As the General Election looms into view, MPs are starting to get emails from lobbyists and campaign groups who are obviously preparing themselves for battle. This one arrived today.
"BASC is the largest fieldsports body in the UK. Shooting involves a million people, benefits conservation and provides both recreation and food. Live quarry shooting alone contributes £1.6 billion to the UK economy and £250 million on conservation each year. In the last parliament it enjoyed support from all parties.
One of our objectives is to work for all party support for shooting...... In the months leading up to the election we will be running a campaign site on candidates’ views on shooting. The site will contain a database of candidates and allow our members to email their candidates.
In advance of the launch of the site I would be grateful if you could answer one question that will allow us to put an entry beside your name on the database. Please choose the option that comes closest to your views:
- I support shooting sports conducted according to the current codes of practice.
- I am supportive of some aspects of legal shooting sports but have reservations in one or more areas.
- I am against shooting sports.
- I do not yet have enough information to make an assessment."
That was an easy one to answer. I've replied (third option, if you really need it spelling out, in which case welcome to my blog as you've obviously not been here before). I've also asked BASC to substantiate their claim that 1 million people are involved in shooting. That sounds like an awful lot of people. Unless 'involved' means simply to eat grouse and pheasant and such like?
This also gives me another opportunity to plug www.backtheban.org, which I appreciate only applies to fox-hunting, but that's the battle we currently have to fight, given the overwhelming support amongst the Tories for it and Cameron's pledge to hold a vote on hunting as one of the first acts of an incoming Tory Government. (Although judging by tomorrow's Populus poll, that might not be something you have to worry about. And yes, I know the Tories have an 8 point lead, but 38%-30% is definitely game on territory for Labour, and not enough to give Cameron a majority.)
If you haven't signed up to Back the Ban yet, how about doing so to send a signal to the bloodsports brigade before the Boxing Day hunts?