I mentioned last week, at the very end of this blog post, that I was planning to be at the Game Fair at Hatfield House on Friday . I didn’t make a big deal of it as I have been to c20 Game Fairs over the years and been on a panel for a good proportion of them.
What I thought I was doing this Friday morning was being interviewed by Charlie Jacoby of the Fieldsports Channel in the Game Fair Theatre – on whatever subjects he wanted to ask me about (but probably general licences, grouse shooting and maybe non-native gamebird releases. Who knows? I’m perfectly used to explaining and defending my views and I rarely turn down the opportunity to do so.
What I didn’t reveal in that blog post, but I also knew, was that Chris Packham had also been asked to do a similar turn in the Game Fair theatre and had accepted. I was to be on 10:30-11:00 and Chris from 11:00 to 11:30.
But overnight last night, an email arrived in my inbox from Charlie Jacoby apologising and saying that everything was off. The high-ups who run the Game Fair – it seems they are the Countryside Alliance, BASC and GWCT – had said that neither Chris, nor I, nor some other bloke were welcome.
Here is what Charlie Jacoby says about it all: he has the nous to say that it is the game shooting industry shooting itself in the foot. It is – it is a show of intolerance and amazing lack of confidence to uninvite some critical voices. [There is a very strange email featured in the video which I think I will come back to, tomorrow (partly because it is nonsensical to me).]
Here is what Chris Packham says – and I agree with what he says.
Here is what BASC says – am I to assume that I am ‘and others’?
Well the Game Fair has been in touch with Chris and told him, basically, that he isn’t welcome but nobody has had the decency to get in touch with me. I just phoned Charlie Jacoby to check that I was persona non grata too, and it seems that I am (Charlie was obviously rather embarrassed about all this and I don’t blame him at all).
I was first contacted about appearing at the Game Fair nearly a month ago and now I learn that I am banned, from a statement from BASC that doesn’t even name me and an email from an embarrassed Charlie Jacoby which says I’ll be hearing from others about this – but I haven’t.
Tim Bonner (Countryside Alliance), Ian Bell (BASC) and Teresa Dent (GWCT and Natural England Board) are obviously running scared from any cogent criticism of any aspect of game shooting. They want to stifle and exclude even mildly critical voices. And they are bloody rude to boot, not even having contacted me.
So now the Game Fair attendees can look forward to a panel of three at 10:00 – 10:30, namely Andrew Gilruth (GWCT spin doctor), Ian Gregory (spin doctor) and Robin Page (small man).
The Game Fair, and the industry it seeks to represent, has sunk a bit lower today. Just now, it seems as though it does so today and every day.