Friday, June 06, 2008

Heil Hilary?

In a positively bizarre stroke, this week it has come to our attention that the 'Thought Police' have descended on our very own Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). A circular instruction has been issued to all staff, which will filter from DVMs right down to local vets holding LVI status that regardless what the announcement from on high is, they must 'support it'. Unconditionally, unquestioningly and wholeheartedly.

We understand that the instruction is quite explicit in that all Animal Health staff who come into contact with 'customers' either by phone or in person, will not be expected to offer any disagreement with Defras's yet-to-announced-position, at any stage of the communication process.

So farmers are now relabelled 'customers'? Supermarkets have 'customers', and 'customers' have a choice. They can go next door if they don't like the product. This is a Government Department with responsibilities it prefers to shirk, but more importantly no alternative source for its 'customers'. But we digress. Just what is the impending anouncement about which the staff of Animal Health must not speak, think unpositive thoughts or utter anything other than unconditional support for?

The future Governemnt strategy for TB control, and the roll - if any - of badger culling of course.

A strategy of any sort would be an improvement on the last twenty years. During that time MAFF, now rebranded Defra, have twisted every which way to avoid their statutory responsibility, which is to have a positive eradication policy for bovine tuberculosis. Culling ever more cattle just doesn't cut it, while infected badgers are awarded cult status and their ancestral home, a Grade 1 listing.

Aghast at the return to the type of jackboot mentality which crushed rational thought and behaviour in the last century, Farmers Guardian has the story.

May one assume that the 400 LVI vets who signed a letter to the Chief Veterinary Officer in 2005, expressing deep concern about lack of government policy on BTb are equally willing to obey 'his masters voice' - whatever that may say?

Their letter ended with the scathing observation that forty years ago, a government feeling its way into a policy on bTb was "understandable". But given the accumulated knowledge acquired over decades, which they outlined in the letter they describe it now as "incomprehensible".

And Defra would appear to intend it stays that way. Heil, mein Fuhrer. Heil Hilary...

3 comments:

Anonymous said...
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Peter Brady said...

When New Labour came to power in 1997 its very first action was to cease the cull of an estimated 900 badgers in North Staffordshire in reward for donations in excess of £1M from the Political Animal Lobby.

Now – approaching mid-June 2008 - The Labour Party - in addition to its current record low national support – is also in dire financial trouble and trading whilst insolvent.

They have bank financing, primarily from the Cooperative Bank and Unity Trust Bank. The financially strong Co-Op has of course a long history of supporting the Labour party and also owns 26.66% of the small Unity Trust Bank. The remaining 73.23% of the total equity capital of Unity Trust Bank plc is owned by the trade unions and they control the bank's board.

The party has five weeks to find £7.45m to pay off loans to banks and wealthy donors recruited by Lord Levy, Tony Blair's former chief fundraiser, or become insolvent. A further £6.2m will have to be repaid by Christmas - making £13.65m in all. The sum amounts to two-thirds of the party's annual income from donations.

The figures are estimates as they do not include interest that will also have to be paid. The total debt was listed as £17.8m on the Electoral Commission website, the true level, with interest, is nearer to £24m.

“The financial crisis is very severe indeed, and the worst thing is that there is no obvious way out. Bankruptcy has to be one of the options that is on the table - Gordon Brown knows that bankruptcy would mark the symbolic end of his premiership and threaten the future of the party itself”

So the PM will be doing deals with every body Labour owes money to – including the Co-operative Bank – who also deals with clients such as the charities – RSPCA, Badger Trust, Woodland Trust, etc etc - as part of its so-called “ethical / charity policy”.

So will the fact that the Labour Party has to repay many millions in the next few months influence its decision on culling badgers to eradicate bovine TB in cattle – you bet it will.

£24 millions to have the PM in your pocket... seems like good value!

Peter Brady
SETT
Society for the Eradication of Tuberculosis Transmission

Matthew said...

Thanks for that Peter. (First comment deleted - duplicated)

By becoming the best administration lobby money can buy, this government have returned extremely bad value to both taxpayers and farmers - and of course badgers.

£24 million is a staggering figure, but pales somewhat when compared with the £2 billion that bTb will have cost by 2012, if they do not get a handle on the wildlife part of its transmission cycle.