Not much progress so far PM

Theresa May-1
What the Prime Minister didn’t say but might have said.

 

In Monday’s debate on the future of driven grouse shooting Conservative MPs trooped out in numbers to defend their so-called sport rather than to address the concerns of their constituents.

There’s a lot we need to do in this party of ours. Our base is too narrow and so, occasionally, are our sympathies. You know what some people call us – the Nasty Party.

Theresa May, 2002.

Well Prime Minister, you now lead that party and you have something akin to the 5th labour of Hercules on your hands – it’s a dirty smelly task but someone ought to do it.  Far too many of your MPs were disrespectful to 123,077 of us who used the democratic process to get this issue debated in parliament and this amounts to being disrespectful to Parliament itself.  They were rude about me and misrepresented my views (but that really doesn’t worry me that much), attacked Chris Packham (because it has become a hobby for certain of your MPs) and were rude to fellow MPs with opposing views.

The MP chosen to open the debate on behalf of the Petitions Committee, Steve Double, used his speech to attack the petition, and the 123,077 people who signed it, rather than setting out the case that this is an issue of public concern which needs to be debated in a respectful manner.

Richard Benyon described me, the petitioner, as the ‘perpetrator’ of this e-petition.  That’s an odd choice of word to describe someone who has used the process set up by parliament to bring a subject into the Palace of Westminster with far more than the level of support that Parliament itself has required.

The reaction of those sitting in the public gallery to listen to the debate, as well as those watching it live over the internet, was one of shock and dismay that the supporters of grouse shooting were so unpleasant.  In the short term the behaviour of some of your MPs has only have stoked up further enthusiasm for ending driven grouse shooting, in the medium term it will be seen that a self-interested group of Conservative MPs ignored the evidence and ignored the public, and in the long term people will be sent to read the transcript of this debate for a case-study in MPs appearing to act for the rich and powerful, and for themselves, and not for the public good.

I think 19 Conservative backbench MPs spoke in the debate – six of them were Old Etonians who can always be relied upon to speak not for the rich and powerful but for the rest of us.

The government I lead will be driven, not by the interests of the privileged few but by yours.

When we take the big calls we will think not of the powerful, but you.

When it comes to taxes we will prioritise not the wealthy, but you.

Theresa May, 2016.

 

 

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54 Replies to “Not much progress so far PM”

  1. Just to confirm, your campaign to ban driven grouse shooting (which you went to considerable lengths to declare was about conservation not politics”) is in fact about politics?

    It’s a bugger this democracy business.

    1. No need for any thoughts of politics, Richard. I think now it’s going to be a simple matter of mass; how many people are going to turn up to make their feelings known on shoot days on grouse moors? There is an economic angle of course; it takes me the princely sum of a bus fare, a couple of quids worth of petrol, a refreshing walk, or a pleasant bike ride to plonk myself down on a Peak District grouse moor at the time of my choosing. How about you? Bit of a bugger of an equation don’t you think?

      1. As long as you are not trespassing and preventing the owner of the land from engaging in their lawful activities then you have nothing to fear. Interfering or inpeding a lawful activity would leave you open to criminal prosecution. Which as long as you are retired, self employed or unemployed shouldn’t give you any cause for concern.

        1. Considering the recent history of our Police Force, the nature of any legal response is going to raise some interesting questions on the South Yorkshire side of the border, Tom.

          1. Just making the point that people should think very carefully before engaging in direct action. The hunt have had some success at unmasking hunt sabs and where a criminal offence has been commited ensuring that their employers are made aware. I would expect the same here.

    2. Mark, are you able to ascertain the identity of this individual? As he obviously has a gun licence, the police might be interested in removing it from him if, that is, he is the Richard Negus, ex Household Cavalry, who uses his Twitter account to troll Germans and Austrians (2 Nov 2016, 12:39pm; “either way they are all Huns”). He also defames Guardian readers and, I suppose, anyone who is able to make their living through the use of their intelligence.

