Insights from the UK and beyond
Let’s hear it for the pigs
First they were blamed for the swine flu that caused a worldwide stir after it was discovered in Mexico — and now everyone’s likening them to Members of Parliament with their snouts in the trough.
But look at the facts. The genetic make-up of the virus may have been predominantly porcine but the pigs themselves didn’t have it. Even at the supposed epicentre of the outbreak in Mexico they showed no symptoms — things reached such a state that owners of some pig farms in the US were stopping humans coming near them in case they infected their animals. The pigs were innocent OK?
And yet the name “swine flu” stuck, lots of people stopped eating pork and in Egypt they were even culled.
Now this. The image changes from dirty to greedy as all the cartoonists portray our expenses-hungry MPs as curly-tailed pinstriped pigs, shedding wads of notes from their pockets as they pile into the trough.
Experts say pigs are in fact sociable, clever animals. They clear ground, fertilise it, eat vegetable waste and then make the ultimate sacrifice for our bacon sandwiches.
As the fashion of the moment seems to be saying “sorry” for everything, perhaps we should offer our apologies to the pigs — what about a statue of a Gloucestershire Old Spot on the vacant plinth in Trafalgar Square?