Just a thought for Caroline Spelman

By Steve Punter from London, UK (Current chairman of the Tory Party) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
The political life is a somewhat harsh one.  One moment you can be at the top of the tree and the next you are almost nowhere.  If you lose your ministerial job then suddenly your views don’t count and your successor’s ears are the ones into which everyone seeks to whisper.

I always used to try to spare a thought for the loser in reshuffles and government changes.  Partly because it is just common decency to drop a line or make a phone call to those who have lost out (quite often through no fault of their own) but also through informed self-interest (the RSPB’s self-interest, not my own).

Those who lose out in one aspect of the merry-go-round of public life rarely disappear from view completely – some make comebacks in politics and many are influential in other areas of public life for years to come.  Maintaining good relations with one’s contacts is a wise investment (and quite a small investment which may pay handsomely).

And so I hope that my NGO colleagues have not forgotten Caroline Spelman who was a much-better-than-average Secretary of State at Defra.  I’ve met a couple of people recently, a student and a journalist, who have spoken to Ms Spelman and I hope conservati0n NGOs are doing the same.

We are at the midpoint of this Coalition government and there must be a very good chance that there will be a government of a different hue after the next, rather distant, general election (brought closer, I personally hope, by a Labour victory in the constituency of Corby and east Northants in next week’s by-election).  In fact, the betting, at the moment, suggests Labour will win the most seats and are just favourites to win an overall majority (a lot can change, obviously, but I am just making the point that it’s not in any way unimaginable).

Me Spelman would be a very strong ally from the Opposition backbenches for asking difficult questions of the next Labour government.  Her knowledge is great, her commitment is great and her reputation will be untarnished by the events of the rest of this government (whatever they may be).

I’d be very surprised if the Wildlife Trusts weren’t chatting up Ms Spelman and I would hope that the rest of the nature conservation movement shows their appreciation too, and ensures that Ms Spelman is a strong spokesperson for nature for many years to come.


17 Replies to “Just a thought for Caroline Spelman”

  1. I would like to think Ms Spelman was instrumental in preventing some if not, all of the dreadful and ill-conceived demands put on DEFRA recently such as the buzzard research with a view to a cull (deliberate pun). Let us also hope that her replacement in this role is not indicative of a new initiative to re-launch these ideas (never say never again) with half the government term still to go.

  2. As a right wing Conservative (no surprise there then) I fear many of your statements will prove to be correct

    Of course, as they say, the Nation will get the Government it deserves – but the Country and the Countryside didn’t want – nor did it deserve – the corrupt New Labour regime of 1997.

    The Coalition does nothing (very little anyway) to recognise and point out and put right the crimes of the previous administration and if it continues in this way – the next Labour govt will surely take the UK down the plughole via the IMF

    As for the Countryside – when it can demonstrate that it has MPs etc etc etc ……

    Will it choose a Becket, Benn, Morley, Milliband, Bradshaw, Fitzpatrick etc etc to be the DEFRA ministers? Vegetarians all! – believing that MEAT IS MURDER – and as George Monbiot said in his Telegraph article – “some New Labour Ministers are even hostile to livestock farming itself!”

    Caroline S? – well – the fact that you praise her suggests she’s got something wrong!

    Nice lady – wrong time – Paterson first – purely because of his closeness to the Badger TB issue – which most Labour supporters (inc MPs) incidentally believe has been sorted with the badger and cattle vaccinations solution – both of which don’t work and the EU’s NOT happy with. With special thanks to – not a scientist – not a politician – but a guitarist! Let’s put our hands together for ……..

    Come on Labour – really!

    Labour (as always) seems unable to identify TRUTH and likewise speak TRUTH – but how could it? Opposition is one thing – but where’s the grey cell (s)?

    Ho hum ………

    “Je größer die Lüge, desto mehr Menschen es glauben werden.”

    1. Trimbush – somewhat ironic that your final quote (if I might put it that way) comes from one who was socialist in name only – National Socialist.

      I’m not sure that Elliot Morley is vegetarian (having eaten with him several times I can’t recall him giving the meat a swerve (but maybe you are right)). And are you sure that all those others you named are vegetarian? I’m not sure you are right. But then I’m not sure you are right about lots of things…

      An astrophysicist who played guitar – yes indeed, what are things coming too…?

      1. He’s not an astrophysicist – he’s got a degree and recently got his PhD –

        I’m not a biochemist but ……..

        And by the way when were Eliot’s visiting days?

        Veggies? Yep – we farming folk always moaned when the next New Labour MAFF / DEFRA man was appointed – Beckett was a true disastser – but Gordon’s appnt of Jim F was a buauty. Couldn’t make it up! Labour only did it to annoy!