      1. Why would the police revoke any firearms certificate he may havr been granted? Sorry bit lost on that point?

  2. 1.) I feel desperately sorry for Britons. I would not expect this kind of thing to be done to me as a voter back in Germany. But after 40 years here, I will stay on. And, as I have said before, what we now need is a programme of strategic litigation to drag Britain into the modern age and remove those appalling waxworks from any positions of influence.

    2.) I very clearly remember Mark being referred to as the ‘MAIN perpetuator”. It happened early in the proceedings and was the point at which I felt myself going into shock. This blood rushing out of my head was caused by, in part, incredulity, sympathy for Mark, but also because I too was now a perpetuator, ie naughty, naught person or perhaps even, criminal?

    Well, thanks a lot fellas

  3. 1.) I feel desperately sorry for Britons. I would not expect this kind of thing to be done to me as a voter back in Germany. But after 40 years here, I will stay on. And, as I have said before, what we now need is a programme of strategic litigation to drag Britain into the modern age and remove those appalling waxworks from any positions of influence.

    2.) I very clearly remember Mark being referred to as the ‘MAIN perpetuator”. It happened early in the proceedings and was the point at which I felt myself going into shock. This blood rushing out of my head was caused by, in part, incredulity, sympathy for Mark, but also because I too was now a perpetuator, ie naughty, naught person or perhaps even, criminal?

    Well, thanks a lot fellas

        1. Politically I think I WAS a Tory…..but no longer!!!! Nor am I a member of BASC anymore!!!

        2. So it’s the Brexit Tories who perpetrate perpetuation? I should probably go home after all.

  4. Not had chance to watch it all or read the transcript yet but didn’t see any sign of my Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans. Does anyone know if he turned up? I doubt he did as he hasn’t quite grasped the concept of ‘wildlife’. Nigel’s constituency covers a major chunk of the now raptor free Bowland Fells and Nigel called the late Duke of Westminster a ‘true Brit’. I expect Nigel had something more important to do – he probably had complimentary tickets for ‘Mamma Mia’.

  5. I’m up for a show of force. I live in Durham but would happily ditch work for a day out in London at short notice.

    ps there’s nothing as bitter and twisted as an aggrieved land agent Mr Negus.

  6. Yes, I think that Theresa May should be deeply concerned at the arrogance and rudeness of some of her MPs in their response to a government implemented process designed to involve the public in democratic debate. As a bare minimum debates should be introduced in a neutral manner and conducted without resort to personal vilification of those promoting or signing a petition. It’s facts that MPs are supposed to debate. What happened on Monday disgraced the current government and brought the petitions process into disrepute.

  7. It’s dismal. It’s as though the whole lengthy procedure with the final act a chorus line of the walking dead was designed to demoralise democratic expression.

    But don’t let’s blame Tories for being Tories, greedy little spivs who’ll say anything the toffs require said just to be allowed a position where they can look down on the oiks. No news there.

    Let’s blame the cowards of the “progressive” parties who didn’t turn up, or didn’t learn about the issue, and speak with no commitment anyway because they’re no different in fact, just Tories in drag. Pantomime progressives.

    I can well understand Mark might be wondering just now if he really wants to spend the rest of his life like this.

    The facts remain.

    And now the gang bangers have said some things on the parliamentary record. So let’s try to get it tested ~ free the Peak District National Park of driven grouse shooting, apart from some areas in private hands around the edges I guess, and let’s see if it becomes an “ornithological wilderness”. Try to get RSPB off that fence, which must be getting uncomfortable by now, to follow the logic of their own Peak Malpractice paper and join the movement for peace in the Peak. And if we can make it happen, then focus attention on Natural England, who co-funded recent research into red kites which showed sickness and death from lead ingestion, because at least one private shooty bang, above Woodhead Reservoir, is on an SSSI, and when I asked Natural England they had no idea how much lead is getting strewn on that hillside just above Manchester’s water supply.

