was merely 'middle class'. None of this is surprising really.

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