Saturday, October 28, 2006

Trampled by the bunny-huggers?

Iain Murray at the Corner deplores the Boy King's pusillanimity on REACH.

He has we are told, pressurised his party's representatives in the European Parliament to vote in favour of the directive, despite the MEPs' concerns about the impact on British business and jobs. Heavily influenced by aggressive lobbying by the World Wildlife Fund, his staff feared that his carefully crafted green credentials might have been undermined by a vote against.

This stance on such a serious economic issue is "exceptionally disappointing", writes Murray: it looks like both HM Treasury and the Department of Trade and Industry will become mere branches of the Environment Ministry in any Cameron government.

But while the Boy is surging ahead in the polls, to suggest that he will benefit electorally from Labour disarray is perhaps premature.

In addition to the Conservative Party, minority parties are also benefitting and disaffected voters appear increasingly ready to look at alternatives such as the UK Independence Party, BNP and the Greens. Support for the minor parties totals 13 percent, higher than at any time in recent history.

It is the march of the minnows that will be the electoral phenomenon of the next election, with many voters entirely immune to the vote blue – go green mantra of the not-the-Conservative Party.

And, perversely, the Boy's enthusiasm for REACH could backfire. While the WWF might be happy with him, the more powerful and numerous animal welfare lobby is not. They are exercised by the requirement to subject chemicals to animal testing and, according to the Sunday Times, tens of millions of rabbits, mice and guinea pigs are facing a painful death as a result of the directive.

In fact, current estimates of the number of animals to be affected range from the 16m predicted by the chemicals industry to 45m over 15 years calculated by Germany’s Federal Institute for Risk Assessment – a huge burden of testing which now, effectively, has the Boy’s support.

Pusillanimity may have brought him into line with the Greens but, in addition to disappointing the business community and upsetting the Eurosceptics, he now risks being trampled underfoot by the bunny-huggers. That could be his undoing.


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