Monday, 28 July 2008

Birdwatching Terrorists

As organisations go, I'd always thought that it would be hard to find one more innocuous than the RSPB. As they say on their website, "Our work is driven by a passionate belief that we all have a responsibility to protect birds and the environment. Bird populations reflect the health of the planet on which our future depends." I find it difficult to argue with that, and I'm aware of the valuable work which organisations like the RSPB do in campaigning on major issues such as climate change as well.

It was therefore with a degree of disbelief that I read this weekend that the Tory candidate locally apparently believes that the RSPB, along with the RSPCA, has been hijacked by semi-terrorist lunatics, who have shaved off their beards to make themselves look respectable. He is, of course, entirely entitled to hold odd views and see dangerous people around every corner. He can even look under his bed each night in case there are any Communists hiding there, if he wishes. But this is a pretty sweeping accusation to be throwing at some highly respectable members of society.

I've had a brief look at the membership of the RSPB council, and I struggle to see which of them he could possibly be referring to. Could it be the distinguished journalist and broadcaster who is their President? Or perhaps the Professor who is the Chair, and is an internationally renowned ornithologist? Maybe the professor of ecology or the former Chief Executive of English Nature? I could go on, and I haven't even started on the RSPCA yet, where the Vice-Presidents include a Tory MP (Ann Widdecombe), and Sir Patrick Moore.

Referring to two organisations, both of which enjoy a great deal of support amongst the people he seeks to represent, as being 'so-called reputable' organisations seems to be an odd way for any serious candidate to be proceeding. Perhaps I should just thank him for his assistance in my own campaign.

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