A Conservative MP responds to the Manifesto for Wildlife

One reader of this blog, who was unable to attend the Walk for Wildlife on Saturday was quick off the mark in contacting his MP about the Manifesto for Wildlife – and his MP was quick to respond.

I read it and I think I got to page 67 before I found something I could agree with. No wonder wildlife is at risk with this sort of level of political understanding. I despaired but there were some sensible suggestions later on especially for the sea.’

No great surprise there, but notice that there has been engagement by the MP. And that’s what we need.  If half the MPs in Parliament got a letter from their constituents on this subject this week then they would be beginning to sit up and take notice.  If some MPs got half a dozen letters this week then they would really know that what their party says and does for wildlfie is an issue – and they know that there is a general election looming, perhaps, maybe.

More on this at 6pm.

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12 Replies to “A Conservative MP responds to the Manifesto for Wildlife”

  1. First of all "wildlife is not at risk" in the UK, there have been catastrophic declines in our biodiversity. It's not the political understanding of conservationists which is at fault, but the incredible ecological ignorance of our politicians.

    When I was an undergraduate we had a professor I disagreed with on a number of things, but on something he said, I had total agreement. He was on various bodies, often interacted with politicians and the like. Basically he said he was always been told by these politicians that scientists, and especially ecoltogists like him were always been told by politicians and the like, that they needed to understand more about politics, sociology etc. Whereas as this professor pointed out, the real problem was the lack of scientific literacy amongst politicians, especially when it came to ecology.

    Only a very small proportion of politicians are scientifically literate as science isn't a usual career path into politics. However, out of those with some sort of scientific literacy, virtually none of them, or actually none of them have got any sort of background or working knowledge of ecology or environmental science. This despite our economy, our food supply system, our society, and our civilization being entirely reliant on the natural environment and natural ecosystems. In other words virtually none of our politicians have got any working insight into the fundamental things which keep us alive and make our economy and society possible. This is with the exception of Caroline Lucas, who maybe not an expert herself in these matters, but who at least pays heed to what the actual experts say.

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    1. The problem with this (and I agree wholeheartedly) is that politics seems to be a game of appeasement. Those with the largest vested interests are to be appeased to a greater extent than any environmental or ecological matter. It's a desperately short sighted view where money will be the driving factor and the lack of scientific understanding or indeed the intentional ignorance of scientific data in favour of corporate driving forces leads to policies which are damaging beyond recovery. Just look at the 1000's of badgers currently being slaughtered purely on the whim of the NFU, the real masters of Defra.

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  2. Tories loathe and despise constituents who write to them, that dare to write to them, to question their rightful rulers or who think their opinion means something, who refuse to learn our place (at the bottom), there is no point writing to Tories unless you are including a cheque (or brown envelopes stuffed with used fivers), because that is the only thing they think gives anyone a right to participate in politics.

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    1. Random22 - I think there are plenty of good Tories out there - perhaps we’ll find them through writing to them. My MP always replies to my letters and sometimes answers my questions.

      I am not confident that we will see a great gushing of wildlife- friendly responses from the Labour Party. But, we’ll see...

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          1. I'm just saying, Labour governments cost money. Tory governments cost lives, the suicide rate under each reflects this. Tory policies lead to innocent people dying, that means if someone chooses to Tory then they are choosing to be murderous and evil.

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  3. To be honest, I don't think the manifesto is written in a way that will resonate with many conventional politicians. It's too straightforward, too frank, too direct, it doesn't endlessly reference previous treaty or directive commitments and it's not full of meaningless buzzwords. That's why I like it!
    Surely, it's written to speak clearly to ordinary people. I actually think we spend too much time and effort trying to influence politicians directly - most of them just don't engage. The only way to get them to listen is to mobilise public opinion in a big way, so the politicos fear losing either votes or credibility. And I think the manifesto is a very good start to that process.

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  4. He'd be pretty shocked, then, by some of the subversive thinking in Defra these days - taken to the logical conclusion, the Natural Capital sums for the UK make the manifesto's demands look rather modest. As a starter for 10 NCC recommends, with the economic case, 500,000 hectares of land where food production would not be the primary objective - or necessarily an objective at all. A shock to farmers and conservationists alike, the latter still persuaded they have little or no place in the 'productive' (that's food, not environmental or social benefits, or wildlife) lowlands. Of course, it won't happen because the vested interests will push back and we'll end up with ESA's all over again - a veneer of environment over business as usual. But maybe it will - whilst NFU and the farming lobby stick to their traditional line, the CLA has gone hard for the Natural Capital arguments - and, if they do go through, all the NFU/farming rhetoric will be swept away as land managers switch to natural capital grants.

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  5. I contacted my Lib Dem MP about the People's Manifesto for Wildlife and The People's Walk for Wildlife. I was advised that my MP was far too busy to read the manifesto or attend the walk. I suggested that, perhaps, someone else from their office could attend. I was told it was too short notice and train was expensive. I advised them that I had booked the coach £5 each way, and they ended saying they would see if someone can go. I'm guessing no one did go as their social media accounts didn't say they had. I will arrange a meeting and will hand deliver a printed copy of the manifesto. My MP doesn't have the same vested interests as some of the other MPs and is a campaigner. I'm hoping when I write and see them that they will respond positively and will want to take notice of some (or all!) of the exciting ideas.

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  6. Contacted Tim Farron (LD) on Monday - will let you know how that goes...
    Generally, Tim’s been seen to agree with everyone/whoever’s speaking to him.
    Which makes you wonder what he really thinks or believes...
    Other than - please vote for me!
    He is good at replying though! So perhaps that makes it swings and roundabouts.
    (Of course it doesn’t).

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  7. Yes I agree with what SteB said on here - I've found myself thinking and saying the same thing often. More science literacy among politicians in Westminster could be game changing. I've met politicians and seen vacant expressions when I've tried to discuss why certain issues are important.
    We expect MPs to grasp a wide range of subjects that they may not have had an education background in. Many people go into politics fuelled by other important issues, not environmental ones. I appreciate they are all busy, but I've suggested several times that basic training in key science/environment topics might be helpful - e.g. climate change, farming & biodiversity. Something worth blogging and prompting a debate on perhaps, Mark?

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