Yesterday the Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said “I will do what is right, not what gives me a warm feeling or gives protest groups a warm feeling.” Yet Alice Thomson’s column in the Times today shows a spectacular level of ignorance from a Minister and a government Special Advisor, who are shameless about their populist motives:
“As one minister explained: ‘We have three priorities: the economy, education and welfare. Badgers don’t fit into any of those scenarios so they are a distraction.’ One special adviser compared it to the U-turn on selling off forests. ‘Why would we want to antagonise all the fluffy animal-lovers when we don’t have to?’”
Guido has his suspicions to which side of the coalition the Minister sits on, but that aside, the argument is nonsense. The economy? Defra’s own website states that there are 5,300 dairy producers in the UK produce 13.3 billion litres of milk per year at an average of 27p per litre. Bovine TB, spread by badgers could wipe out this £3.5bn market.
Which would do wonders for welfare numbers…