Doh! Frustration! You see, I just spent the best part of two hours (alright, ten minutes) writing this piece only to lose it in a hard disk crash. And no, actually, cleverdick, I had not yet gotten around to saving it, let alone backing it up. Besides, as everybody knows very well, back-ups are for wimps!
I really hate computers some days, though, it must be said, not as much as I hate the BS factor that Britain seems to excel at. I'm really angry at the moment, so don't expect any cohesive prose to follow. All you'll get is a rant!
It's all this nonsense that is going on. Can you believe it? Beavers, and otters, are being released to further predate on our already cormorant ravaged freshwater fish. And the public perception is "Ahhh, aren't they sweet". Give me strength! Nobody even seems to question whether our rivers are in good enough condition to sustain these creatures. They're not, and haven't been for 100's of years, trust me!. And in yet another PR exercise - it's been dragged out every year since the 1960's at least - they attempt to convince us that the new, improved, cleaner, brighter (no it's not a detergent advert though it could have been when I was a kid) river Thames has salmon running up it by the thousand. Salmon! I guess I'm really lucky that the salmon anglers haven't read about it. It would be a real pain at rush-hour, what with all the flyfishers cramming Staines bridge trying to catch them.
Or it. Last year's catch returns recorded just one salmon from the Thames.
Television, radio, newspapers, the Internet. Here we are with the greatest education tools mankind has ever owned and what do we do with them? Bugger all! Or next to it. I'm sorry, but Emmerdale and the like is not what the country, or the world, needs right now. There is an emergency going on. Lots of emergencies in fact, but you'd never know it because they are all hidden away, tucked behind the soap operas and the game shows which coddle the masses into believing that all is right with the world. It's not. Where is the information that people need to make decisions? I'll tell you: hidden away in the small print by the people who set the agenda, who do so in the belief that this is the way to secure their jobs; to maintain the status-quo, to ensure that the already wealthy share-owners get even richer - but at the cost of their own children's futures. And the politicians are just as bad. Yes, those people who can change things. But won't. It's the decline of the Roman Empire all over again. Keep the masses happy (i.e. ignorant of the true situation) and slide a little deeper into the morass each day, so slowly that the man in the street won't even notice.
We hear all the pontificating but little of the truth. And when we do hear the truth, it is presented as being generated by a bunch of quaint 'loony-tunes' making a nuisance of themselves. I just heard this on the radio; anti-capitalist protesters being called 'minority interest groups'. That's probably a good percentage of the world's population compressed into three words. I can remember the CND getting the same treatment in the 60's. And the anti-Vietnam war protesters, etc. And it's all down to the agenda setters in the media.
There are many concerned interest groups out there, thank God - yet still we all have to watch the planet being destroyed before our very eyes whilst 'they' (those in power with the ability to stop it) do nothing in case it hurts their chances of being re-elected. And then they wonder why the radicals get violent in Genoa! I know there are some dodgy ones out there, but they don't all do it for fun Tony! They do have reasons, (and not just excuses like some people we could name, eh?).
Just look at the way this government handled the F&M crisis, earlier in the year. Swinging first one way and then the other according to whatever the polls said that people wanted to hear. Not that I'm knocking just the Labour government, I cannot imagine any other party doing anything different, they all do exactly what the polls tell them. Why, I wonder? If the ill-informed opinions of 1000 randomly-sampled Joe-public welders, butchers and van-drivers really mattered then we wouldn't need any educated and informed experts, would we? So there's a prime example of democracy obviously not working.
Wouldn't it be nice, for a change, if we actually had a government that was pro-active instead of re-active. One that sees the very obvious flaws in the country and sets about fixing them, immaterial of whether it's 'popular' or not. Because some of these things are a little more important than deciding whether (pick a party of your choice) gets elected or re-elected. The politicians are usually pretty smart people but none of them seem to be interested in anything other than attaining, then retaining, power. It seems to me that they will just say anything that will get them elected, end of story. Thereafter they won't do a damn thing that might endanger that position.
So what has that got to do with fishing? Quite a lot actually.
Take the North Sea big game angling industry. Oh. Sorry, too late. Someone's already taken it. Though most of you never even knew we once had one, did you?
I became aware of this after speaking to a number of younger anglers around my local lake. Of course that's just about all of them these days, but it surprised me nevertheless. When I spoke to them of our lost big game fishing grounds they genuinely thought I was pulling their legs. Or that if we ever did have such a thing it was so far back in history that it was immaterial. Yet it was not so long ago.
Because it's demise happened over a couple of decades rather than overnight, hardly anybody even noticed it going. It was destroyed through the usual factors: greed, apathy, ignorance and short-term political advantage. Captain Fishfinger and his pals encouraged and profited from the rape of the ocean at the expense of the vast herring shoals, so destroying the food chain which enticed the giant tuna into the North Sea, and so shot both the recreational and commercial fishing industry in the foot in the process. And nobody even thought to try to stop them. Or even mentions it in today's North Sea fishery conservation discussions. Well, it's history isn't it. And history is boring isn't it? Amazing. So the unlikely town of Scarborough, which today could have hosted one of Europe's biggest fleets of sports-fishing boats, instead became what it is today. Just… . Scarborough. Another has-been, sacrificed to make the greedy even wealthier at the cost of the environment.
Or perhaps those people who caused it were not greedy. Perhaps they were just stupid or ill-informed? Couldn't happen today though, could it. Could it?
Think about the short-term thinking that was applied in that case. Excuses such as 'our fishing industry must be protected' were used as widely then as they are today. So, if they were 'protecting' the industry, where is our North Sea fishing industry today? Where are the huge fleets of fishing boats setting sail every day from Grimsby and the East coast? Where are the herring, the food supply for the tuna? Gone. Forever.
And as Jeffery Archer gets sent down for getting caught out on a lie which snowballed out of all proportion (I mean, he didn't actually kill anyone did he? And I'm sure that no other politician has ever told a lie. Yeah, right.) I want to know who is going to be imprisoned for the much greater crime of what I call Environmental Murder. Those smug politicians, from the last government as well as this one, who claim to be 'protecting our fishery industry' deserve to be put in the dock for spouting what they all know is just a short term, excuse me, red-herring. All that nonsense about 'protection' is just cloudbait which a child can see through, inaction is safer than action, isn't it? Getting to the real worm of the matter is not something that any of these politicians want to deal with, as a decision which the media can make a story from could harm their chances of re-election. We used to have a word for it but it's probably not very PC so has fallen out of favour It's Cowardice!
Daft isn't it? No? Ask the polls, they'll give you an answer - for what that's worth!
And the sad thing is that the people in the street, and even most of you reading this, didn't even know that we once had a big game industry. The slow, insidious erosion of the stocks over a couple of decades meant that the huge North Sea tunny that my Dad saw caught regularly when he was a young man have been denied to me, and to you.