Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Will they? Won't they?

As the Westminster bubble bursts in a frenzy of accusations and counter accusations concerning whether our elected representatives have raided the communal cookie jar, the question surely should be, have they given us value for our money? Actually made a difference? Have they taken part in the democratic process and debate that we assume, often quite wrongly, is the purpose of having a parliament at all?

So much of what passes for UK law, is snuck in behind closed doors, bereft of parliamentary scrutiny or debate and much relating to animal health is delivered from Europe, with our own ministers merely adding gift wrap.

The basis of this site is 500 parliamentary questions tabled by a past Shadow minister Owen Paterson MP during his tenure. His reward was a shift to the parliamentary equivalent of outer Siberia and total under-utilisation of his intelligence and energy. So what of the current shadow Minister?

Today, Nick Herbert gave the following statement which if taken at face value, appears to be 'on behalf of the Conservative party' rather than Mr. Herbert, who may or may not be in a position of honouring it after the election:
We cannot go on slaughtering tens of thousands of cattle while ignoring the reservoir of infection in wildlife.

Sick badgers are responsible for a significant number of herd breakdowns and unless there is a policy to remove them we stand little chance of eradicating this terrible disease.

Mr. Herbert restated his Party’s intention to ‘pursue a targeted cull of infected badgers as part of a broad strategy’ to tackle the problem.

Farmers Guardian has the story and comments:
The Conservatives have given their unequivocal commitment to implementing a badger cull, if they win the next General Election.

We'll see.


Anonymous said...

Horse & Hound (1st Feb 2009)

DAVID CAMERON's appointment of a "true countryman" to the new shadow cabinet is the strongest sign yet of the Conservative Party's commitment to rural issues.

Nick Herbert, the new shadow environment secretary, was a former political director of the British Field Sports Society (BFSS) and founding member of the Countryside Movement — now the Countryside Alliance (CA).

CA political director John Gardiner described Mr Herbert's appointment as "wonderful for our community".

Mr Herbert was master and huntsman of the Newmarket Beagles for 14 seasons. Before that he was master and huntsman of the Trinity Foot Beagles and whipped-in to the Essex Foxhounds.

"He was one of the 'good thinkers' in the early years [of the CA and BFSS]," said Mr Gardiner. "For all his many qualities as a politician, he's also a countryman and understands how the countryside ticks. Key to his appointment is that he has a rural background, has many farms in his [Arundel and South Downs] constituency and is sympathetic to the needs of the environment, food and farming."

Mr Herbert told H&H: "I am passionate about defending rural communities and protecting the environment, and I feel strongly about the importance of farming to the economy and the countryside.

"I am looking forward to this challenge on important issues that are close to my heart."

Richard Benyon, MP for Newbury, has been appointed shadow Defra minister. He was elected following work by Vote-OK in the 2005 campaign.

Vote-OK founder Charles Mann said: "Vote-OK volunteers supported Richard's 2005 general election campaign as he was standing against an MP who was hostile to rural interests.

"His appointment is great news for the countryside — as a farmer he has a breadth of knowledge of the industry and a deep understanding of rural issues, plus he is firmly committed to repeal."

Announcing his new team on 19 January, Mr Cameron said he has the "strongest possible shadow cabinet" in place for a general election.

Peter Brady

Should he break his word I shall personally strangle the gentleman

Anonymous said...

£300,000 DEFRA Ducks Survey

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) funded the three-year study by scientists, which was aimed at ensuring ducks are properly treated when kept indoors on farms.
The research, by Oxford University scientists, concluded that after offering a number of different water supplies to ducks including a trough, pond, shower and nipple drinker, the birds favoured standing under a shower.
An on-farm study found that ducks given showers spent more than twice as long standing under the water while resting than with water in a bath or elsewhere. They also drank almost a third more water in accommodation provided with showers.
Anthony Rew, Devon chairman of the National Farmers’ Union, said the use of taxpayers’ money on the research “just proves that Defra is quackers”.
He said: “They need to get out of London and get on a farm to see how the countryside works, to put policies in place that are practical.”
Geoffrey Cox, Conservative MP for Torridge and West Devon, said: “In times of national difficulty, it is always necessary to have some comic relief and it is no surprise that Defra has obliged.”
Susie Squire, of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “The last thing the Government should be allocating scarce resources to is this sort of nonsense.”
Defra said: “Consumers rightly expect that animals reared for human consumption are kept in appropriate and healthy conditions.
“The purpose of this research was to help determine the most appropriate method of providing water and maintaining hygiene in the duck rearing industry.”

Could it be worse?

Matthew said...

"Should he break his word I shall personally strangle the gentleman"

You'll have to wait in line, I think. He's a politician. If his lips are moving, he's lying.

One thing which we didn't expect was that this is a Central Office press statement, (as opposed to a single MP saying what his audience want to hear) with many good heavyweight quotes to support it.

Anon. 6.16
"Could it be worse?"
You bet. Apart from Natural England flatly refusing to consider licenses for badger control ' to prevent the spread of disease', we hear that sheep dogs are to be banned. Sheep are stressed by a sheep dog, it is said. In future, to gather, load or move sheep, shepherds must wave their arms, or use flags.

Anonymous said...

re [quote]shepherds must wave their arms, or use flags.[/quote]

I know my sheepdog understands semaphore, but my sheep will obviously have to have training lessons.

Anonymous said...

that will be a red flag then ..... ?

Matthew said...

Don't give them ideas. We already have the 'puddle' police, next it'll be the regulation style of shepherding flag; size, colour, emblem, logo. Baaaaarmy.