‘Honourable Friend(s)’ …. is an oft used term in the Palace of Westminster.
After sitting through some three hours of Parliamentary TV and subsequently reading the Hansard transcript of the Debate to ‘Ban Driven Grouse Shooting’ subsequent to Petitioner (or ‘perpetrator’ per R Benyon MP) Dr Mark Avery securing some 123,077 signatures. Surprisingly the counter petition currently standing at 24,361 also secured a part in the debate despite not reaching the requirement threshold of 100,000 signatures. As yet I’ve been unable to locate how the Parliamentary Procedure allows for this. Yes, there are excuses in Hansard offered by vested interest MPs involved in the debate. But as a young blogger asks, how is anyone taking an interest in Governance of the country to understand the process if it is oft adjusted to accommodate private interest? Is this democracy on the hoof?
I don’t think anyone involved in the campaign to secure safeguard of the upland moors as a safe haven for raptors, for their flood alleviation potential, for their usefulness in water quality delivery or for their climate change function expected MPs to recommend a ban on the sport. But what has shocked so many observers is the utter contempt and disregard of the petitioners. Personal attacks, obfuscation and filibustering were rife.
The live ‘performance’ is available online as is the transcript. One has to experience the pain to understand why Parliament and some Parliamentarians are held in such low esteem?
Many more eloquent writers have provided some excellent critiques of the proceedings and are worthy of being read.
Wilde About Birds offers us Don’t Dismiss The Public NGO
The debate – some first thoughts from the Petitioner Dr Mark Avery
Even someone ambivalent to BDGS (James Common) comments on the behaviour of the ‘honourable members’ …. The Grouse Debate: some follow-up thoughts
See also Anneka Svenska Driven Grouse Shoot Debate – Flooding, Burning & Wildlife Crime talking to people about why they traveled to Westminster to register their opposition to the ‘sport’ and the issues associated with it.
I’ve not yet managed to relocate the reference by one observer to the more reasonable and better quality offerings coming from female MPs. It has to be said that Rachael Maskell, Kerry McCarthy, Angela Smith and Caroline Lucas did their best to restore quality to what rapidly declined from debate to debacle, sadly they were in a minority.
I think this chapter in the campaign is quite well summed up by Angela Smith MP who tweeted “This is the most frustrating debate I have ever attended. Polarised and missing the point most of the time” I couldn’t agree more and if in the cold light of day we recognise we didn’t expect a positive outcome but we did have to give Parliament a chance. Parliament has shown it’s contempt for their own published process of petitions.
More analysis to follow …. the role and stance of the NGOs, where were our MPs and did they represent our voice in this debate?
In the interim the next chapter takes shape, the fiasco that masqueraded as ‘democracy’ served well to harden the campaigns resolve to continue …. from a first skirmish onwards to the battle?
Honourable Friend(s)? The best offering is that written by Caroline Lucas, the ‘debate’ to Ban Driven Grouse Shooting and the behaviour of a score or so of MPs on Halloween in Westmionster Hall certainly brings the reputation of some Parliamentarians into question?