Will anything stop the driven man?

Have you been following Mark Avery’s one-man campaign against driven grouse shooting? If you haven’t, visit his blog to catch up on latest developments.

Dr Mark (pictured below) has kept at his fight down the years and has refused to be fobbed off by nonsense like Defra’s Hen Harrier Action Plan. Against expectations he managed to get no fewer than 123,077 right-minded members of the public (actually that’s 123,076 right-minded people, and me) to back his petition to get driven grouse shooting debated he-manin Parliament.

That debate happened in Westminster Hall this week – you can read Hansard’s report here – and it sounds as though it was a bit of a disappointment. Few MPs bothered to turn up, and those that did were the sort of people you’d expect to support the rich man’s hobby, like south Carmarthenshire’s Simon Hart, who used to be the Chief Executive of the Countryside Alliance.

By the way, if you are a voter in Mr Hart’s constituency you might like to ask him how much time and effort he puts into representing you. He always gives the impression that he is much more engaged with Countryside Alliance business.

Back to the debate; the tone of contribution from the pro-shooting MPs seems to have been the usual ‘we know best’. As ever, those who oppose blood sports are dismissed as townies who have no right to a say about what happens beyond the outer suburbs.

The shooting lobby definitely reckons it won on the night. But Mark Avery won’t have any truck with that – he’s planning for the next battle, saying the only way forward is ‘upwards and onwards’.