This blog has mentioned before the deselection of the feisty Conservative MP, and chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, Anne Macintosh. Now I don’t agree with Ms MacIntosh about everything, and obviously I have no knowledge of the ins and outs, ups and downs, of her relationship with her constituency party, but I always found her an active and dedicated MP. She and I differ quite a lot politically, but share a passion for environmental issues.
One of Ms Macintosh’s interests was flooding – because some of her constituents have suffered from this disaster over the years. The evidence is growing that the management of uplands for intensive grouse shooting may (not proven yet) increase the flashiness of upland rivers with consequences for all who live downstream.
You can see why Ms Macintosh might be interested in grouse moor management although I don’t know whether or not she is or was. I would have thought that she was given the amount of grouse moor in her Thirsk and Malton constituency in the North York Moors.
It was certainly the case that at least one grouse moor owner, George Winn-Darley (I wonder whether Henry may visit him?), was an important voice in getting Ms Macintosh deselected.
The replacement Conservative candidate, Kevin Hollinrake, seems absolutely the type of chap that the grouse moor managers of Thirsk and Malton would like.
In a rather thoughtless statement, Mr Hollinrake said, of grouse shooting, ‘It benefits many rural people, from food suppliers to hoteliers and clothing manufactures to dry stone wallers. When calls are made to ban or licence (sic) driven grouse shooting, thought is seldom given to the harmful consequences to rural economies and conservation.’.
Well a tiny proportion of your electorate will be very happy with that. What will you say about floods?
Watch this space for the possibility that Ms Macintosh gets a seat in the House of Lords, and potentially comes back as a Defra Lords minister if the country makes a bad choice in 10 days’ time.[registration_form]