MPs bizarre words strictly for the birds

5th November 2004 at 00:00
There was a certain, shall we say, "stream-of-consciousness" quality to Labour MP Dr Ian Gibson's introduction to a Commons debate late Monday night about school trips. "There seems to be a conspiracy among the authors and authoresses of school textbooks that publish information that is never close to being interesting," the great man bellowed.

"There are of course exceptions. The writers believe in formula, which dulls interesting phenomena such as climate change and questions such as why are there seasons. The mists, why? The storms, why? And why do birds know the prospects of weather change even more sharply than Penny Tranter or even Michael Fish? If I want to know the weather I watch the birds rather than the BBC or ITV. Do people really contemplate the planet we live on? Are we mystified about where we come from? The Queen is worried about climate change. Did hobbits with small brains once roam the earth? Other questions include, how did the Norfolk broads form..?" Had it been a long day for the good doctor? He insists his unusual speech was an effort at "pure romanticism".

Email us:

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today