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Mel Stride

Olympic Feat...

Sun 11 Sep 2011

By Mel Stride

Recently I had a tour of the Olympic Park to the East of London.

The site occupies an area the size of Hyde Park and whilst much of it still feels like a building site or still appears to bear the scars of the pitiful poundings of the last war - the main buildings are basically complete. The magnificent Olympic Stadium that will see the 100m final. The graceful flick of the Velodrome and over to the East an Athlete’s Village much of which will become social housing after the games are gone  –  a legacy for the future.

The past too is potent here. Centuries ago there was textile printing – the stewing of bone, slither of soap, steaming distilleries, engineering and chemical brews. More recently it was a monument to rubbish – a landfill - polluting the River Lea and raising up by 60 feet its sodden banks toward a dreary sky.

Before the first of the Olympic stone was set all had to be decontaminated. An army of messianic machines were dragged about – crushing the earth clear of its past. Buildings were demolished. Parklands planted with a thousand trees. The river cleansed. A transport system dragged out into the daylight - buffed up - ready to ferry in 800,000 spectators to watch 200 nations in the greatest show on Earth. Over half the planet will watch our Olympics and Para-Olympics. And it will be the third time we play the host – 1908 (when we stood in for Rome then struck by the wrath of Mount Vesuvius), 1948 (the first televised games) and now 2012 (when the legacy of the Olympics and Para-Olympics this time around will live on in this extraordinary creation). From what I saw these will be a games that will make us very proud indeed.

Healthy Cattle and Wildlife

I had a busy day in the Chamber just before the Summer recess – I spoke in a debate pressing for more help for micro-businesses (those employing less than 10 people) as over 95% of businesses in my constituency fall into this category. During Foreign Office questions I urged the Government to take a firm line on China’s human rights record. I pressed the Education Secretary to make sure that Devon schools receive a fairer level of funding and I spoke up in support of the Government’s plans, announced that afternoon, for tackling the scourge of Bovine TB.

The fact that our deliberations in the Chamber were going on at the same time as Rupert Murdoch was being interrogated by a Select Committee whilst having a shaving foam pie thrust into his face by a 26 year old comedian from Croydon meant that whatever we were saying was unlikely to gain much media interest. None the less the issues with which we grappled were important.  Let me focus on one of them - Bovine TB.

The Government’s statement on Bovine TB is vitally important. This disease claimed around 25,000 cattle last year at a financial cost of over £90 million. Over the next decade, left unchecked, it will run up costs of over £1 billion. The South West is the worst affected part of the country with Devon at its centre. Along with the financial cost comes the devastation that the destruction of herds brings to our farmers and their families. There are some farmers I meet who question whether it is worth carrying on at all – there are those who have seen a life’s work destroyed with the wiping out of their entire stock - and the sterling work carried out by the Farm Crisis Network bears compassionate testimony to the extraordinary hardship that this situation is bringing to our farmers and their local communities.

The Government has announced that a consultation will now be undertaken on running two pilots for the culling of badgers within TB hotspot areas. It is widely accepted that Badgers transmit TB both between themselves and between themselves and cattle and whilst there will continue to be a robust debate about how effective a badger cull will be in combating the disease it is the case that there is no country on Earth that has successfully eradicated Bovine TB without addressing its presence in the wildlife population. It is also the case that both cattle and badgers suffer greatly as a result of this dreadful disease. Whilst I firmly believe that the Government’s approach is right we must continue to proceed with care – consultation must be meaningful to ensure that we arrive at the most humane approach to what is understandably a very sensitive issue. There will be no lack of scrutiny going forward – both from within Parliament and from without. There is much at stake here and we must get it right.

For Mel Stride’s Advice Surgeries please visit www.melstridemp.com












Other columns by Mel Stride

Busy right across the constituency - Tue 9 Nov 2021
Investing in local public services - Mon 2 Aug 2021
Corona - A year on - Mon 14 Jun 2021
Supporting our Local Communities in difficult times - Mon 1 Mar 2021
The PM’s first year - Thu 1 Oct 2020
Quizzing the PM - Tue 7 Jul 2020
It’s the economy, stupid! - Tue 11 Feb 2020
Vision for the Future - Mon 2 Dec 2019
Into the Cabinet - Thu 1 Aug 2019
Local Apprenticeships Matter - Fri 3 May 2019
Huge shot in the arm for our High Streets - Thu 24 Jan 2019
Reading - Thu 8 Nov 2018
EU - In or Out? - Mon 11 Mar 2013
Opportunity. - Tue 22 Jan 2013
Where do we begin? - Tue 13 Nov 2012
To Infinity and Beyond - Wed 5 Sep 2012
Working in Westminster - Sun 1 Jul 2012
A Better Balance - Thu 5 Jan 2012
Capital Shame - Mon 7 Nov 2011
The Coalition - A year on - Mon 11 Jul 2011
Labour Dreams - Sun 17 Apr 2011
Now we really must mean Business - Thu 10 Mar 2011
Freedom and Responsibility - Sun 9 Jan 2011
A leader for Labour - Thu 4 Nov 2010
Education and Freedom - Mon 6 Sep 2010
Tradition and Words - Mon 6 Sep 2010
Mel Stride - Early Days in Westminster - Tue 6 Jul 2010
Mel Stride Conservative Parliamentary Candidate on The Big Society - Mon 3 May 2010
A look back over my years as Conservative parliamentary candidate and contributor to The Cottage - Sun 28 Feb 2010
Building the homes of the Future means giving Power to the People - Thu 3 Dec 2009
Early memories... - Wed 4 Nov 2009
As General Franco lay dying... - Tue 20 Oct 2009

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