24 January 2013
[Original posted here 25 January 05:55AM)
Yes, I’m going to ask for a bed in Portcullis House … we spend so much time there now .. me and my Save-Me CEO, Anne Brummer.
Yes, we spend all our time talking to politicians, but my unshakeable belief is that Animal Welfare should be above politics. Decent treatment of ALL other creatures is a basic obligation of a civilised society, just the same as treating other humans decently (though we’re not too good at that yet, either, as a species).
So we move a-politically in a political world and support anyone who supports ethical treatment of animals. That means working to hasten the end of cruelty, whether it is justified by a desire for money, for power, for avoiding responsibility, or just the gratification of someone’s sick desire for fun, or ‘sport’.
I’d like to tell you all of it, but there is so much there simply isn’t the time. If I wrote it all up, I would never sleep.
But today (Thurs 24 January) was an interesting illustration of the fact that – thankfully, although we have a government which will not listen – there are strong strands of decent, compassionate people in every party in the House.
Today (24/01) we first met Caroline Lucas, for a catch-up. Caroline is the only Green MP as such (though Cameron makes preposterous claims about being ‘green’ – you have to laugh!). She is a wonderful example of how one would like every MP to be … she’s there for the right reasons. She is not a career woman. She cares. She works for ethical solutions to every problem, represents all classes of people in her constituency (Brighton Pavilion), and on a broad scale for the country. She is untainted by compromises, to concessions and ‘deals’ to vested interests, and stands up with courage to back up her beliefs. She led our debate in the HOC on the badger cull, and her in-depth knowledge and calm presentation played a great part in securing a victory in the vote (which has been utterly ignored by Cameron and his DEFRA ministers).
What did we discuss? How to make the people of this country really aware of what is going on … the fact that against scientific evidence, and morality, and the will of the majority of Brits, thousands of healthy badgers will be randomly shot this Summer. Then we looked at the bloody mess that will be the British Countryside if this actually happens, and what our position will be. We, as Team Badger, an alliance of every important animal-aware organisation, have, all along, gone to great lengths to moderate our behaviours to be considerate to the needs of farmers. This will become harder and harder as the fateful day approaches. And when that first badger falls to the ground bleeding, shot by a gunman paid for by us, the taxpayers, it seems likely all Hell may break loose. We will, of course, continue to advocate moderation and decency towards farmers and government workers, in tune with the beliefs we stand for. But we will be a whole different world then, with different parameters. There will no way back.
Caroline will be attending the small debate next week (not in the House itself) in which ministers in league with the Countryside Alliance will be attacking the RSPCA’s right to prosecute illegal behaviour by fox hunters. More of that soon, but it’s comforting to know that decency will be represented in that room. By this amazing woman, among others.
Then we met a man who hails from a very different place but is also doing great work for animals. Mark Pritchard, Conservative MP for The Wrekin, has famously campaigned for the abolition of the use of wild animals in circuses. Interestingly, Pritchard also won his case to ban this outdated and barbaric practice in the HOC, but Cameron reportedly personally decided to ignore the will of Parliament and is licensing wild animals for the next two years. Think of the monstrous bureaucratic waste of money in doing that! Unbelievable! Why? Ask him!!
Mark Pritchard also supported the case to stop the badger cull in our debate, and, by the way, defended me personally when someone tried to make out I was a paid-up member of the Labour Party, and therefore NOT a-political.
What did we talk about? Ethics, Science, the will of the people, the usual things. And for a moment, Polar Bears, since Mark is working on the issue at the moment, of large numbers of Polar Bears, who are rapidly becoming an endangered species, being killed and exported by greedy bastards. Mark exhibits great courage, because it’s a lot harder to be the person he is, in the position he is, than if he were surrounded by animal-aware beings. He gets massive pressure from many of his colleagues to give in and keep quiet. He doesn’t.
Finally, we exchanged a few words with Karl Turner, Labour man representing Kingston-upon-Hull, ground that I trod many many years ago, but that’s another story. Karl is young, strong, outspoken, decent, anti-badger-cull, anti repeal of the Hunting Act. Enough said, really. He supported us in the badger debate, and, again, has the courage to live by his own rules and his perception of what his constituents expect, rather than be forced into a party line.
There is much more to say, but, just for today, I wanted you guys, who are so supportive to us, out there, so see the kind of roads we walk. I never imagined I would be doing this even 5 years ago. It was time to put my money where my mouth had been at for most of my life. That’s not a very good metaphor, but it paints a truthful picture. I’m no angel – I’m just a person on a path, in which I’m learning every day, and changing my own behaviour as I learn.
We WILL win a world of decency. It may happen when my molecules are already scattered in a forest somewhere … but we WILL win it. And, like the young chap in The Greatest Marigold Hotel says … “I am confident everything will be all right in the end, and if it is not all right now, it is not yet the end.”