    Concerning water supply and the Peak, it’s not just about flood risk. Several times in the last 30 years in extended droughts the massive reservoirs which surround it have almost emptied. The Dark Peak is the biggest area of England with no road across it, and millions of people depend on the water from it.

    Also a fact – when asked, those of our citizens who feel they know enough to answer are almost 2 – 1 in favour of banning driven grouse shooting. In Scotland almost 3 – 1. Among young Scots 7 – 1.

    Another fact. The poltroons of the LibDems, SNP and the Labour MPs who hid in their burrows last Monday are hoping we’ll all go away now. Let’s clear that one up for them.

    For example, Nick Clegg. His Sheffield Hallam constituency is right next door to the Peak.

    1. Nick Clegg’s reply to a constituent was a classic; he (/his staff) couldn’t even be bothered to re-match the font size after cut and pasting! Once the moor owners start complaining about protestors, though, I’m sure the response will be handwritten and delivered in person. ‘Be a good fellow’, eh Nick?

      1. Oh, and for the record. Sheffield Hallam is partially within the Peak District and contains a grouse moor. That grouse moor has attracted some notoriety, with a number of witnessed incidents.

  8. I think the next step is to name and shame those MP’s who spoke against the opinion of their constituents, or even those who were conspicuous by their absence and failed to represent their constituents (Lib Dens and SNP). Craig Whittaker (Calder Valley – Conservative (no surprise)) in particular completely ignored and indeed insulted his constituents point of view by gushing over the wonderful Walshaw Estate against all published evidence and seemingly based on a visit with the Estate.
    Too many people seemed to believe that the petition was ‘animal rights activism’ and missed the point that Driven Grouse is underpinned by criminal acts in order to ensure a surplus to be shot. All other environmental damage was also generally ignored, except by Rachael Maskell, who attempted to make this the main argument.
    And they wonder why we don’t trust them.

    1. I would also like to commend Ms Maskell as the star performer on this occasion and for allowing me to hope that amongst the younger MPs there are those who are both bright and principled and who will make the world a better and more compassionate place in the longterm.

      At the same time, the kind of traditional politician of whom Nicholas Soames proved himself so prototypical will surely not be repeated. It was not just the sense of entitlement that struck me about him though, but the short-fusedness. I don’t know whether Mark introduced the term ‘canned hunting’ into the petition in order to deliberately provoke the shooting fraternity (‘fraternity’ was another revealing term used during the debate), but it certainly offended him greatly. It is rather worrying that we have these short-tempered men carrying guns. Gun licensing must be looked at again. It is not just an issue for the USA.

  9. Reading the transcript of this debate made me deeply angry! An issue that means so much to over 100,000 people should be taken very seriously.
    I just posted a message to lib-dem HQ asking why they did not speak at, or even attend, this debate? Also asking why, as a long-term lib-dem supporter, I should continue to vote for a party that appears to be indifferent to wildlife and environmental issues.

  10. I am surprised Mark that you take TM’s words for anything other than empty rhetoric. When I heard her speech, my thoughts were exactly “well I will believe it when I see it!”

    1. Of course but she still has to be held to it.
      Obviously we can’t ignore the spin.
      It is bloody genius.
      This is May’s ‘greenest government ever’ and hugging huskies.

      Sad to say but these are probably the things which win the day not libraries full of scientific evidence.

  11. In my opinion all the debate and the following tweets after the debate from certain individuals has done is proven the shooting fraternity is corrupt, spreaders of mis-imformation that will stoop to any level to protect their criminal activity.
    Those that took part in the debate in such a manner have no place in a debating chamber and are just stooges for criminals.
    I’ve never agreed with you Mark on various issues but for what it’s worth both yourself and Mr.P have got my full support and respect on this issue. You set off on what I thought would be an impossible mission to even get the 100,000 signatures, but you did. You took a relatively unknown criminal action and got it exposed in mainstream media and debated (of sorts) in the House of Commons. You both took some vile abuse from certain sections. But you batted it away in true style, honesty and CLASS.
    A battle may have been won but not the war.

