Wednesday, August 09, 2006
CONSERVATIVES AND HEMP
An article in the Times by Andrew Sullivan addresses the hot topic of the summer in the city: global warming. He notes that the heat may well get Al Gore four years of free rent on Pennsylvania Avenue, and sensing the winds of change, goes on to say: "...of course, one broiled July and sauteed August do not a global warming make. But it does concentrate the mind..."
In this case Sullivan's wonderfully concentrated mind is on the subject of conservative politics and the ecology. Somehow he has decided that the Tory party is now very green indeed.
I'm not so sure. Last I checked the grass in Hyde Park was a lighter shade of scorched earth brown, and I tend to think that not only the Tory party, but ALL of the parties in the UK are as green. Maybe the grass is greener on one's own side of the political fence.
To make the argument about how green the grass is in the Tory party, Sullivan reminds us that he wrote a policy paper called Greening the Tories in 1985. Twenty-one years a-growing it seems it may just have taken root; is that a pair of cotyeldons I hear emerging, or just noise from a policitical columnist who needs to make copy and support his party?
Part of his support comes from the meaning of the word 'conservative'; perhaps he ought to pass on this study in etymology to the folks currently squatting at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, as he tells us that the conservative party is there to, uh, conserve. Right on dude. Was this in your paper?
But let's be fair; the conservatives might not have done a lot except scoff at environmentalists, but what have the other parties done?
Let's take the issue of hemp. Here is a plant that requires little or no pesticides to grow, produces paper, medicine, energy, cellulose, food and fabrics, and what is being done? As far as I can recall the only involvement recently came from MPs Brian Iddon and Paul Flynn, Lord Rea and Baroness Tonge. These four attended a medical cannabis discussion in a room in Parliament in May of this year, and to their credit arranged for a letter to be delivered to 10 Downing Street.
David Milliband is now the Labour Environment Minister, a post which has changed hands in this present administration like the colours on the back of a chameleon. Peter Ainsworth is the Tory Shadow Minister for that post, and Chris Huhne, an economist, serves as his opposite number in the Lib Dem party. As far as I know, not a single one of them has said a word about hemp. Are they content to stand idle? We shall see, more on that later.
But getting back to our policy paper writing, environment conserving party which has just now awoken to find themselves very green indeed, out there hugging trees when not kissing babies for our votes, are we to take them as seriously as they take themselves? Again, we shall see.
Perhaps they really are genuine, and by their fruits we shall have of them a good report. David Cameron, the Tory leader, has also made it known that he loves the environment, and it would be mean to not at least give him a chance. Their record on hemp is just about nil, but in fairness to them, it may be that they are not given the facts on this issue. It is up to the electorate to get their money's worth out of their elected officials, and the best way to do this is to contact their offices, which can be done by calling the Parliament switchboard at 020 7219 3000 and asking for the name your MP, or any for that matter. You can then talk to their assistant, leave a message, or get more contact details. All of which I will be doing and reporting back on this very site, allowing for them to show their true colours.