see letter below;
if you agree please sign and forward to your MP, with elections both local and national let’s let them know anglers are voters too!!
P.S. You don’t have to be a member of NUBA to participate.
The time has now arrived for anglers to speak with one voice. Our sport has an unrivalled tradition, culture and history spanning many hundreds of years and those of us who fish will not easily follow Fox Hunting into the abyss as the next politically expedient casualty of a government which in the judgement of many has lost much credibility. The National Union of British Anglers (NUBA) has formed to represent law abiding British anglers from every branch of our sport and by so doing will ensure the long term future of an honourable, decent and legitimate pastime, loved and practiced by over 3 million within these isles.
NATIONAL – England, Scotland, Wales, Northern and Southern Ireland.
UNION – The bringing together of hitherto separate codes and administrations, Sea, Coarse and Game. (No one above the other)
BRITISH – anyone in the British Isles fishing lawfully and legitimately with rod and line irrespective of age, race, creed, colour, religion, sex, social standing or ability.
ANGLER – Sea Coarse and Game
To form a proactive, independent, powerful and united lobby, properly representative of our number. To protect and celebrate a valid and much loved pastime under threat today as never before from a misguided establishment and a vociferous and well organised extremist minority, looking now for the next vulnerable field sport to confront. We will make it crystal clear to MPs from all parties both now and in the future the dire political consequences of ever perceiving angling as the next soft target for attack by opportunist, transient administrations of whichever colour or leaning. Our membership will never automatically favour one political party above another. NUBA will instead carefully consider the stance and policies of each in relation to its support or otherwise for our sport. Our strength will be in our sheer number, in our passion for angling and our power as a properly organised movement at last!
Britishness is a much maligned concept today, hijacked and sullied by such as the BNP who’s vile agenda has of late been offered a lifeline by an out of control immigration policy hoist upon us by a Government in disarray. A Government seemingly unwilling to prosecute those decimating our rivers and our seas with total impunity and treating our laws and environment with utter contempt and distain. NUBA will challenge this now untenable state of affairs and press for the swiftest possible changes to laws now patently unfit for purpose, the flouting of which fan the flames of discontent and a racist tendency in those instinctively and historically far more generous and welcoming as a people. Good people, but now at their wits end and seemingly less and less able to influence an entrenched administration whose policies are now fostering an unnatural division.
NUBA will attempt to reclaim decent Britishness and British common sense. This was once a plentiful natural resource, now all but fatally undermined by rampant political correctness an understandable fear of American style litigation and an out of control health and safety police who’s only real lasting achievement has been the erosion of much that once made our lives spontaneous, tolerable and fun. Far fewer children now enjoy school trips, teachers and coaches dare not touch or even mildly chastise a child in fear of allegations of impropriety, possible prosecution or even worse. Obvious to most of us in the real world but still a complete mystery to a Government wringing its hands of late in a vain attempt to fathom where it all went so horribly wrong. As a direct consequence parents fearful of that dangerous world outside now willingly allow their children to inhabit destructive amoral, virtual worlds of crime and violence, cosseted away in bedrooms divorced from social stimulation and human interaction. These children are now tragically ignorant of the beauty on their doorstep, the same children need as never before to experience, explore and enjoy this world outside for their plummeting physical well being, mental stability and social awareness. The environment itself could easily suffer terminal decline if the future stewards of the countryside continue to live in contrived fear and tragic ignorance of its very existence.
As a breed anglers have long been an apathetic, affable bunch, notoriously difficult to muster en mass. Not surprising. We fish to escape the mundanities of life, and for most of us politics is certainly one of these. I am no different! Sadly, if someone doesn’t assume the political role we just might find ourselves sleepwalking down that dark foxhunting path.
Recent Sport England figures blatantly relegate angling to 15th place in a supposedly serious table of participant sports and pastimes (see nuba.org.uk for details). This surely must be a stark wake-up call for us all. Government already has solid, consistent well-recognised figures regularly compiled by a bona fide official source, The Environment Agency, a Government body. These authoritative findings are available to anyone at the press of a button. They were last published in 2005 (Attitudes to Angling) showing accurate angling participation to be between 3.5 – 4 million. This is in blatant contrast to Sport England’s ludicrously extrapolated figure of 281,000. Inaccurate by a mere factor of 14. Not really out of character given the Government’s tenuous grasp of statistics. The very same experts confidently predicted immigration last year to be 35 times less than it actually was. Many of these immigrants, now a predictably desperate, exploited and underpaid workforce are stealing our fish simply to survive. All quite laughable if the consequences were not so serious. Worryingly, the Sport England figures combined with other probably equally spurious factors will be used to decide levels of angling funding for the next three years, and will almost certainly be used as a general yardstick for future funding consideration if not challenged. This is money so crucial to angling development and survival.
We urgently need a greatly strengthened far more credible Environment Agency, freed from the manipulation and skewed priorities of a Government intent upon asset stripping, undermining and micromanaging this once largely effective organisation. This agency as never before now requires realistic targeted funding, safe from Government plunder and properly earmarked for the many pressing environmental tasks we and they once considered their core responsibility. They are now generally perceived as merely a flood defence force, demoralised and vilified by everyone, patently ill-equipped to realistically or adequately challenge polluters or those who steal our fish. Furthermore, they are rarely if ever seen on the riverbank checking licenses or effectively policing our waterways. They are pared to the bone and simply do not now have the time, the funds, the manpower or resources to carry out their crucial environmental duties. A damaging wedge of unfulfilled expectation now exists between the angler and the agency. NUBA should rally to the Agency’s aid. Anglers need a strong, independent and confident Environment Agency if our cherished riverine habitat is to thrive and survive.
A long awaited and dangerously overdue interceptor sewer will now be constructed to alleviate the pollution crisis on the River Thames. You can be sure of this! Greatly welcome, and this decision should be applauded by all those who fish – but please understand, this important project was only given the green light by Government because of the forthcoming Olympics. The two billion price tag, or should we say 20 billion given their previous track record will be met by Thames Water customers (that’s me by the way) and tax payers across the county. National prestige was the only reason for this project being rushed through, and certainly not the regular and obvious pollution disasters. Typically cynical yes but all Southern anglers should welcome the eco-benefit of the project.
Recent Defra pressure is now forcing the Environment Agency to drastically cut funding for angling based education projects and school initiatives. This at a time when the public are asked to believe this Government is searching for ways to positively motivate children and encourage them to rediscover their precious local environment. Our own work in schools (see www.jetsettitchuk.org) is generously partnered and encouraged by the agency and is now under threat as will be so many other such desperately needed projects. The Government cannot seriously expect those who battle to do this important work that they fail to do to believe for a moment their fine public words of support when they cynically withdraw funding which makes an incredibly difficult job just about possible.
NUBA has a long hard road ahead. Up until now successive Governments have treated anglers and angling matters as a mere irritant, in spite of the tremendous contribution our sport adds to the public purse countrywide. No wonder if we allow them to believe there to be only 281,000 of us. Why should they care? Anglers really do have the ability and the numbers to force Government to listen, and to take us seriously. It is simply up to us and us alone to make this happen.
NUBA will hold their official press launch in Birmingham on 11th July please see press and NUBA website for details and press release.
Inevitably nobody will agree with everything in this letter but hopefully all will agree with the sentiments expressed. I welcome criticism and reaction.