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Jan Klimkowski
06-23-2011, 06:22 PM
Party political thuggery in action:


MPs defy ministers and back ban on wild circus animals

Mark Pritchard says No 10 'threatened' him over animal circus ban debate

MPs have defied the government and backed a ban on wild animals performing in English circuses.

Tory MP Mark Pritchard's motion, supporting the move, was approved in the Commons without a formal vote.

Earlier, he said he was "threatened" by No 10 and told the prime minister would look upon it "dimly" if he pressed ahead with the debate.

Ministers said they were "determined" to tackle cruelty but strengthening existing laws was better than a ban.

Thursday's vote is not binding on the government, meaning that a ban will not become law as a result. However, it will increase pressure on ministers to act over the issue.

At the start of an impassioned debate, Mr Pritchard used the first few minutes of his speech to draw attention to what he said had been the government's "mysterious" behaviour over the issue.

'No kowtowing'

He said he had initially been offered a "pretty trivial job" if he agreed either to drop the Commons motion calling for a ban, to amend it or not to press for a vote.

Then, on the eve of the debate, he said he had been contacted by No 10 directly.

"I was offered incentive and reward on Monday and then it was ratcheted up until last night when I was threatened.

"I had a call from the prime minister's office directly. I was told unless I withdraw this motion that the prime minister himself would look upon it very dimly indeed."

Mr Pritchard said he had not "picked a fight" with the government over the issue but "had a message" for Mr Cameron and Conservative whips - who enforce party discipline in the Commons.

"I may just be a little council house lad from a very poor background but that background gives me a backbone, it gives me a thick skin.

"And I am not going to be kowtowed by the whips or even the prime minister of my country on an issue that I feel passionately about, that I have conviction about."

The public wanted their MPs to show "a bit of spine" and he would "not be bullied", he added.

Animal welfare

Only a handful of circuses in England keep wild animals, which includes any non-domestic species such as tigers, zebras and camels.

The RSPCA says seven tigers are among wild animals currently used in travelling circuses The RSPCA estimates 46 such animals are currently used in circus performance in the UK.

'Barbaric'

Mr Pritchard said this was cruel and outdated - comparing it to outlawed practices such as dog-fighting and badger-baiting - and insisted that the UK should "lead not lag the world" in animal welfare.

He argued there was overwhelming public support for a ban and more than 200 MPs supported the move.

The government's preferred option is to introduce a licensing scheme and a tougher inspection regime for circus animals under the existing Animal Welfare Act.

Such an approach is currently the subject of consultation and has been welcomed by the circus industry which says cases of mistreatment are very rare.

But Lib Dem Bob Russell said circuses featuring wild animals were "barbaric and had no place in civilised society in the 21st Century".

The Conservatives had initially intended to "whip" their MPs to vote against Mr Pritchard's motion but ultimately allowed them a "free vote" on the issue.

Tory MP Zac Goldsmith welcomed the change of heart, saying a whipped vote would have "made a mockery of the relationship between Parliament and government".

Comedian Ricky Gervais and actor Brian Blessed are among celebrities who wrote an open letter recently to Mr Cameron calling on the government to bring in a ban.

The government has argued that it would be unworkable to do this until the outcome of a legal challenge to a similar ban in Austria was known.

Environmental Minister Jim Paice said the government was "determined to stamp out" cruelty in circuses.

But he said there was a "serious risk" of a legal challenge to any ban in the UK and the "quickest way to reduce and hopefully eliminate cruelty to wild animals would be a robust licensing system".

The RSPCA has accused the government of "dithering" over the issue, saying licensing cannot guarantee acceptable welfare conditions and a ban is the only way to stop the risk of suffering.

Shadow environment secretary Mary Creagh said the government's handling of the issue had been "confused".

"It is extraordinary that David Cameron used such bully-boy tactics to threaten his own MPs and tried to impose a three-line whip on the vote," she said. "We look forward to a ban being implemented in the next 12 months."

Source (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-13884165).

Magda Hassan
06-24-2011, 11:37 AM
It is refreshing beyond words to see there are Tory politicans who have compassion for these captive animals and a backbone to stand up against their leader who for some reason has some thing against protecting circus animals from cruelty. Now if they can also protect humans from Tory cruelty and indifference I'll be very impressed indeed.

Jan Klimkowski
06-24-2011, 04:51 PM
It is refreshing beyond words to see there are Tory politicans who have compassion for these captive animals and a backbone to stand up against their leader who for some reason has some thing against protecting circus animals from cruelty. Now if they can also protect humans from Tory cruelty and indifference I'll be very impressed indeed.

Quality. :cheers:

I posted the original article merely because it is rare to see our bought and paid for political class publicly speak about the rewards and threats offered by party machines in exchange for complete obedience and avoidance of independent thought.

Also, I'm mystified as to why the Tory government, at the highest level, would seek to destroy an animal cruelty bill.

Perhaps it's because these products of Eton and the Bullingdon Club regard sado-masochistic thrashings and public humiliations as a feature of normal life...

Magda Hassan
06-24-2011, 11:01 PM
I expect that it does have much to do with the sado-masochistic perversion of the ruling classes as being quite 'normal' for them. I can't see the circus folk having a great leverage in the upper echelons of politics. Perhaps the Tories want to offer the masses real circuses in the hope that no one will notice they have removed all the bread? Perhaps they need all the wild animals they can have at hand to let loose on the soon to be rioting populace as a diversionary tactic or a low cost eugenics programme? :shrug:

Jan Klimkowski
06-25-2011, 10:23 AM
The parliamentary language is highly revealing too.

It was the "whips" who initially pressured Pritchard.

Indeed, the self-styled "Mother of Parliaments" is run by party machines who "whip" elected representatives into voting not according to the views of their electorate or their conscience, but as demanded by their party political masters.

:mistress: :ballchain:

Whip to MP: You are a worthless maggot and must do as we say.