It is a fair bet that Olivia Blake, Labour MP for the Sheffield Hallam constituency, is unlikely to say anything at all during her lifetime that will resonate down the years. She is not alone in this, as most of her fellow parliamentarians whatever their political colour will likewise serve with mediocrity before disappearing into obscurity. The daughter of a Labour peer, Olivia has spent more or less all her adult life steeped in left wing politics to which end she ticks every Woke box possible, being a passionate Pro-EU and LGBQT rights supporter, along with a host of other virtue signalling entities. Despite this and the fact that she didn’t support Keir Starmer’s (as it turns out) successful bid to lead the Labour party, nonetheless the magnanimous Starmer gave her the role of Shadow Minister for Nature, Water and Flooding, in which capacity she recently stood before her colleagues in the House of Commons to share with them and the nation her thoughts on the vexed subject of grouse shooting. That Olivia’s moment in the spotlight had come was owed entirely to the fact that anti-shooting activists having gathered the required level of support for it, the House of Commons was required to debate the topic. Perhaps mindful that they had done exactly the same thing a few years ago, few members of the House bothered to attend, which is a pity for those that did would have had the opportunity to see writ large in front of them the living proof of the words of one politician who was far from mediocre and is in no way lost to obscurity. It was Abraham Lincoln who warned: “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt”. Ah, would that Olivia in her excitement to opine on the topic had heeded those words, but alas the Shadow Minister for Nature, Water and Flooding did not and thus ill-briefed and ill-equipped she plunged in headfirst. According to Olivia grouse are bred for the purpose of shooting. They are not. Grouse shooting is deregulated. It is not. Most grouse do not end up on the dinner table. They do. Over the eight minutes she spoke the inaccuracies piled up. Perhaps fortunately or perhaps not as most of those listening knew even less about the topic than Olivia, no one intervened to put her right.
The ones we feel sorry for are those souls who for whatever reason sign online petitions of this sort. Although most are made up of left of centre townies who never venture beyond the echo chamber of social media, there will be some who hold sincere and well-informed views which lead them to oppose grouse and other forms of shooting. These people also believe in the parliamentary process by which information and opinions are sought through debate and which in time may result in legislation. That they should then be represented by a thirty-year-old duffer with no experience of the portfolio she has been given and who could not be bothered to acquaint herself with the facts of the subject about which she has chosen to speak is just an insult to them and to us all.