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Guest G. Reaper

PAC (only those interested please)

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Guest G. Reaper

I put the bit "only those interested please" because there are a lot of people who find this whole thing boring and are fed up to the molars with it - if that's you - please don't moan because to others who hold pike angling dear - this is important! Where else can those involved in the upheaval of the PAC say their piece? Whether people are for or against something - in this case the current outlook of PAC - there is no other medium where both sides can have their voices heard and points argued 'real-time' by concerned individuals.

One problem with this way of communicating is that it can quickly become a vehicle for the hide my name "tee hee hee" artists or those that want to lower an argument to gutter level. What is necessary with this sort of debate is that issues are raised and preferably points that are based on fact. If this relates to people or their actions, then that is relevant - it relates to the matters in hand and the part some may have played in them - it's no use people crying "Foul" that only takes us back to the old adage of kitchens and not liking heat.

Hopefully, over the next few days all arguments will cease because things will have moved on and will be seen to have moved on. In the meantime, there are still a few things still unsaid that need saying.

 

Ray Farrell

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Guest Frank Gibbons

Unity for Scotland?

 

In England and Wales there are 3 Governing bodies for angling, the National Federation of Anglers (NFA), National Federation of Sea Anglers (NFSA) and the Salmon and Trout Association (S&TA).

 

Prior to November 2000 the Specialist Angling Conservation Group (SACG) held aspirations that the new Minister for Sport would also recognise specialist angling as a governing body in its own right. Unfortunately, this attempt failed as SACG were told in no uncertain terms that if they wished to obtain Government recognition they would have to do so via the existing governing body for coarse angling – NFA.

 

Whilst PAC always knew that this would be the only outcome in the ongoing power struggle it was deemed ‘negative’ to harbour such a view. However, our experience north of the border provided us with enough insight to fully appreciate that SACG’s aspirations, although admirable, were ill founded. Nevertheless it was a blow of significant magnitude to SACG at the time.

 

Ken Ball, President of NFA, made one of the most damning attacks on live-baiting in the latter part of 1999 with a scathing piece in Angling Times that called for a live bait ban in order to achieve unity in our sport. His views were that coarse fishing would be less susceptible to attacks from the anti-angling lobby if it became unlawful for predator anglers to utilise live-bait in their sport.

 

In February 2001, the reference made in Pikelines, in relation to the new National Angling Alliance (NAA) is either misleading or naïveté abounds. I quote:

 

“To my knowledge, PAC has never applied for Government funding for any kind of project, but why should pike fishing place itself in a position of disadvantage compared to other facets of the sport? You are less likely to succeed in applying for funding from the Sports Council unless you are affiliated to the Government body of your particular sport (in our case the NAA)”.

 

Quite apart from the fact that pike angling is not going to become a competitive sport I will leave the inexperienced suggestion regarding funding aside. However, PAC must surely realise that the National Anglers’ Alliance is not a Government body! It contains 3 angling governing bodies as I have stated at the outset of this piece. However, I was a slightly perturbed to discover that PAC is being guided in the belief that NAA is a governing body when it is most definitely not.

 

PAC is affiliated to SACG who themselves are due to amalgamate with NASA to become the Specialist Anglers’ Alliance. Within the National Anglers’ Alliance the SACG or SAA have one seat and one vote on the national executive of NFA. Hence, it is a very precarious position that predator angling now finds itself within the ‘big picture’ of angling. PAC has placed representatives (not even themselves) in a position where they could democratically lose live baiting.

 

Chris Burt, reflects on the two sides of this particular sword in February 2001 Pikelines. “Now SACG form part of the NAA, the NFA President Ken Ball has assured us that the NFA will be far more sympathetic to live-baiting whereas in the past they have from time to time supported calls for a ban. Unity though means just that; looking at the overall picture, being aware of other anglers views and concerns even when they do not directly effect us, and acting together for the common good”.

 

(If I may correct one aspect of the above statement – NFA has called for a ban on live baiting as opposed to restricting itself to supporting calls for live baiting – there’s a difference although, ultimately, the goal is the same).

 

In defeat, SACG have won a single seat and one single vote at the very large table that forms NFA. It’s akin to having 1 Liberal MP and 15 Labour MP’s in the House of Commons. The lone vote can probably make a significant impact where there is commonality but where there is a fundamental difference the Liberal bows to Labour policy. Indeed, if NFA regurgitate their long held belief, that live baiting should be banned, it would not be inconceivable that the method could be sacrificed in acting for the common good.

 

Despite the rather over elaborate layers of bureaucracy that forms the end result of SACG or SAA representing pike angling interests at the NFA table, the PAC Secretary has informed his membership that Neville Fickling’s readmission to PAC was necessary in order that unity could be achieved within the National Angling Alliance.

