The Twelfth of August was heralded for me by an email from the RSPB. ‘RSPB warns driven grouse does not have a future without change’. Jeff Knott, the head of the society’s nature policy, goes on to say that ‘The illegal killing of birds of prey like the hen harrier must end, and sadly this tars the reputation of every grouse moor estate and every shooter.’ It would be wearisome (not least because Matt Ridley’s piece last week set it all out so well) to go through how most such accusations about the killing of hen harriers are false, how hen harriers do better on kept moors than on unkept ones, and how grouse moors do a great service to upland species diversity.
The simple point to make here is that this is not the email of a charity which seeks to maximise the constituency of those who care about birds. It is the message of a campaigning organisation with such a power-urge that it thinks it can decide the future of an independent sport. Why are charities so often taken over by people with quite different aims from their memberships? Why is it allowed?
This is an extract from Charles Moore’s Notes. The full article can be found here.