I'm starting today's little storyboard with a repetition of my earlier plea to halt the extended badger cull.
Since the cull extension was announced last week we have seen some of the most vicious and deplorable killing and maiming of badgers. The cull gives licence to anyone with a gun or a club to indulge their nastiness on defenceless and truly guiltless creatures and the human race is done no credit for its behaviour in this situation. I am both disgusted and cynical enough to see that the free, open-house policy on 'kill a badger' has appealed to the lowest forms of our society, those that take violence against the defenceless as a pleasure - in short, the least worthy of humankind.
There is no causal link between badgers and bovine TB. Cattle are themselves the natural carriers of the disease and badgers have become the fall-guys for ill thought out attempts to eradicate the disease. This is a government sop to an influential rural lobby and they should be ashamed of themselves for endorsing this sort of free-for-all killing spree. Stop it, stop it now and prosecute the thugs who have been given licence to engage in this needless gore without hesitation. We are better than this and the lowest common denominator should not be our measure of civilisation.
In the political world I see that Vince Cable imagines himself as the next PM. That's come from left-field, hasn't it ? As to how he's come to that conclusion is anybody's guess but he seems to believe that the LibDems are going to suddenly launch themselves into the sensible centre ground and reap all the votes of the disenchanted masses and cancel Brexit. Almost Messianic, you might say. Well, good luck to him in that but I liken his ambition to that of Cnut trying to turn back the waves - all a bit pointless....
The other notable Brexit argument - yes, all the talk of Brexit is now classed as an 'argument' - is that between Boris Johnson and assorted other Theresa May supporters over the cash-back remarks first unleashed during the referendum campaign and now, again, back in the news. Perhaps it doesn't really matter what the exact sum of money being paid into the EU's weekly budget that we make rather it is the principle that - whatever the figure is - it will be a sum that can be spent by our government and not that of the EU once Brexit has been finalised. Mr Johnson has always been careless with his choice of words but his sentiment is right on this occasion and, if this is a ploy to seize the leadership of the Tory's then it is only our news crazed media that sees the connection. Notice how Mrs May remains in the shadows, neither condemning or agreeing his comments - and that is because since the election you will have seen more government ministers and spokespersons on tv, in the newspapers and on social media than ever before. That is her response to allaying the accusation of being a lone-wolf, Maybot style leader and it is right that her ministers should be given freedom to express their views and widen the arena. I see absolutely nothing out of line in Johnson's comments.
What remains disturbing, however, is the prediction that Mrs May's Florence speech on Friday will give ground to the EU by agreeing to continued payments for access to the single market during some imprecise transitional period. This is a departure from the ethos and intent of Brexit as it was voted for and will, if it happens, be taken as a significant betrayal to the majority who voted 'Leave'. The comments by Amber Rudd that the PM is in the driving seat of Brexit ring hollow if we start to capitulate our negotiating position now. As this blog has pressed for before, grit, toughness and strong negotiating is required - not a tail between the legs and head bowed approach. Where is Nigel Farage ? If you're out there reading this, get back into the fray quickly and before our sad negotiating position worsens.
Looking at some of the commentary upon Brexit in the wider sense, much of our news seems to be dominated by the notion that immigration was and is the central focus of those who voted 'Leave' in the referendum. It further insinuates in many quarters that those who voted 'Leave' have no other concerns about the EU and are at the bottom rung of the 'understanding scale'. Added to that, the older population have been getting it in the neck for seemingly acting selfishly in voting for Brexit. The very fact that commentary of this nature is still being bandied about is possibly an illustration of not just the political divisions that exist around Britain but also about the geographic divisions and social divisions that have become more obvious during the last ten years or so. Do not make the mistake of thinking that 'Leavers' are unenlightend or ignorant, or selfish or even just north of Watford Gap - for they are not - any more than thinking of 'Remainers' as some sort of Metropolitan elite, better informed, and much wiser and with the vested interests of the south-east at heart - for they are also not this. Both descriptions are both correct and incorrect for they embrace a wide variety of types with no singular name tag that fits all. We are a diverse nation with a vast spread of views and feelings - and we fit into both camps of this important national 'argument'. We should try and accept the decision of the referendum and work together to ensure our government fulfils its duties - that is the biggest risk to all of us.