 

Indeed, many PAC members recognise that there is no credibility or truth in the present PAC committee’s claims that this act was taken for the unity of angling. To set precedence where the clubs own officers have a mandate overruled for the first time in the clubs history has brought bitter division. Indeed, the process resulted in the resignation of one of the most hard working and successful pike conservation advocates in Scotland.

 

Alistair Smith, PAC President 1997-2000, wrote to Mark Leathwood and challenged ‘why there was a need to risk the political framework that protected Scotland’? Mr. Smith confronted the fraudulent prerequisite that it was necessary to readmit Mr. Fickling in order to gain unity within the National Angling Alliance.

 

In Scotland there are also 3-angling governing bodies for our sport. There is the National Federation of Sea Anglers (NFSA), Salmon and Trout Association (S&TA) and the Scottish Federation for Coarse Angling (SFCA). Ralston McPherson was the Scottish Liaison Officer for PAC and the political strength of pike angling in Scotland lay in the fact that he is also the Chairman of SFCA. This is a position that Scottish pike anglers have fought tooth and nail to secure for the benefit of pike and pike angling. It is a position that cannot even be dreamt about in most other countries.

 

However, it is also a position that the present PAC committee would freely sacrifice for a poor excuse to readmit one angler to their ranks. The PAC Secretary, in responding to Mr Smith, claimed his decision was for the greater good of England and Wales. The insulting inference that this would ultimately benefit Scotland as any change to piking policy south of Hadrian’s Wall could impact upon the Scots and therefore we should be grateful for such unity in the greater scheme of things. The Scottish Executive has obviously failed to impress in some quarters of rural England.

 

However, the fact that the work of Ralston McPherson and the Scottish PAC, in relation to seizing the political ascendancy to protect our sport, has been written off so cheaply by PAC is an insult that almost every Scottish pike angler has come to realise. What a price to pay for such a poorly conducted process of readmitting one angler to PAC. The irony being that if the PAC Committee had have trusted its members there would have been no need to undermine their own membership to achieve their rather questionable goal.

 

Those Scottish members who resigned from PAC asked for a meeting with the PAC committee only to be told that they were too busy dealing with Lake of Menteith and SACG.

 

The PAC membership, disgruntled and angry by what had taken place, asked for a meeting after they were denied an EGM. They have been told that they can meet the committee in March 2001 at 2pm in Manchester on a Sunday afternoon. However, the committee made the rather unhelpful comment that their office bearers could come along and say what they wanted “but we will beg to differ”. This conceited stance is also apparent in the way that the 2pm start is designed to automatically exclude most of the Scottish R.O.’s.

 

It is incredible that the present committee adopt words like ‘compromise’ and ‘understanding’ in racing to appease Neville Fickling’s 3-man Pike Angling Group. It must also be noted that there were no prerequisite that no decisions could be overturned or amended in PAC negotiations with PAG - such dictatorial belittlement is retained to scorn the proposals of the PAC membership.

 

Scotland and Scottish pike anglers are all but ready to send PAC a message that their members no longer live in 1977 in the trance of Rickards, Bannister or Gay.

In 1977, pike anglers may have swallowed the deceit that surrounds this claim to have acted in the best interest of unity. However, in 2001 pike anglers are far more astute than to believe that Neville Fickling’s readmission to PAC had anything to do with serving the best interest of anglers in England and Wales.

 

Scottish pike anglers are not overtly nationalistic but equally they are not about to relinquish over 15 years hard work to bow down and accommodate the lie that unity had to be bought at their expense.

 

Anglia and many other areas are equally appalled but they too are being risked for the benefit of a unity that was born out of divisive act to serve self-interest.

 

Mark Leathwood is almost biblical in defending his own actions in this matter and I quote “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone”. I ask that you take note. Scotland has cast this stone.

 

Salute

 

Frank Gibbons

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Guest waterman1013

Frank

 

Why don't you register then you can start your own posts?

 

It's been quite nice here recently. smile.gif

 

Mike

 

PS Frank, before you get any more "facts" wrong about SACG. We had known for some years that we would not get Governing Body status, and had accepted that fact. That is why we have been fighting for the last four years to achieve unity of all the Governing Bodies and to get specialist angling recognised by NFA with a National Executive seat. If you had bothered to attend a few more meetings or even to read the minutes you would be better informed.

 

But then you can't have read the PAC constitution either because then you would know that the committee has absolute power to make whatever decisions it sees fit.

 

sante

 

Mike

 

[This message has been edited by waterman1013 (edited 01 March 2001).]

