Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Norman Tebbit on your bike for ragwort research!

Lord Norman Tebbit of Chingford is a well-known British politician . He was a minister in Margaret Thatcher's government. He is infamously outspoken, not just for implying that the unemployed should get on their bikes and look for work. This outspokenness has led to a fair share of bad press. The satirical puppet show Spitting Image portrayed him as a violent, leather-clad bovver boy and some press wag gave him the  nickname,"The Chingford Strangler," which stuck.

Given his career as a minister and the bad press he has had you would then think that he would know to do his research before he asks questions of ministers, but he evidently hasn't learnt this lesson.

He asked this question in the House of Lords a short while ago.

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether there are any control orders made under the Ragwort Control Act 2003 currently in force; and whether there are any plans to make any such control orders.
As the reply he got showed there are no control orders that can be made under the Ragwort Control Act 2003 This is something he would have known if he had done the slightest amount of research before asking the question. There are several copies of the act concerned available on-line.

I should make clear at this point that all though ragwort can be poisonous. Most of the stuff you read, which Norman Tebbit doesn't seem to have checked out, is based on stuff that has been made up
They evidence clearly shows that ragwort isn't really much of a problem at all.

It is not the first time that Tebbit's stance on ragwort has come to my notice.
Robin Page, who is notorious for writing balderdash about ragwort like in his book Messages From a Disappearing Countryside, quoted him in an article in the Daily Telegraph.

Like me, his Lordship is horrified at the amount of ragwort growing free along our roadside verges, and believes that the Government should take action. His solution is that landowners should receive large fines – £500 or 500 pounds of pulled ragwort; that would solve the problem almost overnight.
Well my message to Lord Norman Tebbit is this. Ragwort isn't the problem you think it is. Please get on your bike and do some research before you form your opinions.

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