DAY 253 – DEPRESSING DAY IN PARLIAMENT AS I GET TRIPLE WHIPPED
Here is the only fun thing I saw yesterday. A video by my friends, The Artful Badger. Please share it.
I went to the debate yesterday at the House of Commons. I was so hoping to report back about how uplifting the parliamentary process really was…
My MP never showed up, the debate – watched from behind thick glass – was hollow and we lost the vote against the cull by 299 v 250.
Does this mean the majority or politicians are in favour of the cull? Does it, my arse.
As I cycled in to parliament a large van swerved across my path and knocked me into the gutter. As it drove off I read the sign on its back ‘AMBULANCE – Caring for you’. When I arrived at Parliament square I found myself in a haze of marijuana smoke – some brave person was enjoying themselves nearby.
We live in a confusing world of conflicting values. The badger cull is no different.
The grand spires of parliament promise a certain authenticity: upright, powerful, historical. Barriers and police guard the debating halls as if they hold treasure . And yet, at the heart of all this is a government that appears to both be ignoring science, public opinion and the majority of MP’s (see last october’s vote).
What is going on?
As I sat inside the main lobby waiting to get into the debate, a badger-type person (black and white clothing, leftish looking) sighed ‘it’s a triple-whip, we’ll never win’.
If, like me, you think ‘triple whip’ is something they do at expensive private schools then you will tend to ask the person next to you what it means – who happened to be a twelve year old, wearing brogues and a tweed jacket and glasses. He looked way more intelligent than me and I bet he’ll be prime minister next
‘It means that the party whip puts three lines underneath the debate on the paper – which basically means that everyone has to vote according to the party line or they lose their jobs’
I watched the debate from up on high, seated behind glass walls to stop me throwing eggs and flower at people. I was not allowed to take my phone so could not play tetris and I was told off for clapping when an anti-cullist spoke. The conservatives were on one side – slightly heavier, better suits, posher voices – the labour on the right – scragglier, more women, northern. All terribly true to type.
God, it was depressing. The debate was like a ping-pong match where an invisible sheet of glass is inserted into the centre of the table. Neither sides ball got through to the other side. The labour lot ALL thought the cull was inhumane, too expensive and against science. The conservatives all thought not doing the cull was inhumane, too expensive and against science. (amazingly, Daniel Kawczynski, another Tory from a mainly rural constituancy, thought that killing badgers would be good for badgers and that no one more than him wanted to see a healthy badger population. What?)
How can both sides have science on their side? The MPs were smart, articulate, seemingly logical people – so why did they disagree so neatly?
This was not about science. This was about politics and politics won the day.
The person who impressed me most was Tracy Crouch – a conservative MP who stood up and said how daunting it was to go against party policy but that she simply could not vote in favour of the cull. A brave brave woman that got a rapturous, if illegal, applause from the public.
The only ones who will get a proper triple whipping are the badgers. Let’s hope that ten year old grows up quick to lead the country some place new.
Sad, sad day.