BASC’s integrity goes up in smoke

The grouse-shooting industry continues to stamp its feet and wail about Andy Wightman’s success at persuading the majority of legislators to introduce an immediate (but temporary) ban on muirburn across Scotland last night (see here).

[Muirburn on a Highland grouse moor in April 2017, photo by one of our blog readers]

Today the British Association for Shooting & apparently Conservation (BASC) issued a press release claiming that the Scottish Greens had launched an “unnecessary attack on shooting” and how it was “an exceedingly poor use of parliamentary time“.

Even funnier, BASC argued that Andy Wightman’s amendment was lodged “despite the shooting community instigating a voluntary cessation of burning last week“.

Er, BASC appear to have ‘forgotten’ to mention the widespread evidence that not all landowners were adhering to the call for a voluntary cessation, as published here and here, which is precisely why Andy lodged his amendment and presumably why it gained so much cross-party support (except from the Tories).

Have you ever seen anything so absurd? BASC, who openly admit to endorsing last week’s call for voluntary restraint, objecting to the very legislation that will now force the gamekeepers to stop lighting fires!

It’s even funnier to see BASC trot out its latest soundbite of choice: ‘[The Greens] have proved they are out of touch with the national mood……‘ Yeah, BASC said this about Wild Justice recently, too. Funny, BASC seems to have erased from memory its recent u-turn on using lead ammunition, leading to a meltdown amongst its members (and a reported loss of many many subscriptions), all caused by BASC’s inability to ‘judge the mood’.

What we appear to be seeing now is BASC desperately playing to the gallery to try and make itself look relevant in an attempt to claw back some of those deserters.

Fortunately, the majority of the politicians in the Chamber last night had a far better grasp of the nation’s mood (and its safety) than does BASC.


19 Responses to “BASC’s integrity goes up in smoke”

  1. April 2, 2020 at 6:00 pm

    Surely their members also know they are just spinning a web for the gallery.
    Does anyone, absolute anyone, believe their bullshit.
    Hang on after listening to Hogg yesterday, i can think of one person.

  2. 2 WTF
    April 2, 2020 at 6:20 pm

    Who on earth drafts this BASC tripe? Do they really believe their own rhetoric?. Even their own blindly faithful members (if there are any left) will know that it was the continuation of burning after being heeded to stop which prompted Andy’s action. Had this been adjudged to have been a waste of parliamentary time, I’m sure that someone in an official capacity would have said so. As it is, a resounding show of support for Andy’s amendment shows just how wrong and out of touch the BASC is. Pathetic is another way of putting it. Another nail!

  3. 3 AnMac
    April 2, 2020 at 6:20 pm

    I often wonder what conservation this organisation actually does. I think their ‘S’ in their title is really what they are about. SHOOTING.
    Anything resembling conservation seems distant to them.
    In serious climate change times you would expect them to get their priorities sorted.
    It says something about the culture of shooting people in this country. Sad, very sad.

  4. 4 Paul
    April 2, 2020 at 6:20 pm

    Brilliant. It’s obvious that organisations like BASC have no control over their community whatsoever – if indeed they even tried to uphold voluntary cessation of muirburn. Well done, Andy!

  5. 5 Andrew
    April 2, 2020 at 6:24 pm

    “At a time when people have so much else to worry about, this was not an issue that should have troubled the Scottish Parliament”
    Did BASC miss the irony of this statement?

  6. 6 Stephen Lewis
    April 2, 2020 at 7:11 pm

    Aha, BASC, the most oxymoronically named organisation ever (akin to a family planning organisation named: the ‘British Association for Shagging for Virginity’…) gets a tad miffed when a some of their lot disobey other bits of their lot, and then because their lot couldn’t get their shit together, the other lot legally enforces what their lot were suggesting all along. You couldn’t make it up.

    Sadly, I fear due to the current problems though – leading, sadly, to hills being devoid of our lot’s eyes and ears – the fun killers will switch to their other favourite pastime of directly killing raptors instead of simply torching raptor habitat. I forecast a spike in raptor persecution incidents as gamekeepers carry out their ‘essential’ work over the next month or so…

    • 7 Les Wallace
      April 3, 2020 at 7:41 pm

      Hopefully the fear of killing birds that are still sat tagged might rein them in a bit, but I fully expect that they’ll also chance their arm going on to non estate land to kill raptors too, would they do this on nature reserves if they thought they could get away with it? I wonder if the RSPB scheme to monitor hen harrier nests in England has went ahead. If only this had been the other way round and keepers had been forced to stay home, a year without their ‘efforts’!

