Chris Packham outside the BBC standing under George Orwell’s very apt quote. Photo credit: somebody who was walking past at the time.
Chris Packham has been awarded a CBE in the New Year’s Honours List. Congratulations Chris!
It is highly significant that this award is for services to nature conservation, not for broadcasting. Of course this recognition of Chris’s role in speaking out on matters such as grouse shooting, fox hunting, raptor persecution, illegal bird killing on Cyprus and Malta etc etc goes well beyond his broadcasting roles and well beyond those of most of his fellow broadcasters.
No-one could describe Chris as an establishment figure, but someone deep within The Establishment has realised that his contributions deserve this recognition despite the fact that Chris is a thorn in the side of the powers that be. In this year when Chris organised the People’s Walk for Wildlife and the People’s Manifesto for Wildlife this honour is especially fitting.
Chris’s friends and supporters, and the millions who watch Springwatch etc on TV will be pleased for Chris, and pleased that his campaigning zeal has been recognised in this way. And I hope that Chris is pleased too (although I suspect he will be a bit embarrassed by it). We can be sure that others will not be pleased at all, including the more disreputable members of the shooting industry who will be up in arms that the character they so often nastily deride is now a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.
Chris Packham said:
In an age where illegal fox hunting, the continued persecution of birds of prey and the unscientific, uneconomic and inhumane killing of badgers continue, our wildlife needs a voice to shout above the noise. Maybe the silent have spoken, maybe a terrified fox, a wounded hen harrier or a trapped badger whispered and this is their thanks. I’ll take that, say ‘ta very much’ and stop shouting … and start screaming and I won’t stop until the killing does.
And that quote from Orwell again:
If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.
Well done Chris! Sorry, well done Commander Chris Packham of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire!!