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Guest Nev Fickling

It amazes me how many words Frank Gibbons can use to say just three things.

1) Let's have a go at SACG/SAA

2) Let's have a go at NJF again.

3) Let's declare UDI for Scottish pike anglers.

 

The position of the specialist angler is far better than it ever was when I was involved, so do not start knocking things as they are now. If you do not like things as they are , you could get involved rather than adopting the bunker mentality you seem to have aquired recently.

 

I'm sure you could come along to the PAC EGM and make your case. This time however the person you tried to take to the cleaners will be there to defend himself. Something I did not have the opportunity to do before.

 

Oh by the way do you want a five minute argument or the full half hour...........

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Guest Peter Waller
Originally posted by Nev Fickling

 

This time however the person you tried to take to the cleaners will be there to defend himself.              [/b]

 

It is this 'defence' that is causing the problem. In defending yourself, Nev, many of us feel that you are denying any form of wrong doing over Blithfield. I, & many others, pushed for your readmission as we felt it was the right & proper thing to be done. In hindsight, based on your continued defense, I deeply regret that support. Part of that re-admission process was the implied understanding that you were sorry for what had happened, that you, with the wisdom of time, realised that your behaviour was wrong. In continuing your 'defence' it would appear that you do not stand by the terms of your readmission. Had you the wisdom to shut up at the right time then this unwanted and damaging war would be over. The PAC is being destroyed and many of us believe that you are largely responsible.

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Guest waterman1013

Sorry Peter I have to disagree with you.

 

NF is simply standing up for himself. It is Frank and Ray who don't seem able to accept the constitution of PAC, which gives the committee absolute power over decision making.

 

Frank, from his own pen, obviously has trouble with the founding fathers of PAC and their attitudes. Given that, I cannot understand why he ever considered joining in the first place. Having now resigned he should do what he was always asking others to do during his "reign". That is to do their complaining in private.

 

The post from Frank has also been e-mailed to an extremely long list of people, so why come here and disrupt what, for some weeks, has been a peaceful and useful bulletin board.

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Guest johnny price

I would just like to say that I agree entirely with Frank's comments. There are an awful lot of very p****d off pikers north of the border at the minute and it beggars belief that wee are sacrificing excellent advocates for piking and angling in general in the form of Ralston MacPherson, Frank, John, Bill and Ray for the 'unity' stemming from the re-admittance of one angler (who apparently admits wrong-doing).

 

On the subject of a potential scottish pike club, I have for some time struggled to see the point in maintaning a UK pike group to deal with a uniquely Scottish group of administrators and politicians who maintain control over all aspects of angling legislation and the environment in general.

 

This is nothing to do with nationality. It is purely functional, who is best to deal with scottish authorities? a local liason officer of PAC UK, or the head of a Scottish Pike Group. The latter methinks.

 

cheers

 

johnny

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Guest waterman1013

Johnny

 

Our Scottish friends were not sacrificed by anyone. They fell on their own swords for their own reasons, stated as not agreeing with the present committee, nor apparantly with the PAC constitution.

 

The devolution of power to The Scottish Assembly will need change in how angling works with politicians in the UK, as a whole. Personally I don't think devolution should have included fisheries, coarse, game or sea, the environment or agricultural policy, for the simple reason that we live together on one land mass and in particular the environmental impacts in Scotland have an effect in England as is the case in reverse. I think we are all less well served by the present situation regarding environmental controls and policies than perhaps we realise at the moment. But then neither do I see why all the old institutions of government had to be inside or near the M25.

 

Mike

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Guest Peter Waller

Two things are abundantly clear from the preceeding postings. It is possible to agree to disagree without resorting to blatent insults, long may that continue! Secondly that there are two distinct camps in this debate with no obvious middle road. I would suggest to Frank, a man for whome I have a great deal of respect, that the present PAC committee has not over-ridden the previous committee's actions and policies, that can not be undone. They were right at that time and deserve respect. However, time changes situations and it was right for the new committee to act accordingly in presenting new policies. So, Frank, as I suggested to Nev, for PAC's sake, let it rest. Things were just beginning to go pleasently quiet! What has been done can not be undone.

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Guest big al

whilst i accept the only those intrested piece why is it only on this board can there be a reasoned aguement?.i thought that the people who disagreed with decision to expel nev had resigned from pac and that was their choice.no committee will please all the people but they made their decision so be it.i only pike fish occassionally but feel i should now support the current committee who seem to keep being attacked i will be sending off my membership application shortly and urge others to do the same. cheers big al

 

[This message has been edited by big al (edited 01 March 2001).]

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