Archive for the ‘Review’ Category

I was sent a very interesting article to preview prior to publication in the next installment of HOWL. For those of you who aren’t members HOWL is the magazine of the Hunt Saboteurs Association. It’s a pretty good read with all the updates from the various groups around the country and some informative pieces regarding sabbing, the law and the history of the movement. If you aren’t a member I really encourage you to join. You don’t have to be active in the field but it is one way of getting involved and your money goes directly towards saving lives. All you need to know is right here.

Back to the preview.

The subject of the article is Phillip Davies. It’s a name many people wouldn’t have heard of. While most will know of dim Tim Bonner from the Countryside Alliance and his buffoonery and nonsensical ramblings on social media Phillip Davies is described in the article as “someone who prefers to operate in the shadows”. He is the Countryside Alliance’s police liaison officer. It should come as no surprise then that Davies was himself a police officer before retiring and taking up his position with the CA.


Shadow Man Phillip Davies

The article goes into great detail on how this man has influenced police policy and decision making with regards to those who stand against the illegal hunting community and painting the CA as the voice of the countryside when the facts are indeed nothing of the sort. The CA’s main purpose for existing is the promotion of blood sports, the repeal of the hunting ban and the criminalisation of those who oppose them. The real issues of the countryside are completely ignored.

It goes on to highlight the other aspects of this mans work, the intelligence gathering and files of known sabs and investigators from LACS and the reason sabs are constantly having their photos taken week in, week out. It’s an obsession with those on the pro hunt side to the point of ridiculousness (and sometimes their own down fall).

Those who are regular readers of this blog with know the amount of hard work I’ve put in with the police to get their attitudes towards hunting changed. Phillip Davies is the man I’m up against and the reason why so many forces are pro hunt in the first place. It’s actually fairly unsettling to read and further highlights what a truly insidious organisation the CA really are. The article includes quotes from Kevin Blowe of Netpol (Network for Police Monitoring) who concludes:

“Mr Davies’ efforts at the conference to portray anti-hunt groups as violent criminals seemed like a rather crude attempt by the Countryside Alliance to try to co-opt local police forces as its own private security.”


The real face of the CA

It’s a piece which pulls no punches and gets to the heart of the matter with regards to policing and why sabs and monitors are constantly fighting an uphill battle against what should be public servants acting to uphold the law and not be influenced to the point of obvious bias by those with a sinister agenda. It looks at those in power at the CA and perfectly highlights why we should be questioning what’s going on behind closed doors and need for transparency within the police force and from those who are advising them on matters of hunting with hounds.

A few freedom of information requests submitted to various forces throughout the country may shed some further light on the matter and indeed this may be the purpose of the article. Before you take on an opponent you have to know who they are and what they are about. Bringing the shadow man into the light might make things a little more uncomfortable for him and with such huge public support for the ban on Hunting with Hounds the police will be put in an uncomfortable position and maybe forced to changed their ways.

UPDATE: I have been given permission to publish the full article which can be found by clicking HERE.

A week or so ago an email from a Ben Kaye dropped into the Accidental inbox. He asked if I’d do a review for a book he’d created along with illustrator Stu Jones which was to be released shortly (25th June) by the Badger Trust at Lush in Oxford Street. This would make a pleasant change I thought and certainly something new for yours truly to get involved with. It had already been endorsed by the likes of Chris Packham and Nigel Marven along with the CEO of the Badger Trust, Dominic Dyer. I had no idea what to expect but is described thus:

“Raised on fireside tales of “The Ones Who Walk Above”, a young badger leaves his loving home on a quest to find the truth behind the legends. Many adventures lie ahe􀀈ad as he searches for the mythical “Promised Land”, but,􀀊will his curiosity end in sorrow, or lead to salvation for the creatures that call the countryside their home?


I eagerly downloaded the pre-release copy and opened it up.

What I was faced with was a delightful children’s book, illustrated in a charming and distinctive manner. As someone with a design background I really appreciated the aesthetic style that Stu Jones had employed. In among the full-page illustrations were the words of Ben Kaye, short verses that form the perfect symbiotic relationship with the images that paint their own literary picture.

