Tuesday, 11 January 2022

Not allowed to be happy according to former lead conservation adviser at Natural England

According to the former lead conservation adviser at Natural England, Jonathan Hickling (now retired),  I'm not allowed to be positive about the new nature conservation framework and the capitalisation of nature. Check out his comments on this Birdguides facebook post below (the comments were removed from the post so I've reproduced them here also with the other interesting comments he was making ). He launches into an attack on me for being positive and keen to embrace the new changes and to deploy a diverse strategy  to maximise opportunities (he calls that a rosy and narrow view) and even though my family are successful nature conservation/nature friendly small holding farmers and horticulturists/arborists he calls me a private sector worker with unfounded views, told me before I comment I should research first and someone who doesn't understand rural communities and that I live in a private working world cocoon. None of that is true considering I work from a rural small holding (where my brother lives and my other brother is an organic farmer in Bulgaria) in North Surrey where we operate our arboriculture/horticulture business and have spent a lot of time volunteering in the public sector at Beddington Farmlands and working in Localism. I also live in a rural village in Bucks with a pheasant hunting father in law, a father in law whose mates are all farmers. 

Hickling also dismisses projects like Knepp and celebrity led re-wilding and the whole boom in private companies jumping on the re-wilding band wagon, dismissing it as a millionaire culture. I agree what he says when not all farmers are millionaires (e.g, some hill farmers) but a lot of them are, especially round here! Maybe he is echoing others people's concerns of a private wildlife inaccessible to the public- but a lot of RSPB and wildlife trust reserves are mostly inaccessible and kept low profile from the public anyway.   

These senior government advisers (or at least former ones) don't do themselves any favours in terms of dispelling the myths of being detached from the people they are supposed to be representing. He sounded a bit worked up and really upset about Brexit and referred to an optimistic past and looks like a bit of an old boy. I can sympathise that things didn't turn out the way they had hoped, in the way they wanted but attacking people who still have a bit of hope and keen to look for a new road ahead is a bit odd.   I didn't vote for Brexit for fucks sake, I wrote Revolution not Referendum on my ballot paper as I want to see Proportional Representation in this country and the introduction of multi-value indices to replace GDP (like New Zealand). If I can't live in a country that does that I'll create a parallel structure (a bubble) that creates that around me.   It was actually an interesting conversation/debate and very helpful for me so I don't know why he deleted it. I was agreeing with him for most of it just could have done without the offensive patronising that clearly reveals some deep prejudices and polarised opinions (maybe the problem of 'lefties' that I keep sensing).   


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