Mr Littaur’s argument that our petition to raise the de minimis in the ivory ban bill from 10% to 50% is “too little and too late” has been the story of the campaign by trade associations who told us the gentle approach in lobbying Defra was the right one to take.
ATG letter writer Nick Silver also refers to a need for ‘high-level diplomacy’ (ATG No 2354), but this approach, I believe, has failed.
When it was clear that the House of Commons would not see sense and consider reasonable amendments to the ivory bill, was when dealers directly affected by the proposed ban chose to publicise our fight to a wider audience.
How can we compete against the well-oiled lobbying machines of the wildlife charities and NGOs? Well, we do not have the financial clout to do so and mount national campaigns.
Was it worth my time organising this petition? Who knows, but if readers could put fingers to keyboard and type in ‘ivory bill petition’, or use the link in our ad on page 6, and then urge clients and contacts to do the same, it might make a difference.
At the time of going to press, the petition stands at 2006 signatures, which is greater than the average petition makes.
The petition will run for six months, by which time the bill will be passed with or without amendments. My focus is to get the message understood by the House of Lords whose committee stage takes place on September 10. They might see sense and widen the exemptions.
If they do, great, and if they don’t, at the very least I and a few others have tried to do something for the greater benefit of the British art and antiques industry.
Alastair Gibson MRICS