For most of yesterday I spent my time musing! Not quite as edifying a sight as Rodin's, " The Thinker", and unlikely to result in such anatomical perfection given the number of cups of tea I consumed. But now that the initial round of press releases, Blogs, approaches to MP's and such like will inevitably reduce as other subjects demand attention, it's essential that a clear view emerges on what now is required.
The approaches to DEFRA and Natural England made by the RSPB will doubtless result in discussions on what might comprise a recovery plan for Hen Harriers in England. However, I'm not persuaded this will result in much real action at all, not as a consequence of the RSPB reducing its efforts, but simply because I am not convinced the Tory part of the Coalition Government are prepared to properly consider the problem. Recent answers from Richard Benyon ( DEFRA Minister ) to questions raised by Fiona O'Donnell, MP resulted in a stonewalling performance redolent of a Geoff Boycott innings. One learns that , in 2012-13, the princely sum of £15 k plus a staff member is being allocated to the Upland Hen Harrier Recovery Project. Is that the value they are prepared to put on this iconic member of our avian community? May I draw attention to the feature ( on this Blog ) I put out on the 3rd May relating to DEFRA's Darwin Initiative and the vast sums of money involved. Whilst I am not advocating this should cease, I would simply draw attention to the comparative relevance, or lack of it, afforded this current topic.
We all know where the problem lies and what the remedy is that would bring a relatively quick resurgence in the Hen Harrier's fortunes. It isn't money, it isn't research studies, plans, policies or performance reviews either. Tolerance and a change in attitude by the responsible faction within our Society would soon solve the problem, and without any cost to the public purse. One also imagines the solution might even lie within a process of "social osmosis" in the hallowed residences associated with the landed estates upon which this persecution appears to be centred, as identified within Natural England's Report issued previously. The odd cautionary remark, including the potential for losing support in an electoral context, might be something the Minister should consider. Mr Benyon, please stop protecting your own or suffer the consequences!
I also spent time putting a series of initial thoughts together on what might comprise changes within our current legislation or, indeed, new elements of it, that would be directed towards those who persist in carrying out raptor persecution. At some point in time these will be made available to appropriate interests. The issue will not go away as far as conservationists are concerned. Persistent attention being drawn to the inadequate relevance awarded the subject will serve the Tory cause badly. Now is the time to face up the the causes, the effects and the necessary remedies or suffer the inevitable consequences in terms of loss of popularity on yet another subject area.