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RSPB in disarray after board members lambast the charity

The RSPB is in disarray after one of its own board members – scientist Dr. Ben Caldecott – accused the RSPB of being "simply not appropriate".

Following a series of extraordinary social media posts singling out the Prime Minister and other Ministers by name, and accusing them of being ‘LIARS, LIARS, LIARS’, the scientist and Board member said:

“Whatever one thinks of the government’s proposals and their record on nature, these Tweets are simply not an appropriate contribution to our public discourse from such an important organisation. We can strongly disagree and make our case without calling people 'LIARS!"

The RSPB has come under fire in recent years following a series of factually inaccurate and agenda driven social media campaigns, particularly with regards to heather burning and bird of prey numbers. Their actions have led to the charity coming under investigation from the Charity Commission.

Questions should surely be raised once again by the Charity Commission, after Conservative MP Mark Jenkinson yesterday accused the RSPB of becoming "a political campaigning organisation" and called for the regulator the Charity Commission to strip the organisation of its charity status.

According to the BBC, a Charity Commission spokesperson said: "We are aware of social media activity by the RSPB and will assess this matter to determine if there is a regulatory role for the commission."

The charity has entirely isolated vast numbers of rural communities across the country, to the point where many landowners will not let their staff anywhere near their land or to collaborate on projects.

This morning, BBC Radio 4 Presenter Nick Robinson asked the RSPB CEO Beccy Speight ‘What is happening at the RSPB?”. She tried to use frustration and anger as excuses for the original tweet, stating that the government were going “against the commitments that the government has made many times in the past not to weaken environmental protections”.

But after being asked three times by the presenter whether she had seen the Tweets before they went out (to which she didn’t respond), she stated that she “didn’t approve it… It didn’t go through our normal protocols”; still leaving the question of whether she had seen the tweets before they were posted unanswered.

The other question asked by Nick Robinson – about whether the RSPB is being used to run political campaigns – again revealed some interesting background. While Beccy denied the accusation, Robinson revealed that the RSPB govt affairs manager – a man named Daniel Carey-Dawes – had retweeted that liars graphic, writing alongside it: “sometimes in campaigning you just have to call a spade a spade”. Robinson pointed out that prior to working for the RSPB, Carey-Dawes was a Labour Group Research Officer for the Greater London Authority, and a Labour Constituency Party Secretary in Hackney.

“Some people will worry that the RSPB is entering politics”, commented Robinson. Again, Speight denied the claims; but others might say that actions speak louder than words. And, while the RSPB may have apologised for the Tweets in question, they haven't gone so far as to delete them from their feeds, leaving the original words out there in the public domain.


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