Paterson: Badgers ate my credibility



By BadgerHero (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or GFDL (, via Wikimedia Commons

“It woz the badgers wot dunnit ossifer, honest.”

It’s embarrassing isn’t it, when a Cabinet Minister appears on national TV and makes such crass statements. Owen Paterson yesterday blamed the badgers for the failure of the Badger Cull in Somerset and Gloucestershire to meet its target of 70% kill, because there weren’t enough of them around. He had found out for example, by talking to a couple of his mates, that the reason there were so many less badgers around was because they were diseased. Giving all the more urgency to the cull in this Alice in Wonderland logic – expect a 100% kill rate when the cull goes national.

His phrase “the  badgers moved the goalposts” will now forever be associated with him, as much as Egwina Curry never got over the salmonella scandal, and John Gummer will be remembered for feeding his kids burgers during the BSE crisis, rather than all the good things he achieved later.

But crass though Paterson’s statements are, they underpin a more sinister agenda within the Conservative Party and beyond. This is what really sticks in our craw, because within the environment movement, the environment and nature really are a “Sacred Cow”. We hate being ridiculed for caring about nature.

Paterson and his chums merely see nature as something to be exploited (he is after all a Tanner by trade) or exterminated if it gets in the way. And Badgers most definitely fall into the latter category as far as he is concerned.

Now cuddly Richard “Boy” Benyon and the invisible man David Heath have been removed from Defra, watch out for George Eustice. He is not cuddly and he is undoubtedly on a mission.

For a little light relief I recommend you have a go at this game.

About Miles King

UK conservation professional, writing about nature, politics, life. All views are my own and not my employers. I don't write on behalf of anybody else.
This entry was posted in agricultural pests, agriculture, anti conservation rhetoric, anti-environmental rhetoric, badgers, David Heath, environmental policy, farming, George Eustice, Owen Paterson, Richard Benyon and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.