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How did he keep a straight face?

Whoever would have thought that there would be a Minister for Biodiversity, Landscape and Rural Affairs? But there is, and he is Barry Gardiner, who represents the Arcadia that is Brent North, and he has put his name to an unintentionally hilarious (OK, mildly amusing) press release at Pravda Central, entitled without a jot of hyperbole, "England's trees key to future wellbeing". Yes, really. Perhaps our Celtic neighbours think other factors are more important?

This, I think, is the best bit: "We have a vision of what we want England's trees, woods and forests to look like in the years to come". Erm, green? Leafy?

Although there is plenty more that is risible: "Trees and woodlands make a big difference to the quality of people's lives, enhancing where they live and work, so people must be able to get involved in planning and caring for them too. What we want to see is the right trees in the right places, where they can contribute most in terms of environmental, economic and social benefits". Perhaps this is a kite flying exercise for another yet scheme to get Brian Haw out of Parliament Square - "Sorry Brian, but we need to plant some beech trees in order to 'make a big difference to the quality of people's lives', so you'd best be on your way".

Bringing it all back home for Bazza himself, perhaps Wembley stadium needs to be knocked down and replaced with row upon row of aspens.

I think he should have quoted Stevie Wonder's 'Tree Medley':

"Tree - you are the longest living one we know
the largest of all plants and still you grow
Tree - within your branches there's such history
so much of what we're searching for to know"

(Now with puns and other japery in the comments thread)

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Blogger The Hitch said... 11:45 am

And to think that these fuckers have a right to life.
I despair  

Blogger jungle jane said... 12:33 pm

If they were practising true biodiversity they would have appointed a tree as the Minister...  

Blogger Croydonian said... 12:39 pm

JJ - Fir enough.  

Blogger Nick Drew said... 12:53 pm

Suppressing the instinct to follow C down that broad avenue of puns: are we sure this isn't deep satire or, even more interestingly, immigration policy being conducted in code? Take this central tenet of the *tree* policy propounded by *Gardiner* (hah):

What we want to see is the right trees in the right places, where they can contribute most in terms of environmental, economic and social benefits

So - shall we ask whether only those *trees* that contribute economically will be allowed to *take root*? What will happen to *trees* that stubbornly refuse to move to the *right places*? What is the minister's policy on *trees* bringing in *Dutch Elm Disease*? And what shall be done about the vexed issue of *wrong trees* ...?  

Blogger Croydonian said... 1:03 pm

Nick - there's only one possibility for wrong trees: bring back the birch. That would be poplar.  

Blogger Nick Drew said... 1:15 pm

Only a dogwood post a comment like that, C: you are consigned to a dark place forthwith  

Anonymous Nomad said... 1:16 pm

Given this portfolio, one can only assume you have mis-spelled his surname, which should surely be Gardener?

As you rather older contributors will doubtless recall, in the 1940s Paul Robeson (and a number of swing bands) used to perform a pleasant number called Trees. As I recall the opening words were something along the lines of: "I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree."

No doubt these lyrics can be found somewhere on the net for those of a woody bent.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 1:19 pm

ND - that's just what yew think. Back in your box sir.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 1:24 pm

I wonder if John Maples has his eye on this portfolio, come The Day?  

Blogger Nick Drew said... 2:06 pm

See what happens, I make a perfectly serious comment ...

I pine for the days when this blog occupied a higher plane  

Anonymous Nomad said... 2:17 pm

Fir crying out loud! Leaf it out...  

Blogger Croydonian said... 2:30 pm

Nick - my apologies. I really tried to cypress my weakness for puns. Maybe I should not have logged on this morning.  

Blogger Nick Drew said... 2:44 pm

I baulk at the thought of taking this further.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 2:49 pm

If no one else wants to stick his or her neck out, a root and branch investigation into this will commence....  

