As of next month(April 24th) magistrates will be working under new orders on a range of issues – one of which is pet abuse.
I’ve put the changes up before but they amount to this. For the first time ever special account will be made of any pet abuse in which a device was used to record it. In a nutshell they are now the most likely to get the most prison that a magistrate can give.
This will mean that if AF and DF were getting sentenced this year and not last year then they would almost certainly go to prison now. I think its fair to say that the Government had the case of the brothers in mind when they issued this particular directive.
You can definitely see this as a small gain and small victory. It something that didn’t exist before and it will exist now. Its progress.
I would obviously dearly love to take the progress way beyond that but I do not think there is enough public energy or will to do so. I have the will and unlimited energy and Jane definitely does. There are certainly a tiny number of others who share the desire and will.
But in hard and practical terms there isn’t anything like the public will and desire that we perhaps once believed existed. I think we have both been guilty of seriously over estimating the true public will and assuming it to have been mostly genuine. But as time goes by and as also observed by Malcolm Plant (Making The Link) it becomes apparent that to far too large a % of people, this whole subject is something to read, rage about, then forget until the next time it happens.
Thus a page like Malcolm’s (and his body of work) or a movement like Operation Frankish just become no more than another thing in their news feed.
There is literally nothing more I can do to motivate people into being more pro active. They just will not do it. I’ve tried everything. I’ve tried so many ways to motivate or get them involved that I’m almost out of ideas on how to do so.
I’ve tried explaining the benefits of consistent media pressure. Doesn’t sink in.
I’ve tried to show what will happen if the status quo remains – it doesn’t sink in.
We’ve tried to lead by example and taken on all the time and risk of doing so. It just doesn’t register though.
This past week I put up some ideas on our wall in the hope of getting people a bit more hands on – it was a waste of time as people almost never raise a hand to muck in. Its pretty much pointless putting up suggestions on how people can help out and get involved if all I get back are a few likes and absolutely no hands raised. Its even fairly pointless thinking up stuff that people could potentially do – they just don’t do it.
We’ve done this many many times, asked for direct help or come up with simple stuff that people can do. Its next to hopeless. Almost a waste of typing it up and asking.
We’ve tried to explore and develop other ideas, such as the educational side. But once again there just isn’t sufficient public will for it. If there had been we would know of it by now.
We’ve tried and succeeded in gaining a lot of press for the cause as an example of what could be done with proper public backing. The example is there – it just hasn’t registered.
We’ve shown how its possible for a movement to create more of a stir than a single member of the public acting alone. It makes no difference though.
We used to create some quite sophisticated short video in the hope that would be easy to watch and act upon at the end – people liked the videos, but they never provoked anything beyond that.
We have used many many static visuals in order to prompt action – people often share them – but it ends there. Nothing actually happens.
We had a very good song written and composed just for this cause. You’d think that something like that might provoke .. something. But no. People liked the song but as if every other thing it never translates into anything that helps us.
We had one girl who worked flat out to raise funds for us with a tombola. Did this inspire anyone else to take her lead? No.
We’ve even put our own money into this in the hope that would surely motivate others to do the same. That’s made little difference either.
There is absolutely no chance at all of finding enough people with the high energy to do a public gathering in London. To even attempt it would be a lot of thankless work for Jane and I – and I’d know in advance the public desire just isn’t there. If we cannot get people to do dead simple stuff when invited there’s no way people are ready or have the appetite to turn out anywhere in large number.
All those ‘cold’ cases you’ve read about this past week? Those that the RSPCA have yet to resolve and in one case contrived to let three offenders escape on foot? If there was enough public will and desire we could possibly bring many of those cases to a successful conclusion.
Take the case of the dog called ‘Charlie’. A dog burned alive in a plastic bag and still no one knows who the culprits were. If we had sufficient public backing we could swing into action inside 48hours with something like that. I have tactics and methods that I’d use to draw the information out, and in a way that the RSPCA will never use. I’d be using a combination of posters, rewards and a range of other methods to get names and evidence. But we cannot do any of that since (yet again) – not enough public desire to make it possible.
