The Watson Bill: an Anglers Perspective

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Dave

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The Watson Bill: an Anglers Perspective
by the Countryside Alliances Director of Angling, Charles Jardine


The relevance of the Watson Bill to anglers will be seen as negligible to most, not at all to many, and a threat to some.

So why should we worry at all? Angling, that cornerstone of Scottish rural and urban - life, has endured over centuries; it continues to entice newcomers and visitors from all walks of life and justifiably, can be seen as the great leveller a true sport for all.

Yet there is a queasy feeling about an ostensibly urban government pressing their mind, political wills and whims, on a rural pursuit; one that possibly they do not either participate in or have scant knowledge of. Then, drawing a huge red ruled line under it, confining the pursuit to history and the participants to a potential criminal record if they choose to continue.

Is it conceivable? Could it possibly be that we anglers would be next?

Of course not: there are lots of us; and after all we are a major source of revenue to the Scottish economy. On the other hand..?

Given the Watson Bills champion is or was a member of IFAW, and their strident animal liberationist tenor, it is logical to suppose that there may well be others amidst the opinion formers in Parliament that have similar held views and importantly ready to inflict those beliefs on anglers at some time in the future.

Now, before all Scottish anglers go phooey! and b#??*%*s, just think what happened in England last summer. An American based organisation, PeTA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), launched a serious and concerted campaign to ban angling and so look to criminalize a law abiding sector of the British community in order to achieve their vegan ambitions. Be warned, this organisation has amassed a war chest equivalent to the cost of a hospital wing, maybe a complete hospital and this, we as anglers must take very seriously indeed. They have persuasive arguments, especially for urban society.

Given the complexion of the Scottish Parliament and the almost universal urban inclination, there is risk, no matter how slight, that their collective stony gaze, should the poorly drafted bill of Watson ever see the light of day, will be switched in the direction of angling and shooting. Suddenly the whole rural mechanism is under very serious threat. We fishers could legitimately argue that we carry huge non-angling support, that in some way we are separate to the other sports if only by public opinion. Public opinion is however, very fickle indeed, as many political parties and companies will testify. Yes, angling is enjoying rejuvenation at present and, yes, it shapes and protects those water worlds. But if a concerted attack was made we may well find that public opinion evaporates through ignorance and lack of interest and the knives come out to inflict their wounds. We must read the angling runes now and chart our collective future with kindred country sports, rather than distance ourselves at a time of joint threat. Who knows when we will need similar support? Any attack on angling, no matter how paltry and inept, would have seemed unthinkable twenty years ago. Look at us now.

Then of course, entering the mix, there are those all to salient, democratic gems: liberty and freedom of choice: the very epicentre of our society. And it is this society that should remain tolerant and not give in to wholesale bigotry when dealing with issues such as country sports.

Indeed, I find it ironic that a country which fashioned many of our rural sporting philosophies, especially in the world of angling, and a country that has championed the prince of the tides the salmon: doing so much to aid its slow, stuttering, but undeniable recovery on many Scottish rivers, finds itself distancing from a similar rural heritage like hunting.

The March on the Mound is as much about angling, as it is about hunting. It is about preserving knowledge of rivers, burns and lochs from people who know little and care less. It is more than this even; it is about continuing a love affair of wild places, wild creatures and wild calls. We owe this much to the children of tomorrow, we owe them a legacy of places and creatures, not confined and condemned to text books, but in real vibrant life.

That is why angling is as much part of this march as any other sport.

We want a future for angling, not an epitaph.

<<-------end-------->>


The March on the Mound is in Edinburgh on Sunday 16th December 2001
Start Point: The Meadows, South of Edinburgh City Centre

for further details Click Here

Once again, a sobering thought, so if you can make it please do so.

Dave
 

Ziptrev

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Try and get there saturday night (but if it's cold I'll be in the pub)
 

JohnG

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All being well I should be able to make an appearance along with a couple of pals. Its not too far away from me. I've never been on a march before but I'm sure its worth it if not for the future.


John
 

Dave

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quote:Try and get there saturday night (but if it's cold I'll be in the pub)


Hrmmm, I wonder if thats aimed at me
icon_smile_big.gifDaveicon_smile_big.gif
 
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