The Nether Regions

The blog that slips an affectionate hand between the thighs of the regional media

Chinese democracy: lanterns and livestock

with 5 comments

Occasionally, our political representatives look to make a name for themselves with ludicrous single-issue election campaigns. Step forward Liberal Democrat MEP Sharon Bowles:

Bracknell Forest Standard, 22 February 2010:

Chinese lanterns threat to animals

Banning wire-framed Chinese lanterns, much loved at celebration parties, is the only way to stop cows and sheep dying when they eat the sharp frames according to a politician.

Chinese lanterns, popular at festivals, are made from tissue paper around a wire frame with a candle-like fuel cell at the bottom which, when lit, fills the paper frame with hot air causing them to float into the air and glow.

But Sharon Bowles, MEP for the South East, is appealing for the lanterns, which have been mistaken for UFOs, to be banned because they are a threat to cows and sheep.

The National Union of Farmers have reported at least one case of an animal dying after eating the frames.

To let you in on some journalism lingo, “at least one case” generally means one case.

This is such a typical Liberal Democrat policy strategy: sentimental and well-intentioned, but sidestepping the real issues and arguably impossible to implement.

MEP poses moments before force-feeding sheep with lantern wire in order to prove her point.

Sharon said: “When you hear about the damage these wire-built lanterns could cause there are only two solutions – redesign them to be biodegradable or ban flying lanterns altogether.”

She said the lanterns land on farmland and can be cut with silage and fed to animals.

Her call was backed by the RSPCA.

The RSPCA will back anything, so we shouldn’t take too much notice of that. They’d back the 200/1 outsider in a horse race on the grounds that it’s so useless they know the jockey won’t even bother whipping it. They probably even back dog dirt, the fucks. If you’ve ever got a call that needs backing, getting it backed by the RSPCA is the last thing you should do.


Written by Paddy

March 7, 2010 at 4:42 pm

5 Responses

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  1. It amuses me that the journalist’s first line is the claim that she says the only way to stop it is banning them, and then quotes her saying that there are two options.

    She doesn’t appear to be calling for them to be banned at all, so much as investigated (so much as wanting to get her face in the paper). I wonder what the RSPCA is actually backing.


    March 8, 2010 at 6:32 pm

  2. The opening paragraph in general is amusing. I like this approach you get in the news (across all media) where they present a ridiculous statement and it sounds like it’s the newspaper’s own view for a few moments, only to then be attributed as “…according to a politician” or “…according to health watchdogs” or “…according to Gary Glitter.”

    E.g: this from next week’s Stoke Sentinel, maybe:

    ‘THE genocide of Jews during the Second World War did not actually occur and was an elaborate hoax designed to advance a Jewish plot of world domination… according to David Irving!!!’


    March 8, 2010 at 10:34 pm

  3. I particularly like it/curse humanity when it’s a massive generalisation: “… according to scientists;” “…according to consumers;” “…according to mothers.”


    March 10, 2010 at 6:17 pm

  4. Massive generalisations in opening paragraphs of newspaper reports are appalling, according to internet users.


    March 10, 2010 at 6:50 pm

  5. Can’t see what all the fuss is about, she should think herself lucky they don’t burn old tyres instead like what happens anywhere in Essex…


    March 11, 2010 at 9:54 am

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