Thursday, January 13, 2005

You would never have guessed it…

…but yesterday was the English launch of the Tories new fishing policy (Monday was Scotland), with shadow fisheries minister Owen Paterson in Cornwall meeting local fishermen, anglers and community groups.

Ignored entirely by the national (English) media (except Booker in the Sunday Telegraph), there is some justice in the Conservative’s claim that the media are not interested in policies and are only looking for the soap opera. Small wonder that politicians play to the gallery, if that is the only way they can get publicity.

However, it was covered in the regional dailies, not least the Yorkshire Post, and it was also covered by the Scotsman. It even made the Merco Press, in Uruguay of all places.

But pride of place goes to the Western Morning News which ran a major story and an editorial, neither of which, unfortunately, seem to be on line.

The editorial, headed "Tory hopes for fishing industry" was everything the Conservatives could have wished. Amongst the gems was the following paragraph:

But there might well be a debate about whether or not Shadow Fisheries Minister Owen Paterson has got all the answers in his Tory Party Green Paper on fisheries management, which had its English launch in the port of Looe today. That, though, is less important that the fact that in taking the issue seriously and compiling a comprehensive report after many months of investigation, the current Conservative front bench is treating the fishing industry with the respect it deserves.
The piece concludes by saying that "there is still a great deal of talking to be done, not least with the fishing industry itself, before a fully workable and sustainable fishery policy can be produced. But, with the Green Paper, the Conservatives have made an excellent start."

After launching the Paper in Looe, Owen Paterson went on to Newlyn where, in a public meeting, he was confronted by two UKIP stalwarts. After a sometime heated exchange, I am told by that one of them, a well-known local fisherman, told Paterson, "I agree with everything in your paper". Praise indeed.

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