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The malignity of Wild Justice and their ignoble pursuit of gamekeepers

Wild Justices' recent loss of their costs in the heather burning case against the government is something to celebrate, not least because the interested parties have decided to give their share of the costs recovered to the admirable Gamekeepers Welfare Trust. In the circumstances this is entirely appropriate.

Packham and his two acolytes are intelligent people. Some who disagree with them mistakenly think they are fools or stupid. They are neither. They know perfectly well what they are doing and their actions are part of an effective and ugly campaign.

It is a campaign which is supported by organisations that were once respectable and respected and who should be ashamed of the company they now keep.

The idea is simple. Select a minority group, in this case gamekeepers, who can be easily isolated and traduced. Then use every excuse, real or imagined, to attack them, individually, and as a profession, and do everything possible to put their way of life at risk of extinction and make their day to day existence as miserable and hazardous as possible.

[Gamekeepers and their families have faced a relentless campaign of harassment]

Whilst most of what the three do is limited to using the media access and the on-line power, generated by Packham's celebrity, to batter gamekeepers in the press and on broadcast and social media, they are seconded in darker ways. RSPB and others have conducted a great deal of covert surveillance of gamekeepers, including in the past on their homes. Certain people, thought to be close to Moorland Monitors, are known to have carried out criminal damage, and other forms of vandalism.

Any reasonable person has only to give the matter a moments thought to realise that this orchestrated campaign has one obvious objective: to make the lives of gamekeepers as unpleasant and precarious as possible.

It is equally obvious that the campaign can be predicted to have a serious impact on the health and welfare of the people under attack. Consider for a moment how you would feel if a rich and powerful celebrity was trying to destroy your job, the job that keeps your family fed and housed. Think what it would be like to know that at any moment you and your family might be being covertly filmed, or their phones hacked or your equipment trashed. Would this be likely to have a impact on your health and welfare? You bet it would!

Packham is an important person. He is Vice-President of the RSPB and a hugely successful BBC TV presenter with a large following. He is the cleverest of the 'Gang of Three' as is evidenced by his huge wealth and the fact that the special employment arrangements he has personally negotiated with the BBC enable him to avoid having to declare his annual income in the same way as other BBC presenters.

Such an evidently clever chap can hardly claim to be unaware that his actions have an impact on the health and welfare of the people he attacks so remorselessly. The only rational explanation we can come up with is that he knows the consequences of his actions, that he understands its predictable effects, and that he is happy with them.

The recent incident, in which a stolen car was set alight outside the security gates of his New Forest mansion, makes it very clear that he fully understands the malign power of campaigns like the one he is currently running against gamekeepers.

Leaving aside the helpfully ignored fact that the incident was one of a dreadful series of such criminal behaviour in the area, and was almost certainly nothing to do with Packham or his views, he immediately started using it to blackguard people who had absolutely nothing to do with it.

[a second burnt out vehicle, which also killed a calf, on the night a car was set alight by Packham's house]

First, trail hunters, then shooters and bizarrely the BASC. The latter organisation is obviously entirely blameless in every way, but appear to be singled out because they had used social media to disagree with some of the views expressed by Packham. Obviously, being the careful organisation they are, the terms they used have always been temperate, accurate and polite, nothing like some of the vitriol that has characterised Packham's outbursts, but nonetheless, disagreeing in public with him is apparently the likely cause of some criminals stealing a car and torching it outside his mansion.

Packham knows the impact of his words. They show, beyond all doubt, is that he knows the power of social media and its potential effects on the people against whom it is directed. He knows that his attacks on game keepers and their way of life will take a direct toll on them and their families as it is intended to, sometimes with tragic consequences.

He knows that his words are likely to inflame others to go beyond what he will do himself, taking the law into their own hands and inflicting even higher levels of misery on innocent people. Perhaps worse, once respected and respectable organisations like the BBC and RSPB do absolutely nothing to curb his behaviour, and, in the case of RSPB, enthusiastically join in.

What is going on is disgraceful, it would hardly be tolerated in the case of any other minority group. The fact that it is done by an individual and organisations who constantly boast of their 'values' makes in frankly nauseating. It is therefore entirely appropriate that money collected by these unsavoury characters should make a small contribution to help the health and welfare of the innocent people whose lives their actions have sought to blight.


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