Saturday, November 29, 2014

The 'right' sort of scientific consensus? - Nudge.

In an article for the Western Morning News this week, Anthony Gibson, - [link] former SW regional director, then reincarnated as press officer for the National Farmers Union, has apparently nudged back into the NFU fold, describing a conference at which, from his dialogue, he was not present.

 Illustrated with a library picture of a shiny badger, Gibson's piece is a mass of contradictions. But given a  Nudge Farmers Under hymn sheet from which to sing, and despite a totally guesstimated model presented by Ian Boyd which we described in this post - [link] he's sung to it very obediently and in tune.

He explains:
.... we do need to achieve a scientific consensus as to how and why the infection spreads if we are ever to achieve political agreement on action to prevent it. To that extent, any consensus is better than none, even a consensus with which very many farmers might feel profoundly uncomfortable – always provided the scientists are right, of course,...[ although that is another story]."
"Any consensus is better than none?" Whaaaaat? You cannot be serious.

And if these desk jockeys are not 'right'?

And if they are completely unaware that the data they require to formulate policy given proven risk, particularly before making such wild statements, is actually collated daily within their own departments?

Who is going to tell them? Is anyone going to point that out?
Not Nudge. They can always rely on Nudge.

 The Nudge Farmers Under group will always do exactly as their masters tell them. Dissent is not permitted.

Thus we have a group of over qualified people, (but not a single epidemiologist) faithfully worshipping a model created with guesses. Estimates.

 Assumed data, not the actual figures which are  available for every new TB breakdown.

And telling us quite sincerely, that up to 94 per cent  of outbreaks are down to cattle?

Although it may be 100 per cent badger related. Wonderful. And they call that 'science' ?

Gibson continued, observing quite correctly that:
"Of course, no such official foot-dragging is evident when it comes to cattle controls. In that context, the prospect offered by the conference was of ever-more tests and ever-tighter restrictions, without anything being done – quite possibly not even the continuation of the pilot culls – to cut off the flow of disease from infected badger setts."
Quite. But in the whole disgraceful, sycophantic diatribe, that was the only bit he did get correct.

And predictably, he failed to mention documented data of those who had previously attempted these drastic 'cattle only' measures, now proposed. Thus history - [link] is likely to repeat itself on a grand scale with similarly ignominious and expensive results..

But hey,  when Government says jump, Nudge says  "how high"?

Disgracefully, what Gibson omitted to mention (while polishing some Nudge egos), is that the NFU appears to have done absolutely nothing to avail their Conference speakers of information relating to the circumstances leading to the TB breakdowns of their members, most of whom, according to recorded SVS / AH data, did not fit Boyds' model.
And that is unforgivable.

Thus there is nothing at all to prevent the scenario which we described last year - [link]

But somehow that is a good outcome?

For whom?

Not farmers, not cattle, alpacas, sheep, pigs, bison, deer, goats, cats and dogs. And not badgers.

If you remember, last year, Defra carried out some mind games - [link] giving them the excuse to say that they had 'consulted'. Never mind what was said at these gatherings, the end result would be a heap more dead cattle - [link] - a scenario now apparently supported by the Nudge Farmers Under group which approves a 'consensus'.

The NFU will 'nudge' those pesky farmers along as instructed, one miserable, expensive, ineffective step at a time, and hope they don't put all these miserable barbs together at the same time. That would never do at all.

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