It’s better to be wildlife abroad than at home if you are relying on the English government for help; that appears to be the message from the report card issued by 29 environmental groups on the government’s progress.
Defra gets green lights for whales and elephants but seven ambers and seven reds for everything else.
Martin Harper came up with a great line on the government’s crazy plans for planning, on the Today programme yesterday morning. Did you hear it? Listen again here.
I have found myself saying several times over the last couple of weeks (and some of it may appear in print at some stage) that the current crop of Ministers in Defra are not a bad bunch – they have the environment at heart and might, under other circumstances, be making a real success of their jobs. What other circumstances? If they had the money to do a proper job and if they had clout within government. Remember it was slighly less than a year ago that the coalition government made greater cuts in Defra’s budget than in those of most other government departments. And there is precious little evidence that Messrs Pickles, Osborne, Maude and Cameron give the natural environment much thought.
The shuffling around of shadow ministers does not generate many headlines at this stage in the electoral cycle but I notice that Huw Irranca-Davies returns to a shadow Defra role having been a good Defra Minister and that Hilary Benn has the role of getting us out of a Pickles as shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.
I wonder what would have happened if the Tories had got a real majority and Nick Herbert had been made Defra Secretary of State and Caroline Spelman had kept the CLG role which she had shdowed for quite a while. Difficult to tell really.
And when will David (greenest government ever) Cameron reshuffle his pack? And to what effect? Surely there will have to be at least one LibDem Minister in Defra? Won’t there? Surely?
But Cabinet reshuffles are strange things – there is no interview, there is no job or person specification, there are no applications and there is sometimes no sense. We will see.