So, in Gloucestershire the government’s fourth annual sponsored badger persecution has finished.
Year 4 of 4 of their test on free shooting has been done.
So what have they achieved?
Well, an awful lot of normal glos folk are now a lot less trusting of the police, and far more cynical about their motives. On the bright side they are also a lot most knowledgable about their rights. One of my favourite memories is of a law abiding pensioner, masked up, and refusing to give a copper her name.
They have watched for four years as Btb rises in the cull zones. Sadly this hasn’t made them think they are doing something wrong, but then making governments think is a tricky affair, possibly even impossible, and makes you wonder the reason they tested no badgers for Btb…
They have however made people think. These same people who he government has for want of a better word radicalised, are now joining the fight against fox hunting. The cull has shown them that hunt saboteurs are not a mythical ninja group with special powers, just ordinary folk (and quick tip, if you want to help or donate to them, choose your local group and contact them direct, don’t send it to the hsa).
They proved fairly early on that badgers can’t be free shot effectively and resorted to cage trapping…. Still, who doesn’t love cage dancing.
They have spent a colossal amount of cash, tens of millions. So if you’re in glos and wondering why you no longer have a local police station (to hand yourself into) them thank the nfu. If you’re in glos and wondering why your bus services are cut thank the Tories.
They have validated direct action. Badgers were saved in all the cull zones, not by the hard work of NGOs and charities petitioning parliament. But by boots, wellies and in some cases crocs on the ground. Not to say that the “badger army” did nothing. The profile raising and fund raising was absolutely necessary. They made the people in black and camo wearing masks in the dead of night the good guys. They shouted down the nfu press steam roller. And because of them, badgers were saved… Even the wounded badger patrols were direct action, although they won’t thank me for saying it.
They made criminal damage socially acceptable. People who would have tutted under their breath at throwing a brick at a window, clapped you on the back for trashing a badger cage. (By the same token they have made anarchist more socially acceptable)
And lastly, they gave me some friends I’ll have for life. Friends I would and have back up no matter what. And that is the one thing I thank them for.