Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Stitch-up , or "Kite flying?"

The two posts below described a joint initiative on Bovine tb which was put together by the NFU, but involved representatives from various other organisations including the CLA, RCVS, BVA, Research Universities, NBA and individual farmers. As we said, the final document appeared to drift from what we had understood to be the core policy - and it certainly provoked comments.

In the murky world of 'politics' this is euphemistically known as 'kite flying'.

No stranger to this method of sneaking a controversial idea into policy, Defra are under fire from fisherman for just such a proposal right now. On the BBC Politics show, Bradshaw accused questioners and the media of 'lies and scaremongering' when they questioned his proposal to charge £1000/ year license to small fishing boats. This little gem was buried in the heart of Minister's own report, which had taken 3 years to prepare and which he had written - or so he said. (more on www.warmwell.com/05jul11bradshaw.html )

So what is the relevance to our posts?

Well, having spoken to the original instigators of the NFU Policy, the 'Area clearance' which provoked such a vehement response from our commentators, and which the Telegraph (and other newspapers) used as headlines, was certainly roundly condemned - as was snaring (although succesful in Ireland). My comment was 'Stitch - up', but in retrospect, I think it more likely our upwardly mobile Minister was doing what sneaky politicians do - and 'kite-flying' this proposal under the NFU banner, to guage reaction to it.

'Kite flying' is where a controversial proposal is slipped in, or leaked ahead of final copy, to test public reaction. If that is favourable, or at least muted then the idea is pursued. If vehement opposition is raised, then clever Defra denounces or denies responsibility for it - and then awards it to someone else. In this case the NFU. Quite clever really.

And so 'Area clearance' in the NFU Tb policy proposal grabbed the headlines. It's a fudge. As 'George' said, and I've said - it won't happen and it's counter productive to suggest it could. It isn't necessary - but could just scupper the whole policy.

And - it wasn't there when this proposal left its original drawing board.


Anonymous said...

Farmers should ask themselves who 'leaked' this document to the press and badger groups 3 days before its official release at the Royal Show.

You're right, it's a stitch-up.

Anonymous said...

In Staffordshire, our MP Charlotte Atkins has been collecting signatures against the snaring of badgers. Depending on which paper reported it, she has between 100 and 200 MP's signatures. I would have been happier if she had explained why so many cattle were being slaughtered, especially from herds who had bought in none. Our local wild life park is feeding badgers too. The public pay to watch.

Matthew said...

Defra's 'Kite flying' did its job then didn't it? Kept Charlotte from annoying Mr. Bradshaw with silly questions about her constituents' dead cattle.