What makes this stand out however is the message. It’s not all sugar-plum fairies and fluffy bunnies. It pulls no punches, is extremely moving and the reader is left in little doubt who the bad guys are. The realities of our countryside are spelled out in a manner which everyone, bold old and young will appreciate and understand and I take my hat off to the producers for doing it this way. I sent the author my quote below and I support this endeavour 100%.

“This is the reality of the British countryside and the struggle of it’s inhabitants to survive, illustrated beautifully to go alongside the poignant narrative. This is much more than just an illustrated children’s book and a tale of a badger and I hope it will inspire a new generation of wildlife warriors to continue the fight for our natural heritage”.


After spending a night in the pissing rain in Gloucestershire during the badger cull generally chasing shooters, baiting the police and walking footpaths it became pretty clear I needed another jacket to keep me warm and dry. I was pretty much soaked through and feeling a bit miserable. It’s amazing how one can keep their spirits up if you’re dry and warm . . . although it has to be said a good cuppa can do amazing things, well I am British after all.

After a fair amount of research on line and with a few recommendations I decided to purchase the Paramo Halcon. Designed in collaboration with well-known wildlife cameraman John Aitchison and aimed squarely at the hardcore outdoor enthusiast it seemed to fit my requirements. Retailing at around £300 it wasn’t going to be cheap but I’ve always been one of those “buy right, buy once” kinda guys and with a lifetime guarantee it looked a no brainer. I shopped around and found one for about £260 on the interweb which was an absolute bargain.

I’ve been wearing the coat for several weeks now and it’s been really tested to the max. I’ve stayed warm even though it’s quite thin; the wind just doesn’t penetrate so you’ll just need a light base layer and fleece underneath unless you’ll be out in the extreme cold. It’s kept me totally dry when other coats would have no doubt leaked and I’ve been comfortable throughout. You can see John’s input on this coat. It’s fantastic for the wildlife photographer with lots of big pockets both inside and out, some you can easily fit a pair of bolt croppers in, not that I would need to you understand. The map pockets will actually hold an OS map (many don’t) and it has some nice touches like zip and poppers on the main fixing plus under arm air vents if you’re a bit of a stinky bugger and need to air your pits. It’s nicely adjustable and comes in what has to be the perfect colour (ignoring military style DPM) for blending in, a darkish dull green they call Moss. It doesn’t rustle like a lot of waterproof clothes so you don’t have to be too scared of making noise that will attract unwanted attention from anyone you wish to avoid and scaring away animals.

In conclusion if you spend lots of time outdoors watching/photographing wildlife, hiking, dogging etc then this has to be on your shopping list. It aint cheap but then the best rarely is.

The Paramo Halcon gets the MoreThanJustBadgers official “Double Thumbs Up” award with bells on. It’s bloody fantastic . . . I’m going to buy the wife one as well – how great am I!


Tech Spec:

Fully adjustable, roll-away hood with wired peak for excellent field of vision and fit.

Fleece-lined collar for extra comfort.

Articulated shoulders and sleeves for maximum movement.

Two-way reversed zip with poppered internal storm flap allows ventilation and access to inner layers.

Upper arm vents allow venting and temperature control.

Increased comfort when load-carrying from reinforced shoulder construction and removable foam insert strips in back.

Easily adjustable cuff design allows sleeves to be pushed or rolled up for cooling.

Excellent weather protection from 2” drip skirt and scooped tail.

Additional temperature control from single-handed concealed waist and hem drawcord pulls.

Two external secure and ‘dry’ breast pockets large enough for field guides, OS map storage etc.

A large and secure internal mesh breast pocket.

‘Dry’ storage from two large bellows pockets with secure fold-over tops with poppers.

Two zipped and fleece-lined handwarming pockets located behind bellows pockets.

Two low level capacious inner mesh pockets.

The Men’s Halcon Jacket comes in Moss, with a Forest Fleece lined collar.Reduce the ‘carbon footprint’ of your Halcon Jacket and make a positive impact on wildlife. We’ve teamed up with Trees for Life, an award winning conservation charity dedicated to the regeneration and restoration of the Caledonian Forest in the Highlands of Scotland. With every Halcon Jacket purchased a sapling will be planted.