If you are going to vote on 7 May – and I do hope you will – then your preparation should start by reading the April issue of BBC Wildlife magazine (giraffe on cover).
The 6-page election special asks eight questions of the Conservatives, Greens, Labour, Lib Dems, Plaid, SNP and UKIP.
The questions are good ones:
- how would you tackle bovine TB?
- should development sometimes be stopped to protect wildlife?
- should the neonic ban be made permanent?
- should farmers be incentivised to protect rare species?
- should some marine areas be fully protected?
- should the hunting ban be repealed?
- should wolves and lynx be reintroduced?
- how would you reduce raptor persecution?
You must read for yourself, and decide for yourself, whether the answers are good or not.
This is what I did. First, I read the answers and rated them with a tick (I approve), a dash (hmm, not sure) and a cross (don’t like that!) for all parties. Then I went through again deciding whether I believed what they were saying or not! I did this based on the parties’ past performance, what they have said for the last five years, and their overall political philosophy. It’s quite a crude way to look at things, but I offer it to you as a way of separating what you are told and what you should believe.
I’m not going to tell you anything about the answers as I really do recommend that you go out and buy this issue and read it carefully.
But I will say this, as a member of the Labour Party. Labour was near (very near) the foot of the list in my analysis. It pains me that the party I support for many reasons (rather a lot of them historical rather than current) is so poor on these issues that matter so much to me.
And it was worse than that. In these answers, published in a wildlife magazine, for a wildlife audience, Labour sits firmly on just about every fence on offer. The Labour answers are a case-study in avoiding answering the question. If you are looking for inspiration from Labour on these issues, then I suggest to you, you won’t find it here (though you should read it for yourself!).
I’ll be waiting to see the election manifestos of the parties and will share with you on this blog my views of them. My local Labour MP, Andy Sawford, is assured of my vote on 7 May and my active support in this Labour/Conservative marginal but I’ll be reviewing my membership of the party after the election.