Thursday 9 May 2024

Everything is displacement

I've written about the Tories 14 wasted years for The Critic... 

In 2018, Dr Lisa Cameron, an MP from the Scottish National Party, called for the consumption of dog meat to be banned in the United Kingdom. There was no evidence that anyone in Britain was eating dogs and she was surely correct when she said that “I do not believe the general public would approve of the practice at all”. The sale of dog meat has been banned for many years, but Dr Cameron was concerned about a loophole that allows people to eat their own dog if the animal has been humanely killed. Appalled at the prospect of this hypothetical problem, she urged the government to “take action to nip it in the bud”. The Conservative minister Sir Alan Duncan immediately rallied to the cause, saying: “There is no need in the modern world for this disgusting habit.” Like Dr Cameron, he said the government “should nip it in the bud”. 

Somewhat surprisingly, the campaign gathered steam. Jim Shannon MP said that “it is obscene, gross and immoral that someone could, technically speaking, cook a dog and eat it”. Following such newspaper headlines as “Horror of DOG EATING in the UK – Theresa May urged to act” (Daily Express), questions were asked in both Houses of Parliament and the House of Commons library prepared a 13 page briefing on the issue in advance of an hour long debate in the House of Commons. The debate was triggered by a Ten-minute Rule Bill from the Conservative MP Bill Wiggin who admitted that “there is no evidence that dogs are eaten in the UK” but that Britain should be “setting an example to the world”. By the summer of 2019, Michael Gove had reportedly drafted legislation to make the possession of dog meat a criminal offence. Alas, the clampdown on theoretical dog-eating fizzled out when civil servants decided that a ban would be “culturally insensitive”

In its small way, this episode sums up the last 14 years of government. The sheer inanity of it, the entanglement in trivia, the virtue signalling, the use of legislation to “send a message”, the inevitable involvement of Michael Gove and the whole thing falling apart for fear of seeming racist. It is a canned version of the whole era. Unserious politicians in serious times will do anything to avoid grasping the nettle. Everything is displacement.

Do read it all.

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