It's one of those weeks where the weather can't make up its mind, which gives me an opportunity to write an overdue Blog entry.
Where some of you may have seen me flying around for Heart FM on Monday with a competition banner, I've a more challenging one to tow around in two weeks; a £2 million cheque! Quite how the winner is going to bank a digital cheque image 15 feet fight by 25 feet wide I don't know but I'm sure it will come as a pleasant surprise when it appears overhead.
There is that temptation to change the name on the cheque and keep on flying towards Europe but I think they might catch up with me or cancel it before I got too far!
Thanet District Council, which is as unhappy about the animal export trade as the public it represents, has now taken the highest legal advice on the subject. The opinion it has received, is that it may not lawfully ban live animal exports from the Port of Ramsgate on moral grounds, on animal welfare grounds, on Port bye-law grounds or even on 'sentient being' grounds. ( a completely specious argument proposed by the local Labour group)
I'm told that the only recognised grounds for refusal, lies with capacity and unfortunately, in regard to this particular argument, there is lots of that to be found at the Port of Ramsgate.
Going back to what I wrote a week ago, what we do know is that the UK courts have ruled that a ban on live animal exports imposed by the Dover Harbour Board was unlawful and that in a separate private law case, Dover Harbour Board was ordered to pay damages to the trade for loss of profits.
The legal advice does suggest, that the EU institutions and/or national governments could further legislate in this area on animal welfare grounds; the responsibility lying with DEFRA. However, this would require sustained lobbying of both the European parliament and our own national parliament.
So while I see councillors united in their opposition to this awful trade, I would ask people, if they are going to protest, direct their efforts and voices through their MPs and MEPs towards lobbying the national institutions that can make a difference rather than attack local government, both here and elsewhere, which is shown to be powerless to prevent the awful trade under the law.
Read the council's own press release on the subject here.