  12. In my opinion all the debate and the following tweets after the debate from certain individuals has done is proven the shooting fraternity is corrupt, spreaders of mis-imformation that will stoop to any level to protect their criminal activity.
    Those that took part in the debate in such a manner have no place in a debating chamber and are just stooges for criminals.
    I’ve never agreed with you Mark on various issues but for what it’s worth both yourself and Mr.P have got my full support and respect on this issue. You set off on what I thought would be an impossible mission to even get the 100,000 signatures, but you did. You took a relatively unknown criminal action and got it exposed in mainstream media and debated (of sorts) in the House of Commons. You both took some vile abuse from certain sections. But you batted it away in true style, honesty and CLASS.
    A battle may have been won but not the war.

  13. Perpetrator: someone who commits a bad act.
    Tory: someone who supports the Conservative Party.
    Benyon: someone who has used a wrong word and is called Dick?
    Hansard: someone who is famous and was called Thomas (1766-1833).

  14. I shall almost certainly write to my (Tory tosser) of an MP complaining about the complete mockery of the democratic process witnessed on Monday.

  15. They are shameful and shameless. As a long serving local Councillor I cannot understand how MPs can take part in Parliamentary business where they have a clear pecuniary interest. Local Government code of conduct absolutely prohibits anybody doing this, in deed a Councillor with a pecuniary interest MUST leave the meeting so there can be no question of intimidation or coercion. Why are MPs not subject to these same common sense set of rules. It can note described as corrupt.

  16. “perpetrator” is pretty funny!

    However we do have an oppositional style of politics in this country – and to be fair you do have an oppositional style of politics too.

    I wouldn’t be TOO worried about Tory MPs you are never going to get a ban when they are in power – I am sure you know that – So that puts off any prospect of a ban even being remotely possible to 2020 at a minimum quite possible 2025 or even 2030.

    I’d be far more worried about the Labour MPs – the Tory MPs that came came because they were interested – although not in the way you want them to be. The Labour MPs that didn’t come didn’t come because they aren’t interested.

    And how many MPs actually voted for a ban?

    I can see a benefit from campaigns like this in applying pressure however I also think that their divisive nature reduces the possibility of compromise and co operation.

    I feel the same about the hunting issue. Now we have a clearly defined form of legal hunting why don’t the ‘sabs’ get on horses and join in! I’m sure they’d have a far better time riding to a pack of hounds than they would moping around in balaclavas.

    Have you ever thought about buying a grouse moor Mark? If all of your 123,000 petitioners chipped in say £50 you could probably club together and buy quite a big one and I’m sure you could have lots of fun with it.

    1. Sorry Giles we tried cooperation and compromise for years and years they are not interested unless you agree with everything they want. been there done that got the T shirt . It fails abysmally and we cannot go back to it.

    2. What ‘compromise’ can there be? Stop killing birds of prey (which is illegal btw) & most of the problem is solved.

    3. Giles,

      To pick up on your idea. I would like to see the RSPB either purchase or lease (possibly from the NT) a couple of grouse moors and then set them up as centres of excellence and with visitors facilities. I, for one, would certainly volunteer to help and it would hardly make a dent on their balance sheet.

      Anymore good ideas.

      Mike

        1. Thank you Ardmaraig. Land reform, SNP? Didn’t you get this? Lots and lots of enthused, young people turning the Highlands into something very special; through well paid professional careers, volunteering ….. You think about it. Then, innovation trickling down into England and Wales, Europe even. Ergo, Britain great again!

      1. I like your suggestion very much, Michael. A collaboration between the RSPB and the NT, perhaps even employing ex-gamekeepers as wardens and guides, showing that there are other ways of managing these uplands could be eye-opening.

