DTI001 26_04_17

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Art for Art's Sake

It's been an interesting news week what with policemen committing crimes, Bedouin tribesmen trying to wipe out the quail in Egypt and a street in Hull deciding to regenerate it's image using a plethora of bird art installations.

It's hard not to feel that the former Constable Upson, who got a suspended jail sentence at Norwich Magistrates Court this week, got off lightly. Stealing 650 wild bird eggs, including those of golden eagles, is certainly a hefty wildlife crime. So how come no hefty sentence?Others who haven't worn the badge have gone down for such concerted and systematic wildlife crime. Once again the huge inconsistencies of sentencing in our courts of law leaves a bad taste in the mouth. When we know some peoplesuffer unduly for committing crimes while others get off with a slap on thewrist it brings into focus many unpalatable aspects of our society, not least that there's several different laws, not just one for all of us. I fear that if I'd committed the same crime as the former Constable Upson, you wouldn't beseeing me out and about for at least six months, whereas he got a piddly fine and some community service.

The trapping of birds in the Mediterranean is something we feature on a regular basis, as hunters in Malta and Cyprus arevoracious in their pursuit of songbirds. So while it's interesting to find out what's happening in the eastern Med, and to learn of the great tradition ofquail hunting in Egypt, it's equally disconcerting to hear that trappers nolonger seem to be showing restraint in the pursuit of birds. The world rejoiced for the Arab Spring and the freedoms that can enjoyed by ordinary Egyptians now the dictatorship is over, so now we hope the many aspects of civil society will equally begin to grow and that conservationists and those who talk common sense will be able to work with the Bedouins in trying to scale back the trapping, before it's too late.

And finally I had a good chat this week with one of the community leaders of Ella Street Residents Association in the centre of Hull in Yorkshire. He explained to me how the local community organised itself to raise more than £70,000 to be able to commission and make a whole series of bird artworks that would brighten and enliven their inner city area. This project is undoubtedly unusual, so one hopes that other people throughout the country take inspiration from the ideas of the people in Ella Street and maybe seek to add that little something extra to otherwise ordinary neighbourhoods. It's great to see people who understand the value of the everyday fabric and environment of our lives, and seek to improve it for everyone.

Hasta la vista...

Nick Westsignature-rob

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