        But Ben B may not be – I floated that one to get a reaction – I have no evidence to suggest he is but …

        1. Trimbush – being a vegetarian isn’t a sin, in fact quite the opposite, but it really isn’t clear that many of the ministers you cited are or were vegetarian. I don’t think Elliot Morley is (though he might be), you say you made up Ben Bradshaw in this regard – so do you have the evidence for any of the others apart from Hilary Benn?

          And, if you publish a PhD entitled, rivetingly, A Survey of Radial Velocities in the Zodiacal Dust Cloud, then I think that you can fairly be called an astrophysicist.

          1. Hi Mark

            what’s he put on his tax form? astrophysicist?

            I was Genral Manager of small public drug discovery / molecular modeling company and did a bit on animal health BSE etc – doesn’t make me a biochemist now – used to play competitive football 4 times a week – doesn’t make me a footballer now. Got a PhG in A/P …. doesn’t etc

            BTW – read in Horse & Hound – Denman has for the first time gone hunting with the Duke of Beaufort’s – his rider apparently has trouble convincing him that he doesn;t need to be at the front!

            I’ll come back on the veggie bit – a sin? certainly not – ‘quite the opposite’ – ? I think not!

          2. Hi Mark

            haven’t forgot you – just looking at Dan Norris’s (ex-MP DEFRA Minister) he who apparently follows hounds – but is never mounted) contribution to the countryside

            Just remembered Caoroline Lucas is a veggie

            AND – I really didn’t know until an hour ago –


            Not a sin – no – Bloody coincidenci though innit!

            Made my day – WOW


          3. Trimbush – but Beckett? Bradshaw? Morley? etc We all know there are vegetarians in the world – just wondering how much to believe you on other things…

  3. Mark,did not disappoint me with your usual humour.
    Really good almost affectionate blog on Caroline and think like you she has a lot to offer and perhaps party will wish they had kept her in the job she had,lets face it her successor not doing much except U turns.
    Trimbush say’s he fears many of your statements will prove to be correct.That must be one of the most satisfying things anyone could hope to achieve and a real compliment from dare I say a slightly critical farmer.

  4. What a shame Trimbush when the coalition was formed the desperate back benchers didn’t oppose such a coalition as furiously as they do. As for Labours faults it’s begining to sound like a broken record…”it was them that done it, not us?” Who cares what previous administrations did or didn’t do when in power years on, it’s what the ruling party does that counts. Just a shame when the coalition was formed and mixed YELLOW+BLUE didn’t equal GREEN.

  5. I’d like to know what she knew about Chalara fraxinea in 2009 and why Defra failed to act on her watch:


    Other than that most of what I know of her is from this blog, which means I’ve heard mostly good things so she could be a useful champion for the environment. A good person to have on one of the environment committees? Assuming she plans to stay in politics after the next election and if she contests her seat she will win it?

  6. There’s no doubt about Beckett being vegetarian – her reception from the farming community at the time was not good because of this. Morley was said – at the time – when both he and Tony Banks were funded by IFAW that they were both vegetarian. I’ve seen photos of EM and his ‘build’ is not that of the tradition veggie.

    As to what you believe or not is entirely up to you but it would seem to me to be a total waste of time saying anything other than what I believe / know to the truth

    You’ll be saying that I didn’t launch The Rural Army soon (see below)


    Unbelievable what?

      1. Quite the opposite! Indeed it helped show up the attitude, pig-ignorance (apologies to pigs) and prejudices of the True Labour regime towards the British countryside and its people

        But don’t believe me try:

        Rural rebellion – Telegraph – George Monbiot
        (Filed: 25/05/2002)

        “This (Labour) Government is opposed to field sports, dismissive of the rights of property, obsessed with the need for more regulation of rural business and agriculture and, in the case of some ministers, hostile to livestock farming itself.”

        You and your fellow believers should really be ashamed of yourselves

  7. Oh! and I forgot to say that I was a member of the Buddhist Society in Ecclestone Square SW1 some many many moos aga.

    1. Trimbush, we do you feel the rural and agriculture industry don’t/didn’t need any more regulation then any other form of industry. Why should a rural business have any less regulation then other business? I mean who was it dropping pesticides into the nations river, who is that drains more and more water from the rivers, who is that still uses ILLEGAL poisons to kill raptors in order to boost the number of birds killed at a shoot, who was that introduced through poor animal husbandry foot and mouth into the country and what about mad cows disease, no you’re absolutely right there’s no reason I can think of why rural and agriculture business needed regulation/regulated as it was quite clear that they would put there own house in order…NOT.

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