When the House talked turkey yesterday it was as though all our Christmases had come at once.
How the Brazilian turkey question (I forget quite what it is) made our MPs flock and gobble. The Tory MP Richard Bacon, driven by some ancestral culinary force, rose to speak. Bacon on turkey is pretty well inevitable. He demanded new roles for our Customs. Unless he meant new customs for our rolls. But then turkey rolls with bacon is an old Bernard Matthews custom. Unless Mr Bacon meant bread rolls in which case Norman Baker was to provide them. You may have thought the bacon would have been better coming off the back of Douglas Hogg.
But nothing could have improved the conclusion of the debate except David Curry – and Mr Curry was not only there but he finished the question. Turkey always finishes up in curries, it's all you can do with it in the end. It was as well Sir Michael Spicer was there to put the heat in.
That's enough of that. A moment of foolish pleasure among the general horror of question time yesterday. The turkeys put us in such a good mood that we must record the fact that Margaret Beckett looks very pretty in pink. And it seems to be possible, I don't know why, that we can extend this good humour to her answer on the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy.
A Liberal Democrat asked her how it was going, the intergovernmental reform of this genocidal policy. She said "extensive talks had taken place, there had been extensive dialogue as to concerns about the proposals, and at the meeting, next week I think, there will be, er, further extensive talks". We make Third World countries privatise their utilities and open up their markets to our multinationals – and then we refuse to allow their foodstuffs to be sold in our markets. Many people die as a result. Millions, probably, over the years, in ditches with rotten dogs.
On a lighter note: cormorants. A £50,000 research project has been undertaken to observe fish-eating birds to help develop strategies to manage fisheries. Martin Salter got quite peppery about it: "It's no surprise to anglers or taxpayers that cormorants eat fish!" he scoffed. "The point is: what are we going to do to protect stocks!" A Tory heckled: "Hunt them with dogs!" Sea dogs, presumably.
An MP from Northern Ireland suggested a culling season. He may have said "killing" season. It sounds the same in Ulster, and means the same, indeed. But it doesn't sound very nice. My dear old dad used to describe an old form of execution in Belfast. A condemned man would be floated out into the loch with a fish tied to his hat. A cormorant would dive from a great height and spear the fish, smashing its beak straight through the man's brain pan. Poor cormorant!
Elliot Morley thought "poor cormorant!" as well. He suggested there were other, non-lethal ways of addressing the problem. He's right. Cormorant behaviour is formed by the pressures of their environment, of deprivation, of victimisation, of exclusion, of biological stereotyping. The Government must act!Reuse content