It’s been a while.
For regular blog readers you’ll remember ex-England cricketer Ian Botham as being the figurehead for the group ‘You Forgot the Birds’, an astroturfing PR outfit funded by the grouse shooting industry and whose main aim seemed to be slagging off the RSPB and Chris Packham.
[Intellectual heavyweight Ian Botham, photographer unknown]
Botham was an inspired choice for fronting this group: his profile always guaranteed press attention and his gaffes were legendary and helped pour derision all over the industry’s claims without anyone else having to work very hard.
As a classic example, this is still one of the funniest car-crash radio interviews ever, recorded in 2017 when Botham was interviewed on BBC Five Live talking about how the public spirited game shooting industry was planning to donate thousands of potentially lead-poisoned pheasants and partridges to the poor and needy:
Botham threw a massive wobbler after the interview and threatened to boycott the BBC who, he claimed, had “ambushed me with with their anti-shooting agenda” (see here).
‘You Forgot the Birds’ seems to have vanished in recent years, perhaps stepping aside for another astroturfing outfit set on attacking the RSPB and anyone else who might question the mighty grouse shooting industry (see here) but Botham’s not been fading in to obscurity.
Earlier in the summer it was announced that he’d been made a life peer by Boris Johnson, reportedly for his grand support of Brexit, and he’s now ensconced in the House of Lords.
[Not his official portrait, obvs. Someone must have hacked his Lords webpage]
Judging by a comment piece in today’s Telegraph, it looks like we can expect to hear more from Lord Botham over the coming months/years as he takes full advantage of this new platform.
This’ll be entertaining. Although he seems a bit rusty. It took him until the third paragraph in today’s piece for him to start slagging the RSPB and a staggering delay of seven paragraphs before he started on Chris Packham.