The notes below are about a meeting, in 2013, with Nick Clegg who was at that
time Deputy Prime Minister. There is reference to an elephant in the room.hree years later,
we still have an elephant in the room.
Published on 08 June 2016, this new scientific paper by Dr
Chris Cheeseman talks about the remarkable failure of the Government to address
the fundamental problem, namely the badger/cattle TB issue.
Please click the image to take you to the page where you can
read and/or download this crucial read.
I don’t agree with
Photo credit: St Austell Voice
Notes on a meeting with our Deputy Prime Minister
and a nod to the Elephant in
Like it or
not, the ultimate fate of our badgers rests with our politicians. So when Norma
and I had an invitation to meet with Nick Clegg on his recent visit to Cornwall
we felt it churlish not to accept and went along determined to ask at least one
The room was
fairly full, though quite a few attendees were obviously planted members of the
Liberal Democrats who had brought along their obviously planted (and
house-trained) questions. I mention this obvious fact merely to stabilise my
personal cynicism quotient!
One or two
non-planted questions did get through however; one of them was my question as to
why, in the face of public, backbench MP and scientific opinion, the government
was going ahead with a badger cull in 2013.
really get much of an answer; it was because the pilot culls had only been
cancelled due to lack of deliverability (is there such a word?), because the
pilot culls were needed to establish a proper scientific base and (I kid you
not) because we had to lessen the chance of people catching bovine TB (I’ve
always known politicians think of voters as cattle!).
however, Mr Clegg seemed totally unaware of the fact that badger vaccinations
are already taking place in various parts of the UK. He maintained that vaccine
was only at a laboratory stage – which conjures up a lovely picture of badgers
being sent appointment cards for their vaccinations at the lab!
So, all in
all, not much of a result – but at least a few more people know of our concerns.
And we had a lovely fish-and-chip supper on our way back home.
about the elephant in the room?
It was my
second question to Mr Clegg; “Will Cornwall be one of the sites of a cull in
2013”. He didn’t answer that one at all – just ignored it!
Kearton, January 2013
Guardian - 18 January 2013
Agreeable Clegg tackles wide
range of questions
Many issues were explored, from the Government investing in geo-thermal energy,
to the proposed badger culls in Cornwall (with Mr Clegg assuring the audience
that he didn't have a "badger vendetta"), to issues over planning and
house-building in the county.
I have to admit, I was surprised.
Apart from when he dodged questions by doing those things that all politicians
love to do (talking about their achievements, saying how they are much better
than the other parties and, in some cases, twisting words and turning the asker
of the question into the bad guy), I was surprised how well he coped under the
pressure of the spontaneous and huge range of questions (and, of course, the
inevitable angry questions).
He even hit on some highly topical issues, including the recently approved cut
in the welfare budget, saying "choices have to be made" and "if you don't like
it, fine, but come up with another plan".
He said: "Tell me which schools you're going to cut, tell me which hospitals
you're going to close, tell me which army divisions you're going to disband. You
cannot carry on in politics somehow pretending there are easy, pain-free
options. I'm afraid there aren't."
The fact that there were so few people present meant that the majority could get
a question to him if they wanted to.
I asked about his thoughts on 16-year-olds being able to vote and whether he
agreed that if we can work and be actively affected by the choices made by
government, then we should have a say.
He agreed and went on to say: "When I ask people why they don't think someone
who is 16 and 17 should get the vote, they say 'oh they can't possibly know
enough to make a judgement' but I'll tell you what, I know plenty of people
above the age of 18 who you could probably make a reasonable claim for not
making a well-rounded decision. It's not an age-contingent problem."
I wouldn't exactly call myself a hardened Liberal Democrat voter, but I found
myself almost mesmerised by how agreeable he was.
Of course there were points where he twisted people's words and that was
irritating, but in all honesty I expected more back-tracking and trying to
please the crowd. But that's not what we got, he stuck to his word and his