Foot and Mouth

 Back to the start of
 our Tourism Guide.

Background to the crisis: a personal view

We have now seen Henry McLeish (Labour), the Scottish First Minister, and Sean Connery (007) making valiant efforts to convince the United States of America that Scotland is very much open for tourists and that there is no danger. It's about time as before that political awareness of tourism was notably absent, so good for Sean to take advantage of his William Wallace award ceremonial.

 Political Swansong
 Or nest feathering?

While Foot and Mouth was becoming so rampant in Britain, we had Tony Blair (New Labour) in the US paying Tribute to new and old, Bush and Clinton, instead of taking action at home. There was Hague (Conservative) the buffoon (a very funny one all the same) who nobody would trust as leader let alone in a crisis, making political capital out of whether Blair should postpone the general election. I'm sure all suffering, isolated and barricaded farmers, and the many many businesses in and out of tourism already counting losses could really give a hoot. There was one of the Liberal Democrats arguing that the Agriculture Ministry should be abolished in the middle of the crisis it was only just starting to get a hand on. Salmond resigned as leader of the Scottish Nationalists last year, and the new guy is new faceless and shows it, so they escape this time. UseNet has it that in New Zealand and Canada they were banning beef imports from Britain last December - specifically against foot and mouth, and that our beloved Government knew all about it. Conspiracies abound on the Internet, but this one is quite possibly true.

Giles was one of the best cartoonists Britain ever had, and his cartoons are still one of the best historical portrayals of history as it happened, but as Giles Junior said many years ago "if I was old enough to vote I wouldn't vote for anyone old enough to vote". These politicans didn't even visit Cumbria in England, worst affected by the outbreak, until more than a month after it started. A farmer's leader from Cumbria summed it up best on TV: "they should have stayed away, and kept their political nonsense away with them".

As for what Foot and Mouth is I have no real idea, except that having read the James Herriot vet books years ago, I knew it was a serious problem for the farming industry from the beginning, as did most normal people. At that it seems we knew more than those people, experts and leaders, whose very responsibility it was to understand and deal with this disease brutally, but swiftly. They failed.

Our hearts go out to the Farmers who are suffering so sadly during this outbreak, and after.

* * * * * Article by Scot Nettie. 6th April 2001 * * * * *

Article update - a slaughterman shows symptoms of Foot and Mouth.

Supposedly this is rare and the slaughterman had actual contact with a diseased animal. There was one similar case during the last outbreak in 1967, where the person suffered from blisters for some time, minor, but with some fright at the uncertain ordeal. There are very few cases worldwide - about 40.

Later update - false alarm - story sold to newspaper.

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