Jeremy Corbyn is a goal hanger.

By Rwendland (Jeremy Corbyn, 2016 Labour Party Conference 1.jpg) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

I heard the phrase used on the radio (it must have been Radio 4) a while ago; ‘Jeremy Corbyn is a goal hanger’.  It took me right back to my youth, and teenage games of football played in farmers’ fields where the goalposts were piles of jumpers, the boundaries of the playing surface were as far as you could run without hitting a hedge and where sliding tackles had to be carefully judged to avoid fresh cowpats.

In those circumstances, there are no linesmen (as we called them then), no referees and no point in pretending that the off-side law was a feasible part of the game. And thus the strategy of someone hanging around near the opposition goal, hoping for a ball to be hacked upfield to them, with only the goalkeeper to beat, was a very viable option.

Mr Corbyn might play football but the term was used metaphorically to describe his Brexit position which seems to be hanging around waiting for the government to implode. It’s not an unreasonable strategy given that the government is trying very hard to implode.  It may result in some sort of a win for Labour, but nobody really likes a goal hanger and many of Mr Corbyn’s supporters (I guess that includes me) wish he’d get on the pitch and start playing a blinder.  Trouble is, we’re not quite sure which way he’d strike the ball.

Here’s a list of famous footballers who are regarded by some as goal hangers – one of whom is the highest-paid BBC TV presenter these days.

But goal-hanging is not such a good strategy when the other side is playing pretty well. Labour is so, so, so quiet on environmental issues and Corbyn himself still hasn’t got on to the pitch (or made an environmental speech). We’ve seen a good animal welfare plan but precious little on nature conservation or other environmental matters. Where is it?  Gove makes an announcement every few days it seems – and some of them are pretty good really so …where …is …the …radical …alternative?



Bowland Gull cull – promise of a response

In response to my recent questions about the Bowland gull cull of 2017 I have now received this:




Sunday is International Bog Day #bogday

This short charming video by Andrew Clark (see here and here) is to mark International Bog Day on Sunday.


Bird Fair 2018 – 4 weeks today


Bird Fair – you either love it or hate it – I love it (though it mildly irritates me too).

But it starts 4 weeks today.

It’s a pity that Michael Gove can’t attend – but I do know that the invitation was made months ago. An opportunity missed, by him, perhaps.  I’d still like the local MP, Alan Duncan, who is after all a government minister, to be seen having a stroll around the site for the first time, I believe, in 30 years (26 of which he has actually been the local MP).

I noticed that a frequent Bird Fair attendee who works for the CLA had a mild, and partly justified pop at the Bird Fair for not having any obvious differing voices on stage yet again. He does have a point but when the shooting community were asked to man-up, or woman-up, and attend the debate in 2016 about whether driven grouse shooting should be banned, the massed ranks of GWCT and Moorland Association (and Hawk and Owl Trust – whatever happened to them, by the way?) were unable to field a Chief Exec, a trustee, a senior member of staff and had to draft in a former gamekeeper to defend their hobby. My CLA friend, who is a regular Bird Fair attendee, so he knows of what he speaks, describes the Bird Fair as virtue-signalling which I guess means the Game Fair might be vice-signalling.

But Bird Fair is a fun weekend and if you are planning to attend then you ought to start planning now! Have a look at the events and see how many awkward clashes there are for you – can you be in two places at once?

And I’m really looking forward to seeing lots of friendly and familiar faces over the three days. Will that include you?




Press release from Suffolk Wildlife Trust (and Plantlife)

Critically endangered fen orchid flowers for first time in 40 years

Beautiful fenland species returns from localised extinction following pioneering work by Plantlife and Suffolk Wildlife Trust


The critically endangered fen orchid has flowered for the first time in Suffolk since 1975.

The return of the rare orchid, which was locally extinct and whose location cannot be disclosed for security reasons, is the result of a partnership between Suffolk Wildlife Trust and British conservation charity Plantlife.

The species, which is notable for its pale, yellow blooms and is dependent on the unique, open conditions of fenland, disappeared from the county due to habitat loss – a result of wetland being reclaimed for agricultural use or fens being allowed to “scrub over” and slowly revert to woodland.

For the past 30 years Suffolk Wildlife Trust has been working to restore a number of fenland sites by improving the amount of water, removing encroaching scrub and re-instating traditional mowing techniques.

While birds, dragonflies, damselflies and other mobile species have returned to the fens, the unique plant communities have needed more direct action.

In 2017, with habitat again suitable for the fen orchid, Plantlife began a programme of translocations to sites in the valley fens, the culmination of a ten year conservation strategy funded by Natural England. The fact they are now flowering for the first time in over 40 years is hugely significant and is the result of painstaking work between Plantlife, Suffolk Wildlife Trust and other members of the partnership (RSPB, Norfolk Wildlife Trust,  Butterfly Conservation and the Broads Authority) to bring this species back from the brink of extinction.

Julian Roughton, Chief Executive of Suffolk Wildlife Trust, said,  ‘Seeing a species like the fen orchid return to Suffolk is truly exciting. Although, of course, it is early days, the sight of its fragile yellow petals is a sign that both the translocation and the wider restoration of the landscape has been a success.‘.

Tim Pankhurst, Plantlife’s Conservation Manager for the East of England, who leads the conservation effort, said, ‘Bringing fen orchid back to Suffolk has been a  goal of the partnership for many years and it is truly satisfying to see it achieved; it remains to be seen if the population continues to thrive but results so far are a testament to the decades of work put in by the Trust to restore these beautiful places to their former glory.’.