BY NIGEL BEAN & PAUL READ
Currently the BBC use Chris Packham to promote their left-wing animal rights fundamentalist ideology while they pretend to be impartial at licence fee payers’ expense.
If Packham wants to campaign for a cause that fits in with the BBC’s pledge of impartiality – one that will benefit both the environment and the countryside – he should look at the pictures of the rubbish-strewn fields of Glastonbury from last weekend’s festival.
The young left-wing millennials – after shouting ‘Bollox to Boris’ and declaring their undying devotion to the climate change cause – left a bit of a mess before they headed home. Back home no doubt to fill social media with hypocrisy-filled rants over the environment. If Packham were to announce his sheer disgust at the latest in a long line of Glastonbury litter-fests, then we’re sure he would get support across the spectrum.
But of course the fly in the ointment is the BBC itself. They are resolute in claiming the fundamentalist Packham is not actually employed by them. And so he can jump on any old activist bandwagon he damn well pleases, just as Gary Lineker can spout rubbish from his pants as another distanced contractor.
Is Packham a BBC employee? Certainly, most of the time he is employed by the BBC with occasional work for other companies, which may or may not be to get around IR35 tax rules. That’s the tax rule that stipulates if you’re a limited company you should be invoicing different customers and not tying yourself to one. Therefore you’re entitled to the less punitive tax breaks of a risk-taker.
Even as a contractor presenter, Packham should not be seen to be anywhere near the highly toxic issue of raptor persecution. Once a raptor goes missing, accusations immediately start – it’s gamekeepers protecting the grouse-shooting industry; it’s bad blood within the industry; someone trying to get others in trouble. Or it’s obsessed anti-shooting raptor groups setting up the shooting industry for a fall. Let’s be honest, Packham has no right working for the ‘impartial’ BBC in any capacity while acting as a mouthpiece for the raptor groups against a backdrop of counter allegations of a fix or setup – the evidence is way too dodgy and unverified.
Packham’s involvement in the raptor persecution scare is the equivalent of a BBC presenter supporting the theory of alien crop circles appearing all over the British Countryside in the nineties – conspiratorial, not impartial or sound. The Sunday Times had a weekly supplement which showed photos of the latest impressive designs. As the phenomenon swept the country nobody was able to catch perpetrators in the act – pushing a roller or carrying specially constructed sticks to beat down the crop. Perps went about their business at night and no doubt got home in the morning, bought a copy of the Times, admired their latest design and fell about laughing hysterically at large portions of the public believing their handiwork was a sign from aliens wanting to communicate. The key to this story is you can mischievously get some folk to believe anything, so if you want to blame raptor persecution solely on Gamekeepers you will get believers on that theory, resulting in enough likes and retweets to make you feel supported by many.
Those who made the crop circles went undetected – in the middle of the countryside with no one around – and this encouraged copycats who also went undetected. So whoever is setting up whom in the raptor persecution game, they will largely go undetected as well, encouraging copy-cats.
Who benefits most from the crimes of raptor persecution? The top contenders without a shadow of a doubt are the raptor support groups. Without a killing of a raptor they have no cause and without a cause they generate no income. To a lesser extent the shooting industry can advantage – they can benefit from a reduction of predators munching their way through their prized grouse.
Not an ongoing investigation someone working for an impartial corporation should be dipping their oar into. Worse, Packham is Vice President of the RSPB. They refuse to take part in the government-sponsored Hen Harrier recovery program because they want illegal killing of raptors to stop. Have you heard anything more ridiculous? That’s like the police refusing to attend another murder in London because murder is illegal.
Our advice to Chris Packham, for the benefit of all living creatures in the countryside, is to switch your campaigning zeal to one that benefits and has the support of all – a very well-intentioned litter campaign. It has a major impact on the countryside, is visible to everyone, but has nothing to do with shooting … so we won’t be holding our breath.