More birding bits and pieces: After my blog of last week I can now add peregrine to my M1 list (hunting over a field near Luton) and another ‘up-and-about-early’ red kite from the M1 somewhere in Hertfordshire (I think!).

Birkbeck: I enjoyed giving a public lecture at Birkbeck on Friday evening – lots of good questions from the audience.  I was talking about farmland wildlife and the CAP – more on that in tomorrow’s blog.

Another review of Fighting for Birds: another very positive review of Fighting for Birds – admittedly from an ex-colleague (but all the more valued, in a way, for that).

The low and mighty: how are the mighty fallen? comes to mind with the fall of Chris Huhne.  I met Mr Huhne several times and recount a rather spiky exchange with him on p226 of Fighting for Birds.  We are all flawed individuals, so it would be difficult to imagine that politicians would be less flawed than the rest of us. Huhne came across as quite arrogant but I think he had quite a bit to be arrogant about!  He had, and presumably still has, a very good brain and a very keen understanding of climate change and the energy scene.  He was arguably the greenest member of the coalition government and to lose him from public life for a minor speeding offence (which I don’t condone but can understand) seems a high cost for him, a high cost for us and a high cost to the environment.

Question: What do Angelina Jolie, David Attenborough, Frank Zappa and Nelson Mandela have in common?

Answer: is found in my column in February Wild Travel magazine (p17).


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9 Replies to “Miscellany”

  1. He actually lost his job for perjury which is rather more serious. If it had just been speeding, no one would have remarked on it, since I would guess most MPs have had a speeding conviction at some time in their past life.

  2. Well very little you say surprises me now but your perhaps sympathetic attitude to what you suggest is a minor offence did surprise me.
    It was really his whole way of getting off from the offence,the way he treated his wife,instead of admitting his offence which he had several chances to do and his whole holier than thou attitude during the very long drawn out saga while denying he was guilty and drawing lots of tax payers cash over those months or years must mean he is a despicable type of person which is more serious perhaps than his speeding offence although speeding is a serious offence really as speed limits are there for a reason.

  3. Spot on Mark.

    Denis - I do find your assessment of Chris Hune very harsh.

    Before entering into politics, CH was a very successful city entrepreneur and also a respected journalist. This made him a millionaire many times over. His decision to enter into public life for an annual salary of £65k will have no doubt cost him many more millions; this hardly suggests he entered politics in pursuit of personal financial gain.

    His decision to ask his wife to take the points of his behalf was foolish (and illegal) but even then I can't get too worked up about it. The scorned ex-wife who agreed to accept the speeding fine in the first place comes out of this worse in my opinion. Given how vindictive she has revealed herself to be, this makes Chris Hune's decision to leave her for another woman, seemingly the only sound judgement that he exercised during in the whole sorry situation.

    When this whole affair came to light he should have admitted to the offence, he didn't and the rest is history. However it’s not hugely surprising that he didn't admit to the offence, as given the media hysteria and moral outrage that surrounds any trace of fallibility displayed by our politicians.
    To quote Mark: "we are all flawed individuals". This is undeniably true, although in my experience the brightest and most capable do seem to have more than their fair share of character flaws. The question we all need to ask is 'what do we want from our politicians’? Do we want brilliant minds that can get the job done or less capable anodyne clones who live their lives as paragons of moral virtue and without the slightest whiff of scandal?

    One of the finest politicians in British history was David Lloyd George. Few politicians can claim to have made a greater impact on British public life than any other British 20th-century leader, thanks to his leadership during the Great War and his introduction of radical social welfare programmes. His achievements during his time in office stand up to the closest scrutiny, yet it was widely known that he was randy old philanderer that couldn’t keep his hands out of the petty cash. These days he wouldn't have even got past the local selection process.

  4. If there had been a married couples penalty points allowance none of this would have happened.

    I would say I hope Huhne gets kicked into the long grass, but I like grass.

  5. Firstly, Peregrine great Motorway bird, that'll take some beating for sure, secondly A.Jollie, F.Zappa and Mr. Attenborough=Elephant related, Ms.Jollie done a docu/film about an elephant/animal activist, Frank Zappa probably has see some pink elephants in his time and David Attenboroug need we say more?
    As for perjury and speeding points, ironic Jeremy Clarkson says they're pointless! I wonder when his wife faces trial?

  6. Never doubted his brains or his wife's integrity but without doubt he has serious flaws that has ruined his career and no doubt he did not leave his business millions to do good for us humble constituents.We have people like him in all party's who consider that they can do as they like which gives all the general public the same idea,it would be nice if they set a example.In fact if he had admitted the crime as soon as it unfolded I would have felt sympathy for him.
    Of course my assessment is harsh,he could have easily been deputy P M.People who do these things inevitably have others hidden away.

  7. I have no sympathy for Mr Huhne. He showed very poor judgement (and arrogance) in not accepting the speeding offence and presumably, if banned from driving, could easily have afforded to employ a chauffeur for 12 months. We should expect better from our elected representatives.
    As for his judgement on the issue of climate change, none of us will live long enough to know whether he really does have a 'keen understanding' or whether he has been taken in by the 'alarmists'.


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