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Showing posts with label 2013. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2013. Show all posts

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Prime Minister’s Questions – 17th July


How much of the UK’s legislation has been bought by lobbyists? Both sides of the House questioned that today. The Tories questioned Labour’s relationship with trade unions, in particular Unite, with Cameron stating that trade unions buy Labour’s policies, candidates, MPs and even leader. Meanwhile, Labour requested an answer to the connection between the advice of Lynton Crosby and the decision to not go ahead with plain packaging on tobacco products. Neither side gave particularly satisfactory answers. Miliband was particularly quiet on the day’s announcement of falling unemployment (despite long term unemployment levels having gone up) and this was something that Cameron made sure the House was aware of. As expected, another dominant topic was the Keogh Report, which placed 11 NHS Trusts under special measures with both sides of the house disagreeing on the change of number of nurses and clinical staff since the Government took power in 2010. The sight of Cameron lying back in relaxation, head towards the ceiling, was not unobvious; as we head into the Summer Recess, Cameron is in a strong position, with a recent poll placing Labour and the Conservatives on an equal lead, and he’s revelling in the knowledge. According to him, Labour’s leadership is “in crisis” – everyday, the country is getting stronger, and everyday Miliband’s leadership is getting weaker.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Stop the Badger Cull

The badger cull pilot project is set to begin in the UK shortly, trialling in the south-western counties of Gloucestershire and Somerset despite many calls for its cancellation. It disheartens me that the hard work of The Green Party, the RSPCA and high-street store, Lush, have been ignored by the Government. What we are seeing now, according to the BBC, is the massacre of 5094 innocent creatures by February next year. 

People will proclaim that the badgers aren’t innocent because they have spread TB to cattle across the country and cost farmers and the nation massive amounts of money, but this is to neglect the fact that these creatures are none the wiser. We, as humans, are lucky to possess the intelligence that we have – we can stop the spread of diseases and viruses using our mental capacities – but, unfortunately, badgers don’t have this same awareness. So, to treat them like they do and hold them as “guilty” of carrying TB and ruining livestock across the country is preposterous. 

It would be outrageous if we were to wipe out the entire population that carry HIV, so why should we do the same to badgers? There are other ways of tackling the problem, and these have been tried and tested. So, they cost more and harder to administer, but should these creatures pay the price for our laziness and ignorance? No. Besides, leading scientists (including the Government’s chief scientist) have argued that there is no real evidence to justify the slaughter, yet the activity goes ahead. 

In October 2012, the House of Commons voted against the proposed cull but this non-binding result from the house was only greeted with a slight postponement by the Government. Acting against the wishes of the House’s members and, indeed, the population, we are seeing an act of downright betrayal from those who are meant to represent us. 

A campaign has been launched by Lush, the high-street cosmetics shop, against the cull, gathering support from customers and passers-by across the country, via organised flash mobs as in the video below. But, we have seen that, time and time again, the Government just does not listen; despite how hard the campaign is fought, and the damning evidence, unless it’s the right people pushing the buttons, it’s hard to get your voice heard. 

Unfortunately, it is already too late to save some, but it is not yet too late to put pressure on the Government. Join me and many others in saying no to the badger cull. Tweet your support using “#stopthecull”, sign the petition, stick up a poster and tell everyone you know. Let’s give those badgers back their lives.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Prime Minister’s Questions – 15th May


This week’s Prime Minister’s Questions was more a case of Deputy’s Questions; Clegg took Cameron’s place as the Conservative leader visited the United States, while Harriet Harman replaced Miliband. However, the proceedings were very much the same: attacks on the Government from Labour, attacks on Labour from Clegg, and Clegg showed himself to be the joker that British television expects. Clegg seemingly struggled under the pressure as the Liberal Democrats and himself were attacked by members on both sides of the house. Clegg was asked if he had “no influence or just didn’t care”, had to tell the members behind him to “hang on” and deflected from difficult questions by attacking Labour’s “blank sheet of paper”. Harman asked why the Prime Minister had only attended the House once in the last eight Wednesdays (although this is not very shocking considering the Easter recess and Baroness Thatcher’s funeral) but Clegg retorted branding Miliband as some of the best comedy Radio 4 had broadcasted. Harman’s questions were, however, a waste, as she used many to ask where the Prime Minister was rather than attack the Government’s policies, supporting Clegg’s later question as to “what were [Labour] doing?” during the last Government. The conversation on Europe dominated the house as pressure for an in/out referendum increases; why won’t the Prime Minister tell anyone how we would vote, and was the Clegg promising a referendum on Europe in 2008 “an imposter or just a hypocrite”? Topics ranged from unemployment levels to the privatisation of Royal Mail to the Prime Minister’s attendance of the Commonwealth summit in Sri Lanka, despite the nation’s human rights record. Clegg was far less confident than Cameron and is unlikely to want the House’s weekly pressure again for a short while.