The badger cull has absolutely nothing to do with TB. It never did have and never will have. Don’t get me wrong here, the TB issue provides the necessary leverage, and the government would gain nothing from culling badgers without it, but the reality of the TB problem is irrelevant. This has nothing to do with TB and everything to do with politics.
The Tories haven’t exactly been gaining favour among their traditional audience. Their massacre of the welfare state has brought considerably more support from right-libertarians than it has from traditional conservatives, most of whom support the NHS and the police, if not the benefits system. In terms of their social policy, things are even more polarised: a government that has entertained the idea of legalising gay marriage is bound to win favour with city Tories, but bound to lose favour with the old school, country Tories who actually represent a significant proportion of the party base.
There’s signs of some recognition of this, however. The ‘bash a burglar’ law is clearly aimed more at gun-owning country folk than your average flat-dweller and is bound to win support from would-be Tony Martins. In the same way that the massacre of the welfare state represents ‘making tough decisions’, so does the badger cull. In both cases, it is completely irrelevant that the proposed measures are actually incorrect and even counterproductive; it’s all tied in to the fallacy that the ‘tough’ decision must be the right one. It’s that same perverted protestant work ethic that preaches that work and suffering are inherently good, rather than being means to an end; means which should be avoided if the same ends can be achieved more easily. It’s the psychology of busywork.
So it doesn’t matter that the cull will not curb TB infections in cattle. That was never what the government cared about at all. What matters to them is winning the favour of all those farmers who they’ve convinced it is the righteous thing to do.
Think up a plan to cause harm and suffering to others. Invent a positive outcome, but ensure that outcome is unlikely to occur, guaranteeing your political opposition will fight it. Then push it through and lambaste your opposition for being ‘unwilling to make the tough decisions’.
That’s the Tory way.