Once again we see Keir Starmer siding with the Tory government on an issue where they are both wrong.
He wants Geronimo the alpaca to be euthanised because of four-year-old test results for bovine tuberculosis – because that’s what Boris Johnson’s government wants. Starmer has no ideas of his own.
Geronimo was imported from New Zealand to a farm in South Gloucestershire in 2017, after being tested four times for bovine TB. Those tests came back negative.
But when he arrived, owner Helen Macdonald agreed to allow him to be tested with the Enferplex blood test, a voluntary test as part of national surveillance of the disease.
That test produced a positive result, as did a further test in November that year. But there are long-standing concerns about the accuracy of the government’s preferred tests, which have not been allayed by protestations that they are 99 per cent reliable.
Ms Macdonald reckons the tests produced false positives because Geronimo had been ‘primed’ by being injected with bovine tuberculin.
It is not clear to This Writer why this happened. Was it done as part of the New Zealand tests?
The government decided that Geronimo should be euthanised after the 2017 tests but this has been delayed because Ms Macdonald has resisted it in court.
She has just lost her final appeal in the High Court, and the government is expected to carry out its death sentence on the eight-year-old alpaca within 30 days.
This is what’s bothering me: while it is perfectly normal for it to take years for bovine TB symptoms to make themselves felt, it has now been four years since Geronimo’s first positive test.
Shouldn’t he be showing one or two such symptoms by now? (He isn’t.)
And: why is the government so reluctant to give Geronimo another test? Surely it would have been less expensive than all these legal shenanigans? (Believe me – I know how expensive court proceedings can be.)
Given all that, I wonder why Keir Starmer has got involved on the government’s side – or, indeed, at all.
It certainly hasn’t done him any good, as the comments from members of the public show.
Starmer said, “It’s always tragic when it happens. I don’t think we can make an exception in this case.”
His words provoked the following responses:
We finally have a policy from Keir Starmer. It's taken about 15 months but he has stated that he is in favour of killing an alpaca.
— Mark Hebden 💙 (@unionlib) August 11, 2021
Keir Starmer, Llama harmer
— JailTE, Q.C. (@JailTheEnglish) August 11, 2021
As the world burns during a devastating pandemic, politicians in the UK enter fourth day of arguing about an alpaca.
— Have I Got News For You (@haveigotnews) August 12, 2021
More damning still is the – accurate – claim that Starmer could be taking action to oppose the government on other issues, but has chosen instead to support it over Geronimo:
When LOTO speaks up about an alpaca, but not Deportation flights…#DemandANewNormal
— Eastern Ordinary Left (@EasternLeft) August 12, 2021
More people bothered about an alpaca, including politicians, than they are about Priti Patel's deportation policies which are deeply rooted in racism.
— Alex Tiffin (@RespectIsVital) August 11, 2021
These are bad choices by a bad leader.
Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.
Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:
Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.
1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.
2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical
3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/
Join the Vox Political Facebook page.
4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com
And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!
If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!
Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.
The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:
Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:
The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here: