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Nick Booth: Cecil the Lion is a male chauvinist pig. How New Labour’s finest would defend the dreadful dentist


Walt Palmer, the big game hunter, is getting some bad press for slaughtering an endangered species for fun. With his nice teeth, his undoubtedly high disposable income and his penchant for savagery, he would make a perfect client for Tony Blair. He’d complement the existing portfolio perfectly.

How would Tony and Alistair Campbell (the most successful Labour politicians ever) handle this man’s crisis?

With New Labour in decline, would it be worth reminding ourselves what we’ll soon be missing. It seems only yesterday that thousands would turn up at a public appearance or a book signing by either of these two. But now the public seems to have lost its taste for them. We’ve suddenly realized how tasteless they are and we can see through their contrived conviviality. They’re the Smashy and Nicey of politics.

Having said that, they still have a lot of old mates in broadcasting.  Campbell – the lairy scornflake – only has to pitch up at the Channel Four studios and he’s given instant access to the airwaves. “Well look who’s blown in the studio,” grave-dodging news jock Jon Snow would announce to listeners, live on Channel 4 News, “it’s me old mate Alistair Campbell. Are you and Tony befriending any more despots?”

“Not ‘alf,” Campbell would say.

[Don’t laugh, Alistair Campbell did actually turn up uninvited to take over Channel 4 News to give his own account of the Iraq War. At the end Jon Snow crossed the room and meekly shook the bully’s hand. As Dave Lee Travesty might say, what a pilchard!]

Having found a channel for their new messages, would sort of spin would Ali and Tony send out?

As a rich American who killed one of the few remaining examples of a cherished endangered species, for his own amusement, Walt Palmer might be too despicable to defend. Even for Tony Blair. Tactics would have to switch to targeting the (so-called) victim.

So I expect we’d soon be hearing all kinds of briefings against poor old Cecil the Lion. Perhaps he was demonstrably pro hunting. He didn’t contribute to the food gathering and child raising work – leaving that to the lionesses – and yet he infrequently took a disproportionately high reward – the lion’s share! – for all the pack’s efforts.

Cecil was no angel, let’s be clear. He was pretty quiet on the environment too. Probably a shy Tory – no, make that climate denier. Extrapolating from that, sources close to the jungle say they never heard him express any enthusiasm for a single European state. He didn’t even own any euros.

In short, Walt Palmer, the misunderstood big cat population manager, and dentist, has had his name blackened by ‘the Establishment’. It’s Britain that’s the real terrorist.

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Nick Booth
Nick Booth
Nick Booth is a freelance writer.

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