Wednesday 14 July 2010

I'll thcweam and thcweam

I feel another Victor Meldrew moment coming on. I'm getting thoroughly sick of the whining by the self-appointed guardians of the environment as they plead to be immune from the very necessary cuts in public spending.

Today's press release reaches a pitch equivalent to a teenager told that no, she can't have the latest iPhone with unlimited contract minutes, because Mummy and Daddy aren't made of money.

The RSPB and other beneficiaries of 13 years of Labour control freakery have 'joined forces to paint a grim picture of a countryside starved of money by budget cuts.'

If the government cuts environmental spending, we are told, farmland birds will resume their slide into extinction, wild flower meadows will all but vanish, uplands will become degraded, polar bears will fall into the sea, the sky will fall in, and we'll thcweam and thcweam until we are thick.

Get real. There. Is. No. Money. It's not so much cutting, as not spending the money we didn't have anyway, and someone just said they might spend even though they didn't have it. I don't see any helpful suggestions about what might be cut instead. Policing? Defence? Education? Health?

In any case, there's something to be said for a cull of the 'experts' curently infesting the countryside, counting and ticking and condescendingly telling country folk that they just don't understand, because they don't have a 2.2 in environmental jiggery-pokery from a Mickey Mouse university, and anyway don't you know that's against the law now, and here's another ream of forms to fill in...

If our wildlife isn't managed by these experts, we don't end up with a vacuum, we get a different balance of wildlife. If you sack the gardener because you can't afford his wages, you don't get bare earth, you get a splendid crop of weeds. And bugger all sea eagles.

If government spending on the countryside has to be cut, so be it. Perhaps the RSPB should start making friends with another group of people who manage 2,000,000 ha, and spend £250,000,000 a year on conservation.

I always preferred wilderness to gardens anyway.


Meconopsis said...

Hoo the old Labour day's 13 years of putting down the countryside dwellers. Rules and regulations, Paper mountains and ban's of what we could do on our land.

Rights to roam and wild camping with piles of rubbish at every beauty spot.

Folk running their pet dogs through the wildlife rich areas.

Vast sum's of cash thrown at needles charities and countryside quangos to tell us what we can eat and drink.

They were the days for the fluffy bunny folk from never never land.

In the real world the true country folk never gave up hope and soon maybe someone will open a Zoo for all these lost causes to live in.

vicky said...

The problem for the countryside is not government cuts. The problem is that for too long farmers have relied on subsidies because the buying public have no concept of what food production costs. The supermarkets promise us ever cheaper food yet make ever bigger profits- who is getting squeezed? The farmer. If farmers were paid a fair price for what they produce, and a premium for producing it with a nod to the environment all would be well. Sure the shopper would have to tighten his or her belt but with obesity at epidemic levels would that be such a bad thing? Yet again 'our' voice needs to be out there shouting that farms with shoots have improved biodiversity, that this sport provides good food AND a revenue stream for farmers AND for so many people a few hours blessed relief from the misery makers in the media!

Sooty said...

Always enjoy your take on things James

James Marchington said...

Not sure quite what you mean by that Sooty, but I'll take it as a sort of compliment! Nice to see you here again anyway. Do drop by and say hello if you're at the CLA Game Fair at the end of next week.

Alan Tilmouth said...

The flaw in your post is that the current incarnation of a government is likely to remove basic pay, in the form of stewardship grants, from 'the gardener' and force a rather more capitalist market led 'bonus scheme' based on production. A little like set-aside this will inevitably lead to a rush by many but hopefully not all, away from stewardship schemes resulting in a poorer environment for wildlife.
There. Is. Money. I would far rather it be spent encouraging farmers and landowners to improve biodiversity than frittered away on things like Trident (big boys toy gun?)

James Marchington said...

Hi Alan. If you can put your finger on some frittering, I'm sure HMG could do with ideas. From a human perspective, producing food (preferably sustainably) is a slightly important function for the countryside, although I realise that those with lefty leanings resent the fact that some people make money along the way. Capitalist or not, we all need to eat. Biodiversity is a matter of degree. The gold standard would be nice, if we could afford it, but it'll have to join the queue.

Alan Tilmouth said...

"Biodiversity is a metter of degree"
Not so a large diversity of species is vital to agriculture and forestry, and plays an essential role in recycling the vital elements for the living system, such as carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus, as well as in maintaining a quality environment (Pimentel et al., 1992). In agriculture, for instance, it would be impossible to produce fruits and vegetables annually without the free services of honey bees and wild bees for pollination. Because we need to maintain biodiversity in order to stabilize the structure and functions of the biosphere we can not transform the entire land available into agricultural fields.

Also to clarify I have no issue with farmers making money, if I had my choices there would be compulsory high level stewardship funded by central government, we should pat farmers to look after biodiversity and not expect them to do it out of the goodness of their heart.

Alan Tilmouth said...

That should read 'pay farmers' in my previous comment I would hate to be responsible for an outbreak of farmer patting.

Sooty said...

Yes definitely a compliment James afraid that I am not into shooting etc but can always see others point of view and feel that mostly shooting people like other wildlife and as a by product of shooting other wildlife does seem to benefit and you personally always seem to be relatively acceptable to B O P having a place in the countryside so you have my utmost respect but you just will not see me at shooting events.

James Marchington said...

Fair enough Sooty, although the CLA is much more than a shooting show - we even let that Mark Avery in, although he does his best to be provocative. Last year he brought a perspex case full of 200 toy hen harriers. This year I expect he'll have a truckload of badgers and a dancing sea eagle!

Sooty said...

Made me laugh again James and that must be good.If Mark travelled the west country roads he would sadly soon get a truckload of Badgers it is amazing any are left.

vicky said...

James! You are so naughty! I'm pleased Alan wants to support farmers but I still don't think subsidy is the way, or at least not the only way. At least enviro-agri schemes reward more eco friendly agriculture but hy must it come from 'our' taxes? Maybe we should pay more for food? Or levy the evil supermarkets?
Sooty, try a game might like it. I'm going to miss the CLA this year and I'm really sad- there'll be dogs, horses, BOP, gardens, crafts, art, food glorious food and, oh yeah- a few guns. There really is somehing for everyone. Even delicious cheeses safe for the vegetarians!