It is not that long since there was a call for Packham to be sacked by the BBC and an online petition set up seeking support for this proposal, it reached 5,031 signatures (see https://www.change.org/p/bbc-chris-pacham-is-on-nearly-every-bbc-wildlife-program-he-s-anti-shooting-and-not-impartial). Interestingly this epetition is still open and has added 26 signatures since I last checked it. Conversely another online petition (which is now closed) was set up asking the BBC to retain Packham’s services and this one passed 80,000 (see https://www.change.org/p/bbc-don-t-sack-chris-packham) doesn’t that tell you something?
In excess of 80,000 people expressed support for Packham’s campaigning stance, after all argued many, he wasn’t actually employed by the BBC rather he was occasionally contracted to deliver popular television viewing.
So what’s this latest episode about?
BBC News offers an insight with selective quotes, John Vidal‘s piece “Countryside Alliance urges BBC to sack Chris Packham in conservation row” written in September 2015 offers background to the latest attempt to gag passionate conservationists. Listen to Tim Bonner (erroneously describing Packham as an employee) call for his sacking subsequent to his article in September 2015 edition of BBC Wildlife Magazine. Bonner (CEO Countryside Alliance) says Packham was pursuing “obsessive crusades” and that the BBC was printing “blatant political propaganda”. Read for yourself, extremist?
The recent on line petition, Don’t sack Chris Packham, set up two days ago has already passed 14,500 signatories. Do the BBC Trust really want another public backlash? The licence fee payers clearly see Packham as value for their fees? The BBC Trust is a public body and subject to scrutiny, one assumes it operates a transparent modus operandi?
It is also interesting perhaps to consider other recent words used, recall …. The Rt Honourable Sir Nicholas Soames MP retweeted that Packham was a ‘nut job’ after his autobiography Fingers in the Sparkle Jar revealed he had Asperger’s Syndrome. The then Prime Minister Cameron informed us that “Mr Soames is a backbench Member of Parliament and all backbench MPs are free to express views that do not necessarily reflect official position of their party or of the Government”. Interpret those words as you wish?
Are these two instances examples of a disconnect with the public? Perhaps we’re biased but robust science should prevail and I’m oft reminded of a piece of advice I was given by “The guardian of the Yorkshire Landscape” the late Stephen Warburton many years ago …. “always be courteous to your enemies, it infuriates them”. What is gained from ‘tasteless and offensive’ dialogue, media will love the sound-bites but how will history report it?
We ask you readers to consider signing the second edition of “Don’t sack Chris Packham” petition via the 38 degrees website here.
Ban driven grouse shooting as supported by Chris Packham, Bill Oddie, Mark Avery and others is delightfully picking up pace, currently 80,654 …. will it reach the magic figure by Friday: the Inglorious 12th? Will it get there by the following weekend, the Birdfair at Rutland Water? What we must do is make sure it reaches 100,000 by 20 September so then according to the petition website, “this petition will be considered for debate in Parliament” ….
It’s not just about shooting, but land management which has been shown to exacerbate flooding, cause issue with water quality, muir burning damages sensitive areas for the benefit of a single species which is required to be available in high densities …. you’ve heard it all before, and from a variety of sources. An excellently researched critique Inglorious: Conflict in the Uplands is available now as an updated paperback edition. If the facts were not true then I suspect we’d be reporting a pending court case.
To hear a reasoned case, watch a video which offers bite sized chunks of information about land management practices which are required to support driven grouse shooting.
Wildlife and the natural environment is under threat, it needs those of us who care about it to speak out. It needs robust science and evidence to underpin our case and remember those other wise words “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you and then … you win” [attributed to Ghandi but not verified]. If we are to hand it in a better state to future generations then we need collaborative critical mass to challenge the attrition which is destroying so much.