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Frederick Forsyth and Dunblane

posted 12 May 2016, 05:44 by Tony Cattermole   [ updated 12 May 2016, 05:45 ]
Members may be interested to see Charlie Quinn’s post on the forum and my response,
so I am posting it here as well as the forum, for those members who do not see the forum.

Forum posting:

Dear Fellow members

Last Friday, 6th May, whilst in Sainsbury's Cafe in Grimsby (I was
'shopping with the wife) I chance to read the Express Newspaper. There
was a very interesting article by Frederick Forsyth where he said that
now those in the Hillsborough Disaster had finally got a true hearing,
there remains in his eyes, another area which should be investigated.
That is what happened at Dunblane, and the COVER UP afterwards! I would
suggest that all members down load the article by him on the 6th May and
read it. I am not very good with computers, but is there something that
says if enough people ask, (I think it is 10.000) then it has to be
debated in Parliament? It might be an idea for the HBSA, and all other
shooting organisations to get together and take this on board?
Charlie Quinn

Forum reply from Derek:

Dear Charlie

Thank you for your note about this. I had not seen the article but have now read it. My comments are as follows.

I was in touch with Frederick Forsyth when the Daily Telegraph published my article some time ago, and again since then.  We discussed pursing the subject with his support then, in the light of the various police failures. However he was no longer enthusiastic about doing so himself. His final reply was:-

"Dear Mr Stimpson, I have raised this topic publicly and privately several times but cannot elicit a flutter of interest. For the English it is just a mysterious Scottish affair and clouded in private grief; for the Scots thunderingly embarrassing. Sorry but it seems too many vested interests want this dog to continue to lie and sleep. Forsyth"

Needless to say we have already considered it again in the light of was has just happened and will discuss at next week’s Council meeting and raise it at a forthcoming BSSC meeting.

We are already stretched with the Policing and Crime Bill issues and the EU Directive. Raising Dunblane again now, whilst it is a potential opportunity, will be complex and involve us in a huge amount of work - as you will realise it isn’t just a matter of writing some letters. A Freedom of Information request would need to be made and vast numbers of papers gone through. We would need strong support from well known people like Forsyth. It could also back fire.

I did in fact write again recently to Frederick Forsyth without response - he is also getting on. One shouldn’t forget that he is a journalist and happy if he can write something controversial in print to provoke his readers. I don’t believe that he now has the appetite to carry it through as shown above.

A petition might be a way of starting it rolling, but again there will be the same amount of work in carrying through after the petition is handed in. Sadly the previous petition got nowhere.

This is not negative, simply realistic in what we can achieve, and as you will note we have made some attempts to raise interest. Dunblane is in the past, we are building bridges with the police and the new head of FELWEG. Our work with the Home Office, MPs and MEPs goes on. It is difficult to forsee the result of raising this again, notwithstanding the huge injustice caused, in effect, by a breakdown in police procedures. I have written the last point publicly various times, as has Forsyth, but there was hardly a flood of responses. Responses from MEPs to our members reinforce this.

Even if we prove our point, which is in fact publicly known already, the world has changed and with the current crime and terrorism issues it is very unlikely that any Government will allow pistols back. The previous petition for that, although well supported, did not get anywhere, even with .22RF pistols and Olympic practice.

We achieved a success with Section 7 in preserving heritage, part of our “raison d’être”. Our efforts continue in many respects as members will know from my various posts regarding EU, the Law Commission and the Home Office, and David Penn’s Legislative Reports, and I cannot but underline the amount of effort we continue to make for shooting and collecting historic arms, including with BSSC, whose support is of enormous value.

Derek Stimpson