Blogger Praguetory said... 3:36 pm

Poor old Bazza's in the treehouse over this one but there's no need to prune the debate. Ivy feeling that this could blossom. Has anyone heard from the great Redwood on these matters?  

Blogger Croydonian said... 3:49 pm

Alas no, nor from Bush the Elder. Or, come to that Bush the younger.  

Anonymous verity said... 4:05 pm

Give 'em elm, Nomad!  

Blogger istanbultory said... 6:30 pm

I sense Brent North-phobia in certain quarters. Istanbul Tory is a proud son of Brent North. Actually Brent North is a salubrious kind of place, plenty of green spaces, etc, marred only by the odd drive-by shooting. Alas, English exists only as a second/foreign language for much of the current populace. It was very different in my day. The rare White enclave persists....but I fear it is a constituency lost to the forces of conservatism.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 6:46 pm

IT - Not at all. A good friend of mine (he was my best man and vice versa) hails from a road abutting Northwick Park. It was more an observation that BN is not exactly a rural constituency.  

Blogger Alan Douglas said... 10:17 pm

Paul Robeson ? Nah, it was a poem written by MR Joyce Kilmer :


I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth's flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

By Joyce Kilmer.

The sort of poem thatcries out to be spoofed, and I have done just that 5 or 6 times (bees, please, sneeze etc etc)  

Blogger Croydonian said... 10:34 pm

I think that I shall never see
A billboard lovely as a tree
Perhaps until the billboards fall
I'll never see a tree at all.

I forget who penned that.  

Anonymous Nomad said... 2:24 am

From the desk of Pansy Elderberry-Flower

Ash House
Wood Chippings
Acacias Grove

Dear Holly,

Nice to hear you are still in clover, but do please try not to be so prickly! This is indeed a thorny problem, but you do continue to bark up the wrong tree! Please remove your rose tinted specs.

Only Heather, Daisy and Ivy came for tea yesterday, as both Lily and Marigold are mushrooming in the Black Forest this week, but we are now so confused we are unable to cedar woods fir de trees.

This will nettle some people, but Ma Hogany and I have decided to uproot - or as the younger ones have it - up sticks, pack our trunks and take our leaves before the copse come. The hedge fund will enable us to open either a new small branch or maybe form a splinter group. Please do not grass on us, but we simply cannot teak any more of this wooden torrent of apple-ing pun.dit.tree. Kapeesh? [That is foreign for “yew twig yet?"].



PS: Don’t forget, sequoia practice begins in sevestry at six sharp. Latecomers will be logged.

PPS: Alan. Thanks for your erudite clarification. However, I did not claim Robeson wrote those words, merely that he and others performed them.  

Anonymous Nomad said... 4:23 am

Verity: Punditree rules oakay!

By the way, I still think Mr C has misread the article. According to a lime in today's Grundnia that chap's name is actually Berry Gardener....

And moreover, a single letter change turns humour into humous..  

Blogger hatfield girl said... 7:55 am

Ash down in the cabinet?  

Blogger Croydonian said... 8:57 am

Nomad - crikey, stout work there.

HG - Yes, although only Norn Ireland. I was discussing this with Dizzy just now and we concluded that as ex-pasha of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Ashdown could scarcely be seen as a frontline political figure any more.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 8:59 am

Nomad - you can't go believing everything what you read in The Guardian (including the page numbers). It is indeed Gardiner, as per his web page.  

Anonymous Nomad said... 9:03 am

Mr C: Yes, I actually do realise that! I was merely trying to palm you off with a comment that willow-er the tone of this debate!  

Anonymous Nomad said... 9:44 am

... but it looks like I am flogging a dead horse chestnut..

(sory - inadvertently omitted from my previous note)  

Anonymous verity said... 1:54 pm

Well, when I went to bed last night,I thought this thread was dead wood, but I see the saps are still commenting. Oh well, once more into the beech!  

Anonymous Nomad said... 4:26 am

Verity: It is the different thyme zones which enable us to orchidstrate our comments.  

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