There have been a number of recent threads on SD - mostly eventually coming round to issues surrounding BASC.
I repeat that heated language merely detracts from the actual points trying to be conveyed. Most of those threads got heated and the most recent got to the stage of being locked - which was foreseeable and I fully support the decision of Admin.
However, various serious points were raised along the way. In addition, some of the shooting organisation issues keep cropping up across various threads and seem likely to do so.
As I noted in the recently locked thread, I believe there are benefits in an open and lively debate of the issues and thought it a shame if things were left hanging by a locked thread - which is what happened.
I would like to continue a sensible and friendly debate because I believe the topics are relevant - ie what do we want from Shooting Organisations, current legislation, ways forward etc. I am not looking for a slanging match or personal recriminations. I am utterly against personal attacks and heated language. I am not certainly not trying to subvert the authority of Admin - so would ask that they allow this thread, but if possible have offensive posts - by common-sense and reasonable definition removed as soon as they are drawn to their attention - rather than locking the whole thread - if this is possible.
Various queries were asked by various posters regarding clarification of some statements made on the locked thread. Whilst I still puzzle over some of those, it merely risks rehashing circular argument and reigniting matters, so I do not propose to carry my queries onto here. If those asked questions choose to reply, I would suggest they do so on a separate thread.
I hope this acceptable to the members of SD and not least the Admin Team - whose decision is final so far as I am concerned.
So to start - my post amended and copied over;
I've been plugging away at a response to the various posts and issues - in the end all I ended up with was a great long Word document that would be just silly to post to any particular thread, so on with plan B!
There are obviously various connections with BASC as per our signature, but not here to fight their corner per se.
Not just in respect of this thread, but whenever things become heated and/ or personalised it just detracts from the debate. These topics are clearly major issues for people and passion is a positive thing - so understandable that things risk heating up - not trying to patronise anyone but its always useful to go make a cup of tea before responding to any perceived ( or real ) slight.
We're a diverse lot at the best of times, add in that shooting sports tend to attract individuals and what real chance is there for any form of 'one size fits all' option - whether it be boots, rifle make, calibre or representative organisations.
Diversity can be negative and/or positive at the same time. For shooters in the UK we've frankly done a sterling job of pulling in opposite directions over the last few decades. Divided we have fallen. There's no one group that stands blameless in that. I dont think we are ever going to achieve anything more united than an uneasy truce. But guys, it's going to have to happen - because one by one we're getting picked off.
So with that Diversity, it cannot be any surprise that there are a number of organisations. That a number of those have formed due to dissatisfaction with existing ones shouldn't be any surprise either. As a nation. we have the mindset of distrusting anything that gets too big or successful - so again no surprises.
Organisations are made up of individuals. The ideal would be that every individual behave to the highest standards of the organisation they represent in everything they do. It hasnt and doesnt happen - a rigorous system to properly address that is generally lacking - and so feelings fester. No surprises.
BASC have dropped some real clangers. So have other organisations. The people controlling these organisations need to be scrupulous in ensuring they remain in touch with the wishes of the membership - all could do better.
What do we want from such bodies - good insurance? Political clout? Advice? PR? Most of us will have differing priorities at different times.
Many would argue for a stronger voice as a major priority. To whom do we want the voice directed? The BASC are perceived as being very weak willed and 'under the cosh' etc. But the language often used on here ( SD generally ) would not only cut little ice with decision makers - it would alienate them. To influence decisions you must be involved and recognised as a voice that it is worth listening to. In doing that it is very easy to be seen as be ineffectual. Politics is complex and really, really boring. Its an art not a science - outcomes are never guaranteed. That's not a defence of any organisation; just a subjective observation.
Many years ago Colin Greenwood tried to change the direction of BASC - in the best attended AGM ever, he was ousted. Members voted for that; members.
The greatest influence upon outcome is perception. Perception can change rapidly - but more often its a long haul. Anti shooting and and anti fieldsports organisations started from an advantage ' Would you kill Bambi?' and have far more effectively manipulated perception for decades. We still haven't really got the hang of that.
The same perception colours the framework in which we all now live. Even within, I'd float the idea that we as a group suffer from it individually. Pause and think how you personally and truthfully view some of the other branches of the shooting sports.
Hold that thought - now try to put yourself in the mind of a member of Joe/ Josephine Public - some of whom are decision makers. Its not a pretty picture!
I was a member of the American NRA for a number of years. In many ways it is very attractive to wish we had the same here. BUT - the UK is not the USA - society is fundamentally different, government is different and the individuals are different. The membership of the NRA respond to calls for action in a way that us Brits simply never would. And if we did, the reception by the general public would be mostly negative. There are lessons to be learned, but it is not a readily transferable template I would argue. Have a look at their website sometime.
