Just when you thought the Scottish Gamekeepers Association (SGA) couldn’t get any more desperate, their latest stunt will blow your mind.
This is such batshit bonkers desperation that I don’t really know where to start.
How about with a definition? From the Cambridge English Dictionary:
Desperation – the feeling of being in such a bad situation you will take any risk to change it
In this situation, the SGA blames Chris Packham and a number of other campaigners for asking for the law to be upheld (i.e. for gamekeepers and others to stop killing birds of prey) and for game-shooting to be regulated and the associated land management to be sustainable. These challenges to the industry are finally leading to legislative change, e.g the introduction of a licensing scheme for grouse moors in Scotland due to ongoing raptor persecution (here) and the banning of the mass killing of mountain hares on grouse moors because self-regulation has failed (here).
Chris Packham is the obvious target of hate because he’s so high profile and this has led to him being the victim of a long-running dirty tricks campaign by the shooting industry (see here), as well as on the receiving end of some disgraceful online personal abuse, some penned by senior SGA Committee members, see here and here. He’s also had dead animals hung from his gate outside his house (here and here) and in 2019 he received a chilling death threat (here).
It is this death threat that the SGA has decided to focus on, two years later.
For some reason best known to themselves, although I would guess it’s yet another attempt to smear and undermine Chris’s credibility because his campaigning skills are having such an impact, I understand that the Scottish Gamekeepers Association has employed the services of a ‘handwriting expert’ who has apparently concluded that Chris probably wrote the death letter and posted it to himself for a bit of publicity.
Armed with this ‘intelligence’, I’m also told that the SGA has made a formal complaint to Hampshire Police, questioning the ‘authenticity’ of the death threat letter.
I’m also told they’ve taken this outrageous claim to one of the Scottish Sunday papers who apparently will be publishing this nonsense tomorrow!
Now, I haven’t been told the identity of the ‘handwriting expert’ – it may have been one of the SGA’s ‘office girls‘, or perhaps the SGA is expanding its services from killing stuff to a bit of mystical witchcraft. I did notice this DIY consultation booth in the corner of Alex Hogg’s bothy the other day, which perhaps gives us a clue:
Whoever did the analysis, whether it was a DIY psychic from the SGA office, Mystic Mags from Montrose after a consultation with her crystal ball, or crystal meths, same result, or Mystic Smeg the Fortune-telling fridge, the SGA has wasted its time and money. I’m told Hampshire Police have dismissed the complaint and have reiterated their position to the newspaper that Chris has been the victim of persistent crime, that they will continue to offer him protection, and that they will investigate any further attacks on him with a view to prosecute wherever possible.
This latest display of desperation from the SGA reminds me of their failed attempt to undermine the scientific robustness of the Golden Eagle Satellite Tag Review, two years after it was published, by paying a high-ranking QC to ‘critique’ it even though he had no scientific expertise or knowledge of the subject and judging by his comments, hadn’t even read it properly anyway! That little SGA stunt was also roundly dismissed, that time by the Scottish Government (see here).
It’s the latest in a long, long line of distraction techniques…..from accusing raptor conservationists of poisoning eagles and then of ‘planting’ the corpse on a grouse moor to ‘set up’ an innocent estate, to falsely accusing conservationists of withholding evidence from the police, to now suggesting that Chris Packham might be faking his own death threats. You couldn’t make it up, but the SGA has.
Meanwhile, as the SGA stands with its pants around its ankles once again, the campaign to bring about fundamental change to the unregulated, unsustainable, and frequently criminal practices associated with gamebird management continues apace, with Chris Packham leading from the front.
UPDATE 14th March 2021: Chris Packham did not forge death threat, says Police (here)