  7. 8 AnMac
    April 2, 2020 at 7:44 pm

    As Stephen rightly says we should all fear what will take place this year.

    Do we know if GPS tags are being used again this breeding season on raptor species by the voluntary sector including RSPB or will this be disallowed this year.

    • 9 D&G Loon
      April 2, 2020 at 9:24 pm

      Most right minded conservation organisations are not undertaking any fieldwork or monitoring in the current circumstances – this applies to staff and volunteers. So RSPB, BTO, raptor groups, ringers etc, all respecting the non-essential travel and work rules etc. So no tagging this season, unless restrictions are lifted. Interestingly GWCT continue to carry out work, as I understand it.

  8. 10 John Cantelo
    April 2, 2020 at 7:54 pm

    A case not so much of cognitive dissonance as cognitive disappearance.

  9. 11 Paul V Irving
    April 2, 2020 at 8:57 pm

    This is I’m sure as others have said playing to the members, looking tough as it were after the lead nonsense. As to integrity I didn’t think they had any.

  10. 12 Simon Tucker
    April 2, 2020 at 10:33 pm

    What integrity?

  11. 13 workshy333
    April 3, 2020 at 8:50 am

    The comment regarding the ‘Poor use of parliamentary time…’, is just a weak attempt to portray Andy W, and genuine conservationists as irrelevant/unimportant, & just ‘tree huggers’, in the current climate, to the general public. There is a crisis, hopefully relatively short term, but there is also a climate crisis, which has been long overdue to be recognised as such, by myself included, and the wildlife slaughterers in the hills are ignoring both these emergencies by their actions and pastimes that should have been relegated to the pages of ‘Horrible history’ years ago.

  12. 14 Keith
    April 3, 2020 at 7:17 pm

    As far as I can see BASC actually stands for ‘British Association for Shooting and Its Conservation’. They’ve just forgotten the I.

  13. 15 Mo Richards
    April 3, 2020 at 7:28 pm

    BASC want to conserve nothing but themselves!

  14. 16 Nonie Coulthard
    April 3, 2020 at 9:05 pm

    Is Ross Ewing in any way connected with the Fergus variety?

  15. 17 John L
    April 3, 2020 at 9:12 pm

    The press release from BASC has revealed their true colours – an organisation solely to promote the interests of the shooting industry, and nothing more.

    Had they truly endorsed the guidance issued by Scottish Land and Estates for a cessation in muirburn then their press release would have supported this legal ban and stated that they were disappointed that some land mangers had continued with muirburn. Instead we see an attack on those who have found it necessary to reinforce the request for cessation with a legal measures.

    Perhaps the BASC should remind themselves that during this Coronavirus pandemic, the British public have accepted a curtailment of just about all free movement and civil liberties. Many members of the public have lost their jobs, will endure real economic hardship and are facing a bleak future.

    The “national mood” is one which will accept all of this if it helps fight the coronavirus pandemic, and enables the NHS to save lives.

    So when a minority group of self entitled landowners persist with activities which many oppose anyway, and has all the potential to put additional strain on the emergency services – then the BASC might well find the “national mood” is in fact very angry towards them and the selfish, arrogant people they represent.

    I just hope the national media pick up on this story and present to the public the fact that despite all the pleas from the fire service, and other responsible bodies for a cessation of muirburn. This appears to have fallen on deaf ears by many grouse moor estates, resulting in emergency legislation to help protect our emergency services at this difficult time.
    Those who “shoot grouse” might then reflect on why so many of the public actually despise them and can see through their thinly disguised lies about “conservation”.
    Awful people are often represented by awful organisations!!

  16. 18 ExpenadableIV
    April 4, 2020 at 2:51 pm

    If BASC had ANY clue about conservation, they would have called for an outright permanent ban on ALL burning of heather many years ago.

  17. 19 Harry Bickerstaff
    April 6, 2020 at 5:04 pm

    Once more, the shooters (presumably represented by BASC) can not be trusted to do the (voluntary) decent thing and once more, they have demonstrated that the only rules they will keep are the ones which are backed up by law (apart, of course, from the killing of birds of prey.)

    [Ed: for clarity, not all shooters are BASC members]

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