Wednesday, 12 May 2010
Boo and hurrah
We have had a lot of "boo words and hurrah words" over the past few weeks and they don't just turn up in politics. Wyn Grant kicked off today's seminar with a fascinating look at the historical development of bovine TB policy and the role of emotion, blame, the creation of villains, and notions of justice. Badgers feature prominently in this picture and there is high emotion on both sides of that debate. Farmers are losing their livelihoods and, perhaps even more difficult, is the situation of those who live in constant fear of doing so. But what of Mr Badger? Is he villain or victim? In the policy archives it isn't even that simple. The badger per se might be a welcome rural resident, but "The Rogue Badger" is a figure who pops up from an early stage, well before the days of ASBOs, though I think he would qualify for one. He is old and senile but dashed cunning. He can't be trapped. So this debate has quite a history, whether you are booing or hurrahing.