Gove? Urgh. How Bad Can it Get?

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Pob

So we get Gove. I don’t quite know what to make of this just yet. The man is clearly a venal little weasel, but then that doesn’t necessarily put him top (or bottom if you prefer) in my arbitrary list of awful choices for Secretary for (the environment), Food, and Rural Affairs. But then he has some pretty stiff competition.

The last seven years have seen some absolute corkers thrown up to plug the role of NFU yes-man (or woman). Although more recently the position appears to have become some form of purgatory for those who dare challenge the Maybot.

So here, in descending order, is my own personal league table of those who for the course of the now slowly dying Tory government have sullied the position by wilfully ignoring the whole ‘environment’ part of their job description.

Leadsom:

Ah, bless her. She didn’t really have a chance to demonstrate her skills. For the past year she has been about as visible as Hen Harriers on a grouse moor, probably discerning that it might be for the best to keep her head down and her face out of May’s eyeline. As a mother, and therefore with a vested interest in the future, you could have been mistaken for thinking that she would actually care about things like climate change and biodiversity. Instead her only contribution appears to have been washing up at the NFU conference and telling them they could have the moon on a stick after Brexit.

Spelman:

I must confess that Spelman is a bit of a blank spot in my mind, from which I deduce that she was a bit of a non-entity. However, from reading her wiki-bio it appears that in a rare example of someone actually being appointed to a government post they have real-life experience for, she worked for the NFU for 3 years. Admittedly that might have made her ever-so-slightly biased in her outlook. Apparently she also owns a lobbying firm for the food industry, so…swings and roundabouts, eh? Although, it’s clearly mainly swings, isn’t it?

Truss:

Comedy gold, if nothing else. And honestly, she wasn’t a lot else. Appears to be going from strength to strength post-post, which I can only assume is another example of May attempting to surround herself with people who can in no way show her up with their competence. During her tenure, Defra attempted to close the wildlife crime unit, funding was withdrawn from local environmental records centres and Pre-Referendum, Natural England tried to row back on some of the EPS license outlines. Used to work for Shell. But does at least acknowledge climate change.

Which brings us nicely on to…

Patterson:

The absolute nadir. A nincompoop of the highest order. A self-serving, self-aggrandising, smug, narrow-minded, punchable little shit. He of the badger relocated goalposts.

A Climate Change denier. Let me just repeat that…a climate change denier. As Secretary for the Environment. Refuses to listen to reason and science because he’s just got a gut feeling, y’know?

If you’re house has flooded in the last five years – blame Patterson.

If you’re a badger with a murdered family member – blame Patterson.

If parts of Essex are underwater in fifty years – blame Patterson

Famously referred to the environmental movement as ‘The Green Blob’. Again, let me repeat that, the Secretary for the Environment openly disparaged the environmental movement.

He’s since gone on to talk nonsense about Ecomodernism (how the environment can be saved be even more intensive farming) and, perhaps not surprisingly, to support the Leave campaign.

A jackass.

So go ahead, Gove. Do your worst. I suspect you’re not going to have very long to do it in anyway.

It’s Started……..We’re Doooooomed

Well, probably. Certainly feels like that today. There seems to be a growing realisation amongst Brexiters about the magnitude of what they’ve just done. Bit late in the day, mind. But let’s not get into all that, there are plenty of other people writing more informed things about what happens next. It all feels alarmingly regressive, though. Down is down.

It’s already started to bite at work. 3 hours, that’s all it took. 3 hours to find out that a funder (a big funder, the big funder, you know the one) suggested – confidentially of course – that we might want to shelve any applications we were considering for the next 12 months at least. Until things have sorted themselves out. If they sort themselves out. That was day one, so I look forward to finding out what awaits me at my EU-nation-owned organisation next week. I’m sure it’ll all be fine. Probably.

The EU is responsible for huge swathes of environmental and species legislation. It’s also the source for a whole phalanx of funding (not just Stewardship etc).A lot of my future career choices and options would be influenced by these. It’s fair to say I’m not relaxed about the whole thing.

But it’s OK, I’ve been told. Because we can create our own species protection legislation can’t we? And the funding will get sorted out, it absolutely wont be entirely agriculturally focused as a sop to all those Brexit-voting farmers. Anyone who says this might not have been paying attention to exactly what this Tory government have been trying to sneak past us in the last six months.

So am I confident that I’m working in a sector that will thrive under an insular, regressive government? Am I confident that people like BoJo and Farage (dubious views on climate change, little interest in biodiversity beyond an idyllic ‘Green and Pleasant Land’ free of Poles) have the best interests of the environmental sector at heart? No. No, I am not. Am I keeping an eye on conservation jobs abroad? You bet.