Soapbox: Questionnaires, Tory budget & Animal sentience

Jack Coles, Joe Holloran & Mhairi McGee have their say on the issues of the week

Jack Coles
4th December 2017
Comment's home of rants: weird, wonderful, weekly.

Usually, I’m perfectly happy to write an answer for an online interview. Hell, I write excessive amounts of stuff on a regular basis anyway, so I might as well put it to good use for a bit of futureproofing.

Every now and then, though, you get a question that throws a bit of a curveball. Even Newcastle University hit me with “what was the last thing you learnt from somebody younger than you”, many years ago.

The silliest one I’ve ever seen was “what inspires you most about our products” from a yoghurt manufacturer. I mean, I like yoghurt. But I’m not going to bow to it three times a day and recite the Lord’s Prayer. I don’t have a picture of it on my bedroom wall. And I’m certainly not going to write 1,000 words on the subject. I think I’ll focus on my studies, thank-you very much.

Jack Coles

The ‘fair future’ budget unveiled by Chancellor of the Exchequer, the before picture in every anti-depressant advert, Phillip Hammond on 22nd November, guaranteed four more years of austerity, public sector cuts and a lack of investment for future industry. So, the non-Tory loyal public naturally looks to the opposition party for their views and their plans. Unfortunately, doing so requires listening to John McDonnell.

McDonnell is a problem for Labour going forward. He is brash, confrontational and condescending to those Labour supporters (like myself), who seek a discussion on economic policy. His numerous public gaffs, and support for questionable figures, both living and dead (Chairman Mao for instance) are also problematic. Perception matters a hell of a lot in politics and McDonnell’s far-left economics and confrontational nature are not going to win over the voters Labour needs.

Labour has reached a critical moment. They need to end the culture of intimidation within the party to those who hold views not held by ideological stalwarts like McDonnell. If Labour truly are the party of the people, then all people’s views should be taken into account.

Joe Holloran

Earlier last week, The Independent released an article headlined ‘MPs refuse to recognise that animals feel pain or emotion in Brexit bill vote’.

The headline has since sparked controversy and confusion as to what exactly the vote meant. Does the controversy not lay in the ongoing debate of animal sentiency itself? Maybe those pigs in Westminster are some sort of anomaly, but scientific research had proved time and time again that animals of all kinds are conscious of the way they feel and have the capacity to feel pain.

As long as we are able to detach ourselves from the animal on our plate, the longer the question of animal sentience will be dismissed. We are all guilty of selective compassion, and whilst many are understandably uncomfortable with the idea of their pet in pain, they are happy to let a butcher or a scientist loose on an equally sentient being.

Mhairi McGee

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