Neither Jane or I are even frustrated anymore. If sufficient public demand just isn’t there for taking the practical steps to fight back and win big – then they aren’t there. If no amount of anything is enough to motivate them into doing even one small thing then I guess that’s on them and not us.
Trying to make something meaningful out of all the online rage is like trying to sculpt fog. Its there but its just not tangible.
Unfortunately this is also why the Government can afford to make a fool of Private Members Bills and this is why they will only concede a little bit – such as the April changes. They are well aware that the topic isn’t yet hot enough for them to be any other way over. If this potato were hot enough then no Conservative MP would dare treat the issue with such casual disdain.
The dogs wont make it a hot potato. They cannot.
Children wont make it one. They cannot.
The owners of pets they abuse aren’t going to do it. They want the status quo!
A single politician can try their best here and there but are often hampered by rules.
The ONLY way it could ever be a hot enough potato is if the people themselves quit their online Rambo act, got serious, and really put their shoulder behind something like us. Then we’d really be in the game.
There’s no use my repeating all the things that we could do ‘if only’ the public had more desire or if only we had ten times of everything we’ve had this past year. Its pointless to do so since I’ve done it before and its still made no difference.
Those who are interested are very interested. There aren’t enough to class it as a genuine hot potato yet and 98% of people are asleep at the wheel.
There just seems to be almost nothing at all that will get them to try putting their usual cycle of ‘see news story and rage’ to one side and getting them to see that only some sort of action is going to win the day.
Any sort of action would do.
Its not like we expect people to go into the field of battle and fight the giant one eyed Cyclops. We’ve always been happy to do almost all the work and give it direction. The only sort of action we ever required was either taking us up one just one invite to do stuff or donating. Hardly a big sweat and esp since the gains of victory would be so huge. But nope – even finding people to do that is pretty slim pickings.
In conclusion our options are as follows;
3) Accept the reality that there’s just too much public Internet seethe and not enough true and sincere desire and give up altogether. This is our least favourite option, but we are both very pragmatic. If the public will is not there and if people don’t want to be pro active or change their non productive and ranty habits then maybe we have to face the fact that the public get the sentences and laws they deserve? Jane and I are loathe to do this if only because it essentially “lets them win”. But at the same time there is only so much of ourselves we can give and we’ve given it all. The benefit to us would be that we would have our lives back and wouldn’t need organise, plan, motivate etc etc.
2) Keep going but in a different way. The way we are doing it now would benefit England and Wales first, which I have no issue with, despite being in Scotland. But since it would benefit those in England and Wales first this public desire should obviously be amply provided, at least by England. It hasn’t. London politics operates with two houses. That’s another tier of bureaucracy to go through (the Lords).
It is very difficult to get people between different English cities connected up as they are so far apart. The media in England is larger and with a lot more stuff to report. We could become an organisation which attempts to change Scottish law and the Scottish Parliament first. The benefits of that are that it would be easier to get a consensus with 4.5 million people, it would be easier to create working groups since the big cities are fairly close together.
Scottish people are quite proud of anything positive with a Scottish founder. Its just how we are. I think the Welsh and Irish are like that as well. We might lose a few donations from England, but these would probably be replaced if those people dropped out. We would probably be able to generate even more press in Scotland with a similar budget than we do trying to make it a UK wide thing. This would mean it would still exist and probably flourish faster – but the downside would probably be that big changes would occur in Scotland before anywhere else. Still – I’d imagine England and Wales would possibly fall in line eventually.
1) The last option is one that’s beyond our control. There could be a sudden and magical change in gears from the general public. We wont hold our breath but if that were to happen then it would be game on. They’d need to be a lot more high energy and they’d need to have far more sensible and visible desire for change. We’d need to be able to measure this shift in some meaningful way. This would be our preferred option but since its one we have little control over, and based on how very hard it has been to get anyone to do anything, I think its fair to say that any big change that happened fast would seem optimistic.
1,2 or 3. That’s really what it can be reduced down to and we don’t even have much of a say over 3.