Friends in high places

And so today we learn that the Queen, no less, has made a donation from her private income (via the Privy Purse Charitable Trust) to Songbird Survival.

The amount given remains undisclosed, but a spokeswoman for Buckingham Palace confirmed that the Queen gave £301,709 to 346 charities last year, qualifying this particular choice by saying,

“There is no significance in the donation”.

No significance? That’s a little disingenuous, as presumably the Queen gives all her donations to charity careful thought before metaphorically signing the cheque. I imagine she gives money to those organisations she feels are deserving, in much the same way that you and I make informed and conscious decisions prior to giving a donation to any given charity.

The irony here lies with the Queen’s high profile endorsement of the RSPB and all they stand for – she is, after all, their Patron. And yet she’s made a donation to an organisation that makes a point of openly criticising the RSPB in their own editorials online, and in many of the letters from their members they choose to publish:

The RSPB has been singularly successful in attracting over one million members. However, it cannot claim that its actions have in any way proved effective in preventing the decline in the songbird populations.”

The RSPB have educated and, some might say, hyped up the whole issue of avian raptors”, and on the subject of Langholm,

“Only the Game Conservancy sends out a loud clear message on how manipulative were the RSPB’s interpretation of the results of that experiment.” both

Sample letter from Winter 2008 Songbird Survival newsletter

I’m confused. Why would the Queen give money to an organisation that’s openly critical of another organisation she’s the Patron of? You either believe and support one approach, or the other, surely. Lending one’s support to both would be pretty inconsistent… 

On a brighter note*, I watched a hen Merlin take out a Twite this morning on the drive into town. A spectacular chase and kill. A Twite… they’re not awfully common, you know. And here’s a thing, I wasn’t seized by a compelling desire to “control” the nasty Merlin. Funny, that.

“Twite? I couldn’t eat a whole one… Actually, I could. And I will.”

*brighter, that is, unless you’re the finch in question. In which case it’d go down as a pretty poor start to the day.