        I think your excellent questions on Martin Harper’s blog should be addressed as well:
        http://www.rspb.org.uk/community/ourwork/b/martinharper/archive/2016/10/31/time-for-change-a-comment-on-the-parliamentary-debate-on-the-future-of-grouse-shooting.aspx

      2. Already being done – e.g. Eastern Moors and South Sheffield Moors. – both long disused grouse (and then overgrazed) moors producing excellent results for wildlife and recreation, and still with a place for local graziers.

      1. The Peak District tradition has generally been one of Foot Padders, rather than mounted Highwaymen, Richard.

    4. Hmm Sabs on horseback and birders with shotguns perhaps. What could their quarry possibly be?

      More seriously binoculars, scopes and cameras could be the answer. More birders moor watching for long hours on game keeper approach roads assisted by photographers with big lenses. More evidence to put these criminals away. Particularly on the estates of the “known associates” of the crony crims of the obnoxious tories who vented their spleens on Monday evening.

  17. “Ignored the public”

    This is where you start getting a tad Lenninist.

    123,000 does not the public make not even the vanguard of the public.

  18. What a shame that there was so little debate about what could be done to improve situations in the future rather than being melancholic about archaic rural life. I was mainly appalled by Steve Double’s supposed balanced introduction to the one sided debate, however it is also disappointing that more opposition members did not turn up either.

  19. Yes the debate was a very poor advertisement for our democracy. Interesting comments from Steohen (Stephen?) W about the Peak. I did write to Nick Clegg and it took a phone call to his office to get a reply, which was vaguely encouraging but non- committal. From the recent news Mr Clegg seems more keen on saving the Cornish pasty from Brexit than representing the views of 400+ of his constituents.

    One positive from this debate, for me at least, is that it seems much more relevant to write to MPs about specific examples. I asked NE to look at non compliant burning in the Hallam constituency. No reply of course but raised this again via Nick Clegg – who wrote to DEFRA and also raised with Rachael Maskell. Small stuff in the greater scheme of things but perhaps a sign of the raised profile of this issue.

    Finally a question – did Hansard record verbatim all that was said, or were the nasty comments to Mark, League Against Cruel Sports etc edited out. I know what I heard on video, but doesn’t quite tie up with the written record. Or have I just missed it?

  20. Yes the debate was a very poor advertisement for our democracy. Interesting comments from Steohen (Stephen?) W about the Peak. I did write to Nick Clegg and it took a phone call to his office to get a reply, which was vaguely encouraging but non- committal. From the recent news Mr Clegg seems more keen on saving the Cornish pasty from Brexit than representing the views of 400+ of his constituents.

    One positive from this debate, for me at least, is that it seems much more relevant to write to MPs about specific examples. I asked NE to look at non compliant burning in the Hallam constituency. No reply of course but raised this again via Nick Clegg – who wrote to DEFRA and also raised with Rachael Maskell. Small stuff in the greater scheme of things but perhaps a sign of the raised profile of this issue.

    Finally a question – did Hansard record verbatim all that was said, or were the nasty comments to Mark, League Against Cruel Sports etc edited out. I know what I heard on video, but doesn’t quite tie up with the written record. Or have I just missed it?

    1. I’ve only watched the earlier portion of the debate so far and have not compared it with the whole Hansard account, but I don’t think it is entirely verbatim. I winced when I heard Steve Double make the grammatical blunder “… flaunt the law”, when the correct expression is “flout the law”. The Hansard record corrected this. It wasn’t the only thing that made me wince.

  21. Mark isn’t it time to mobilise the 123,077 into some form of action? I’m sure all of us could join up and encircle a particularly notorious grouse moor…

  22. Don’t need an army, don’t need a division, don’t need a brigade, don’t need a battalion. Round about a platoon, maybe a small company, per grouse moor should be fine.

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