I was pleased to see that in Martin Harper’s blog yesterday (which is always worth reading after you’ve read this one) that Martin encouraged RSPB members to sign up to the epetition on vicarious liability. I expect that the RSPB will give this a bigger push in the New Year and I will let you know what the Shadow Environment team has to say on the subject when I hear back from them.
The Shadow Secretary of State, Mary Creagh, has written an interesting article, naturally critical of government, which picks up on some of the concerns that readers of this blog will have read before. Read the article through to the end and you will come across an interesting remark from the business-led Aldersgate Group.
Yesterday the Water White Paper came out and over the next few days I’ll try to read it and understand it.
And, yesterday, too, the Independent Panel on Forestry issued a progress report so I’ll have a look at that too.
A reader of my monthly newsblast – one of over 600 now – reports that he tried to buy Simon Barnes’s book using the reader offer but that they were out of stock! I’ve emailed the publisher to ask about this and I’ll let you know about that too. (Note added later – the book will be available again early next week)
One or two readers have ‘complained’ nicely that when attempting to post comments here they get a ‘timed out’ message. I have heard this a couple of times but I don’t know what the answer is – except you could try writing your comment, pasting it in Notepad and then transferring it to paste in the comment box. That’s all I can suggest – anybody else out there got any suggestions please? (Note added later – see comments below for helpful suggestions)
On Tuesday evening I was part of a discussion in the Conference Calls which should be posted as a podcast this weekend – it was fun to do, though I probably talked too much (that won’t surprise anyone) – I’ll let you know when it appears.
Our discussion on Tuesday was about how to change government’s minds as an individual and one way is to involve your MP. Yesterday I went to see my MP, Louise Mensch, at her surgery in the East Northants Council Offices. As I was waiting to see her a red kite sailed past in the gale force winds. After a rather heated initial discussion with fierce expressions on both sides of the table things got much better. Ms Mensch was happy to ask HM Treasury, on my behalf, what is the evidence that backs up the Chancellor’s view in the Autumn Statement that the Birds and Habitats Directives are putting a brake on the economy. And I stressed that the evidence would have to be of net harm taking into account the positive impacts of the Directives on Quality of Life, tourism etc. And, separately, Ms Mensch was happy to ask Defra about whether they felt that the UK Government was fully implementing the Birds Directive in respect of declining farmland birds, hen harriers and marine protected areas.
We will have to wait and see what sort of response I get – I am not expecting anything earth-shattering – but involving your MP is a good idea for two reasons. First, Government departments will answer MPs’ enquiries much quicker than if you just write in as an individual and, second, it shows your MP what you care about and that might influence their statements and thinking. Now I think Ms Mensch knows that I didn’t vote for her in the last General Election and also that I am very unlikely to do so at the next one (although – a star performance on wildlife issues might just influence me more favourably) but that is beside the point as your MP is there for all their constituents, not just the ones who support their politics. You have an MP – you could contact them on these subjects too, or on anything else about wildlife and the environment.