Westminster Times
Westminster Times (Reuters)

Why is it that Britain's wildlife seems so determined to outwit the country's politicians?

Only last week the environment secretary Owen Patterson claimed the cull of badgers need to be extended because "the badgers have moved the goalposts".

Now, it appears the last Labour government's hugely controversial fox-hunting ban needs to be weakened - presumably because the foxes have moved the goalposts.

The prime minister, we are told, continues to "have sympathy" with the view of farmers and others who see the issue as one of pest control, and he may support any attempt to give MPs a free vote on amending the existing ban - although it seems unlikely he will bring forward any changes himself.

The prime minister used to hunt stags, of course, and journalist and author Bruce Anderson once wrote Cameron was "an excellent shot", adding "shooting is a form of complete relaxation, and if you are Prime Minister and want to switch off it is perfect".

Now there is an idea - prime ministerial shooting parties aimed at culling badgers and foxes. Perfect. So long as the pesky animals don't move the goalposts again and, for example, move into the city. As if.

Bojo vs Osbo

By sheer coincidence (if you believe in coincidence) the two top contenders for the future Tory leadership, Boris "Bojo" Johnson and George "Osbo" Osborne have turned up in China at the same time, batting for Britain.

Presumably, whoever comes back with the biggest investment announcement wins.

But imagine Osborne's irritation when asked by a group of Chinese students at Peking University which of them was in charge.

Boris' answer was, well, typically Boris: "It is a nest of singing birds is how I would describe it. It's total harmony, there's probably some Chinese expression that completely perfectly culminates it."

Osborne ventured that they were like: "the yin and yang" before remembering that his 10-year-old daughter was learning Mandarin (take that Bojo).

The mop-haired Mayor was not about to have it though. "I have a 16-year-old daughter and she is not only learning Mandarin, George, she's coming here next week to pursue her studies." Game, set and match.

This entire pantomime must have left the locals bemused. They have a much more efficient way of selecting their leaders. Come to think of it, it is very similar to the way the old Tory party used to let its leaders "emerge".

Whip hand

Spare a thought for former Tory whip John Randall who was last week reshuffled out of his job, and his office, by David Cameron.

As he made his way into work at the start of the week, he tweeted: "I must remember not to go to my old desk this morning, nearly did it twice last week. Switch off the automatic pilot."

It used to be said that you knew you had lost your government privileges when you got into the back of a car and it didn't drive away.

On the other hand

Needless to say, it is very different when your career has gone the other way.

The day after Tristram Hunt was elevated in Ed Miliband's reshuffle he joined the usual queue of members of staff etc for an early morning coffee in Westminster's Portcullis House.

Within moments a waitress had appeared as if from nowhere to quietly whisper in his ear that he no longer had to wait with the rest of us. He was discreetly whisked away to a more appropriate facility where there was no queue.

Oh the power of office, it could go to your head.

The Mirror Cracked

The annual refurbishments of the palace of Westminster saw some notable changes this year, particularly in the MPs' favourite watering hole, Strangers bar.

The bar top itself has virtually doubled in width, meaning, when it is busy, staff members have to lean across to hear what customers are ordering.

And a large mirror was placed behind the serving area, giving customers a clear view of themselves while ordering.

Exactly what the purpose of these improvements was remains a bit of a mystery.

And, predictably, within a day of the new mirror being erected, a large crack appeared. Within two days there was a second crack.

And by the end of this week customers expect to be looking at a blank wall.