– BADGER CULL DEBATE LOST BY 49 VOTES
Lots of kind people are asking me – how do I feel since we got defeated in a Parliamentary vote today?
Yes, I’m sad, but not for myself. I am OK with dealing with failure. And there are always good things that come out of bad things. I’m just mortally sad for the thousands of badger families, innocently unaware of the political games being played by callous humans, but soon to be destroyed in a brutal massacre, the like of which has never been seen in the UK.
We will make the best of this result in the House of Commons, seat of democracy in this country.
But it’s worth noting some points. Even if we had won this vote, the Government would probably still have gone ahead with the badger slaughter: they have shown no signs of listening to either the public or Parliament in the past, and show no sign of changing that attitude. This is what democracy in the UK means at this point in time. An election happens, nobody gets a majority. Two ambitious young men manage to grab power by making a coalition. And then they operate effectively as a dictatorship. The voice of the public means nothing from then on.
But let us look also at the parliamentary process, which somehow managed to show overwhelming opposition to the cull last November, when the Government was defeated by 147 votes to 28, and yet today apparently showed approval by a narrow margin just 299 to 250, meaning that if just 25 people had voted the other way we would have won.
Well, no. What happened was simply that, faced with almost certain defeat on a free vote, the Government decided to Whip the vote. This is a traditional term, which hides a practice, which though in history might have been a legitimate reminder to MPs of the importance of being in the House to vote, has certainly now become a way of directly bullying and intimidating MPs into voting in favour of the Government. David Cameron brought in what is called a ‘Three Line Whip” tonight, which means the strongest possible coercion is brought to bear on Conservative (and Coalition) MPs. This can mean anything from the threat of withdrawal of privileges which make it possible for MPs to balance their family life with their official workloads, to ‘bribery’ in the form of promises of promotion or other benefits, to direct threats of withdrawal of job offers. It’s a very dirty business, and surely the question should be asked as to whether this bullying should have a place in 21st century democracy.
If YOUR MP is a Tory or Lib Dem, he or she very probably sat in the House today, and was stopped from voting either in the interests of you, the constituents, or according to their own conscience, by threats from the Government. Is that democracy? Are we happy with this?
I never realised what a grubby game our political system had become until recently. Surely it’s time for change on a grand scale.
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