All in a flutter

Cod Almighty | Article

by Steve Meek

25 September 2007

 The law locks up the man or woman Who steals the goose from the common But lets the greater felon loose Who steals the common from the goose. 

Just a little 19th-century poem there to get us started. But let's go even further back to erm... last Thursday, when golden plovers and the Fentydome clashed, and sparks flew.

The situation is this. The field where Fenty wants to build his temple holds a flock of overwintering birds, including golden plover, curlew and lapwing. English Nature noted this and told GTFC that they would have to manage another habitat nearby to provide a home for the dislocated birds.

True, this is controversial in many respects. Firstly, the birds don't nest there: they just overwinter, and since the habitat is nothing special, they could just relocate to another arable field nearby. Secondly, when the survey was carried out the field was 'set aside' - temporarily not being used to grow crops - and thus its attractiveness to birds was reduced anyway when crop growing recommenced. Thirdly, other big businesses in the Grimsby area destroy much more important bird habitat every day without concessions being made, and so it does look as though Fenty's Temple is being treated unfairly in that respect. Fourthly, in all honesty, none of the species of bird mentioned are really that rare, at least as overwintering species.

Fenty himself described the ruling as "bizarre", and given all of the above, I must admit it does look as though English Nature have been a little harsh in this instance, although green belt developments will always (rightly) have to meet strict environmental criteria.

What is really depressing, though, is the tsunami of stupidity that broke forth from some GTFC fans after the ruling was announced. Top prize goes to Geoff Ford, the photographer, match reporter and now columnist who gave us the benefits of his knowledge and experience in the Grimsby Telegraph on Thursday.

Some of you may have been lucky enough to have missed his column. I envy you. It was so ignorant, offensive and crass it would have made Garry Bushell vomit. Apparently Geoff failed to understand the whole environmental consultation process, or why birds needed to be counted, or why birds should stand in the way of a new stadium for GTFC. Indeed, he found the whole thing "bonkers". Well, Geoff, a donkey wouldn't understand Shakespeare. That doesn't mean that Shakespeare is bonkers.

For starters, Geoff, consider the fact that the Royal Soceity for the Protection of Birds has well over a million members, more than any British political party. Does this suggest to you that people do in fact care about birds and want to see them protected? In fact, well over a million more people care about birds than care about Grimsby Town. So perhaps a broader perspective might be needed here. And the people at English Nature whom you described as "tree-huggers" are actually vastly more skilled, dedicated and educated than you. So perhaps a little humility might also be called for?

But wait! Maybe you are a Town fans who agrees with Geoff? Maybe you think a few birds shouldn't get in the way of Fenty's Temple of Doom? You think English Nature are tree-huggers, you think that if Grimsby had more big shiny buildings it would be a popular place to live and work, and you think Grimsby's awful image has nothing to do with its ugliness, its lack of culture, the uneducated and violent nature of a number of its inhabitants, and its brainless newspaper columnists? Or, most pertinently, the absolute lack of respect many residents of Grimsby have towards their environment?

Well, let me explain this in the simplest and most direct way I can.

You - are - wrong.

Do you agree or disagree with the Meekster? Does it really matter? Or is this just yet another obvious hurdle to halt the FentyDome? Let us know through the feedback page!