Sunday, July 06, 2008

Opportunist soundbites

In a headline grabbing foray, Conservative MP, Daniel Kawczynski who chairs the All Party Group for Dairy Farmers has signalled his group's intention to launch a Judicial Review in response to the governmental leak of 'No-Cull'.

He writes on this website of his 'distress' and slams the opposition for their total disregard of the farming industry.
.... [I] feel so very angry about the Socialists' total disregard for our farming community. Hillary Benn, Margaret Beckett, David Milliband and all the others have shown nothing but shallow platitudes to me and others whilst happily ignoring our deep concerns and wilfully taking no action to address the crisis.

With that we would agree. But who initiated the RBCT Badger Dispersal Trial when decades of epidemiological evidence made it irrelevant? Who banned gassing of badger setts in the mid 1980's and replaced it with cage traps, simultaneously reducing land culled in response to confirmed cattle breakdowns from 7km to just 1km, and then only on land cattle had grazed? And who failed to challenge the moratorium on badger culling instigated in 1997 at John Bourne's request, rather than after democratic parliamentary scrutiny? Pots and kettles come to mind.
But in full flight, Mr. Kawczynski continues:
I am incensed that as usual we have to hear this news from the BBC rather than from government itself. Yet another leak to the media shows the contempt that DEFRA Ministers have for us. I have tried to go through all appropriate channels to raise this issue with the government by securing numerous debates in the Commons on Bovine TB and asking many official parliamentary questions on the matter, all to no avail. That is why we have no option but to go to the High Court to seek a judicial review over Government inaction. I shall be approaching various business people and sympathetic organisations to secure the funding for such a review and will fight the Socialists through the Courts until our dairy farmers have justice.

Sounds good doesn't it? A Judicial Review with the Socialists fought through the courts by a lone Conservative MP. The Lone Ranger perhaps?

It's an opportunist sound bite, a shot from the hip.

Consider the situation Hilary Benn is in. He has a report, which took ten years in the making which says 'culling badgers makes things worse'. As we have pointed out, the diminutive professor delivered exactly what was requested ten years ago. But things have changed, which is why, unusually, Defra have put out to tender which is in effect an Inquiry into the Inquiry - and let a third party have the RBCT raw data to peer review it.

Until the Minister of State has that peer review to wave at a High Court Judge, he has not a leg on which to stand. And neither has any JD which challenges the ISG final report.

That is not to say that action shouldn't be directed in another direction - or two.

The postings below describe government's statutory obligations under various public and animal health directives within both the EU and OIE, to eradicate tuberculosis from both cattle and 'wildlife sources'. This is to protect any mammalian species, including human beings, from its spillover. This they are not doing, and have not done at all since 1997.

And that is the other direction a challenge may take. The moratorium on badger culling was requested by John Bourne and fuelled by a £1million bung from the Political Animal Lobby. The Protection of Badgers Act 1972, Section 10 allows for culling of badgers 'to prevent the spread of disease'. But since 1997 government have not granted licenses for this purpose, where an Act of parliament specifically authorises it. Thus British law has been ammended, but with no parliamentary scrutiny - and no challenge.

These sort of speeches may be superficially vote catching, but they stand no scrutiny and smack of lightweight opportunism.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"lightweight opportunism" - an apt description oy yesterday's pathetic turnout for the farmers' protest gathering in London yesterday