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I don't really know what to say about that man [chair of Northumberland Inquiry] though you will know I was asked to leave on the final day. . . . I had submitted evidence in the spirit of hoping that some real truths would emerge; I was not asked however to be a member of the panel even though Northumberland was 'administered' from Carlisle during FMD.
I received a fairly last minute programme which made clear the public nature of the thing. Most people being in fulltime jobs could not have organised themselves to go.
I sat mute on the first day though it was quickly evident that the salient points were not on the agenda. I put in written questions at each session though you had to be on the ball to do this as they were time limited. . . no doubt with some excuse as to their copying for the panel.
On the second day when a futile brief debate was starting on vaccination, I say futile because most persons seemed ignorant of the basic facts, and the sole vet presence was that of a local/locum [she spoke out against the cull]
I stood up and put a couple of points about vets' discretionary powers,etc etc and I was politely listened to and thanked for my passion.
I had mentioned that my submission had been accepted so next I was invited to speak after the coffee break, which I did although I felt ill prepared.
Predictably I pointed out that the slaughter was a disgrace and because the vet who had killed our farm stock - they got the virus-came from the area, a fact we mentioned in passing and so and so forth, I was listened to closely; however,on the last day,which was our third day, I had reached the conclusion that the inquiry was completely corrupt in the sense that it addressed anything but the core issues.
Whilst compensation was mentioned for this person and that person,getting down to mention of the dog in the pub. ... i. e. we have all been affected by FMD! and I am not exaggerating [please see John Pearson's letter] I felt that what was an irrelevancy needed to be stopped.
Many panel members were paid Council employees.
I CAN ONLY GUESS at that person's character, and I hear his brother is respected but my bet is that greed may have got the better of him, whether as ego or whatever, and I definitely felt the following:_
1 all sorts of people were allowed to talk unhindered e.g. the vicar at Allendale, but when critical points were mentioned the talker was interrupted from the chair or was put under pressure of time as in "we are pressed for time"
2 the programme looked full; this gave the appearance of complete consultation but intruth meant that we had plenty of narrative and no annalsis. witnesses wre allowed to 'strut their stuff' without debate as to the significance of the their comments.
3 thenFU ii think made untrue statements without being challenged my memory is accurate.
4 as now habitually happens, emphasis was put almost exclusively on the future so that the past can be glossed over.
5 when a n interesting friend of mine stood up to speak having had some sincere eye contact to do so, the chair told him to "sit down ". he has told me since that the clerk was instructed to offer him a "lame apology".
6 the smoothness of the c hairshowed sophisticated "man" management skill; one shouldn't be surprised at that I suppose, but it meant that less wary persons could be lead into avenues they had not intended
7 the director of the countryside alliance. whom I coincidentally know and like, was allowed to say he thought vacc would not have worked[too little , too late] and was accepted as a farmer and a shooter and a councillor. . . . . .
8 the EU flag flies outside.
9 the chair felt he could disarm with charm; he made a point of remembering all names quickly. I felt he was sickly-he made a 'joke' about a persons tie as being the same colour as the 'blue box' in the county.
10 the chair seemed to be on automatic pilot.
11 this inquiry is condemned by the balance of its content, packed and side-stepping the key points. . . . . where did the virus come from.
12 I know that when a witness is grieving, as some clearly were, noone is going to interrupt their mourning. . . . . . so no analysis is going to take place. What we had was personal narratives, rather like a horror film emerging ; what we didn't feel was any urgent curiosity as to asking why.
I'm rather tired as I type this so ignore the inept text but I fear a calculating and smooth operator. Most certainly this was a manipulated exercise.
In an earlier life! I was a lecturer for the Open Univ. and I lectured in logic so to an extent I can understand the nature of argument and persuasion and the selected point of view... I could also recognise the management skills on display I 've been one of those also.
I hope this is useful and not too long winded.
p.s. GM CROPS forms part of a chapter in one of the popular textbooks used by A level pupils doing biology . . interesting .
ALL BEST WISHES, FROM ELLI.