There are issues with DMQ/ DSC etc - some valid and some more personal to individuals - and no less valid to them. But in terms of a perception campaign it is a huge positive that hasn't been fully exploited. Read the DMQ website and compare what they say is the arrangement of that Organisation. Then compare that to the impression ( or perception ) created by much of the in-fighting over it. If it wasn't such a poor pun, does not the proverbial self-inflicted gunshot wound to your own foot seem very appropriate?
The paragraph above is not wholly aimed at individuals. Major organisations within the scheme are as guilty ( with far less defence ) as any individual. Power struggles and empire building/ self interest doesn't begin to describe it. Shame on the lot of them.
SACs looks really good. I was very tempted to join, but in searching the website found the recent article they put out and my heart sank. It maybe entirely truthful and valid - I dont personally know. But the way it was voiced was poorly judged and rendered it mud slinging. All mud slinging ever achieves is to cover things in mud. That can be a valid pastime, but is not really what we're about.
By my rough maths - 30 members a page and 273 pages on the members list, going to assume there are circa 8000 SD members. Thats a big number. Many are old entries and I think if half that number really take part it would be surprising. But I know anecdotally that there are a good number of non members that follow SD. I would therefore put it as valid to argue SD is reasonably representative of at least the stalking community.
The tone of SD isnt to everyone's taste - as I noted above, heat detracts, not adds to the point you really want to get over. It turns people away from here in droves. Regardless onlyBASC and technically Barony ( via Paul ) in terms of shooting organisations and supporting organisations of DMQ are trade members - they pay to be here. BDS has input via Dave Goffin - but thats nowhere as involved or proactive as the two named above ( admit it - how many of you wonder if Dave G ever got a tick on his.... sorry - wandering off topic ).
SACs is getting a lot of exposure courtesy of various members, NGO nearly as much, SGA occasionally. I saw someone suggest Admin invite them to join - good basic idea. Without wishing to sound strident - frankly where the heck are they? Not just SACs/NGO - but all these bodies claiming to act in the interest of Stalkers - how do they justify not being paid up members here on the foremost internet collection of UK stalkers? To join after direct invitation? I know various of those organisations monitor SD and may well have individual employees as members - but how does that accord with their stated aims? As much as it goes against my natural over-polite grain, I would propose that an invitation be made and if declined a reason for it be requested.
BASC have things that need to be looked at and things I would like to see changed, but bottom line they are here and have been here. David and Mark have been posting late nights and weekends - and on the whole taking a pounding. I note several of the 'pounders' have acknowledged this - good on you.
So getting back toward a 7 page ramble. I've curtailed down a lot of points because we'll get nowhere if we lose the will to live!
So points for consideration ( just that, in no way saying I'm right etc )
1. BASC - member driven. If changes are desired - some of which it is felt other organisations provide - what changes? Is there enough concensus to put together a motion to be tabled at the AGM?
2. Other organisations - will their members on here ask why they do not join SD?
3. Despite individual issues and emotion, could we agree that a large united voice on an agreed agenda - a common one we can abide by - is more powerful and effective than a fragmented and possibly contradictory field of players.
4. Following from 3, one single organisation isnt going to happen. But can we - the members - put to our organisations that we want them pulling together - possibly under a UK wide umbrella group with representation and contribution from each organisation - possibly similar to FACE?
5. Its a Free Market - some insurance cover is better than others. The Sporting Gun report highlighted how good SACs scheme was. In the spirit of item 4, is there a way for organisations to combine and use their collective clout to wring out a single great scheme that benefits all members with the best the market has to offer. Possibly using the same power to widen cover?
6. Perception - an agreed strategy to jointly address public perception. Herding cats again - but including a set of standards for each individual to aspire. A coherent campaign to address public perception.
7. Legislation - most of the Firearms legislation has been knee jerk to an event. Often the law passed bears uncanny resemblance to previous plans/ white papers. These seem to be dusted off and made to fit the crisis of the day. Would members requiring their representative bodies to think long term and produce an alternative, research backed system of controls - firearm, knife etc be worth pursuing. Not a rehash, but a ground up workable and effective system - to be promoted long term.
8. It is very difficult to make a contract for something that is intrinsically an illegal act. This is one of the stumbling blocks with trying to obtain legal insurance protection. Hence by default we are left with personal petitioning to resolve problems. Should consideration be given to forming a central endowment type fund to finance ongoing legal advice - so that suitable cases could more readily have the safety net of funding to pursue. Would this not have a positive effect upon 'arguments' with Police Forces that believe it will not be taken to the wire. In that vein, could purchasing power not be employed to retain a firm or firms of solicitors to provide global free advice and first representation to members 24/7 - when you need a solicitor there with you.
Not a manifesto, just thoughts.