"1566 seems very recent, but the hedgehog was around before then"
May 24, 2019 5:09 PM   Subscribe

"It was around before this Parliament. The hedgehog, and its ancestor, narrowly missed being crushed under the foot of Tyrannosaurus rex. The hedgehog was around long before the human species. It tells us a great deal about British civilisation that my hon. Friend has raised the subject, because the hedgehog is a magical creature. It is a creature that appears on cylinder seals in Sumeria, bent backwards on the prows of Egyptian ships..."

The other Eton UK Prime Ministerial contender, royal tutor, diplomat, nomad, MP Rory Stewart led the first Parliamentary debate in 500 years on hedge hogs in 2015, opening with a 13 minute speech on the hedge hogs place in Britain's ecology and national life.
posted by Damienmce (19 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
 
I am impressed by the dignity of that one tired politician who is attempting to become horizontal in his slovenly clothes in the foreground.
posted by twoplussix at 9:58 PM on May 24


As an American just let me say just how weird it is to think that there are actually hedgehogs wandering around freely in UK. It is hard to even imagine such a thing.
posted by eye of newt at 11:00 PM on May 24 [4 favorites]


We have hedgehogs in our garden at night. They like Whiskas.
posted by pracowity at 12:43 AM on May 25 [6 favorites]


Hansard.
posted by pracowity at 12:45 AM on May 25 [2 favorites]


Does anybody have the context for this? How did hedgehogs come to be a topic that day? Why is the room so empty? Was something accomplished by this rhetorical tour-de-force?

He is a fantastic speaker and now I want to read his book about walking across Afghanistan.
posted by dum spiro spero at 12:49 AM on May 25 [1 favorite]


Does anybody have the context for this? - See the transcript I linked above and item one of 4 Ridiculous Things Actually Suggested in Parliament.

Why is the room so empty? - It was 7:00 PM, Tuesday, November 10, the day before a national holiday. Those who had not taken Monday and Tuesday off entirely probably had decided not to stay late at work to talk about hedgehogs or anything else when they could start their mid-week break or get themselves ready for the ceremonial duties that sometimes fall to politicians on a holiday like that.
posted by pracowity at 1:42 AM on May 25 [3 favorites]


In our admiration for this fine speech, let's not forget Rory Stewart's previous contribution to a debate on badgers:

Oliver Colvile: What assessment has my hon. Friend made of the damage that badgers do to hedgehogs? Will he join my campaign to try to protect the hedgehog?

Rory Stewart: A national hedgehog survey is currently being conducted, looking at exactly this issue. As the hon. Gentleman has pointed out, in relation to hedgehogs badgers are not a black-and-white issue.

Mr Speaker: Order.

posted by verstegan at 1:43 AM on May 25 [17 favorites]


because the hedgehog is a magical creature.

Yes, it is.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:13 AM on May 25 [1 favorite]


He says that the last time it was mentioned was in 1566 when there was a bounty per hedgehog across the united kingdom.
But surely the united kingdom wasn't a thing till 1707?
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 6:52 AM on May 25 [2 favorites]


dum spiro spero- I highly recommend Rory Stewart's book. It's a great read. I came across my copy while cleaning last month and I had wondered what he was up to and if he had written anything new, but now I know.
posted by arachnidette at 8:31 AM on May 25




Ian Dunt on Twitter:
I am going to spend the leadership contest thinking a) it's a shame Rory Stewart isn't doing better and b) I hope Rory Stewart doesn't get it because Brexit would ruin him just like the others.
posted by Pallas Athena at 10:00 AM on May 25


To be honest the New Yorker profile made him sound like a gigantic ass.
posted by um at 10:03 AM on May 25


Brian May is a fan of hedgehogs, which makes them OK with me.
posted by TedW at 10:58 AM on May 25 [1 favorite]


As an American just let me say just how weird it is to think that there are actually hedgehogs wandering around freely in UK. It is hard to even imagine such a thing.

And vice versa. When the internet led to the first videos circulating of Americans holding little hedgehogs in their hands, there was a lot of "Have you heard?!!! Apparently Americans keep hedgehogs as PETS!!! I know!!! So bizarrrrre!" etc. etc.

While people here do have a great affection for them and will put food out for them in the garden, they're also kind of thought of as having big flea problems, which, in addition to the spikiness, makes it just seem mind-boggling that anyone would even consider having one as a pet.
posted by penguin pie at 1:44 PM on May 25 [1 favorite]


As an American just let me say just how weird it is to think that there are actually hedgehogs wandering around freely in UK. It is hard to even imagine such a thing.

My God, do you keep them in hedgehog prisons?

We had one grumbling around our garden last year. I'd heard that hedgehogs are partial to a bit of cheese, so I broke off a chunk of cheddar for a lovely treat, and because I thought that approaching the hedgehog might startle it, I gently tossed the cheese to land near it.

Only it didn't. The chunk of cheese was more aerodynamic than I'd anticipated, and it landed...on the back of the hedgehog. Which then ran off, cheese on its spikes, like a mobile 1970s wedding buffet.

I felt bad. Also it was too quick for me to throw a cube of pineapple on too.
posted by reynir at 1:49 PM on May 25 [19 favorites]


My God, do you keep them in hedgehog prisons?

They have been exiled from America, and specifically from Georgia, Pennsylvania, New York City, California, and Hawaii.

They know what they did.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 3:57 PM on May 25 [4 favorites]


When I was 12 I won our school speech competition about this very subject. Oddly, I am not yet an MP. I can, however, still recall the following startling factoids:

Hedgehogs in NZ come from a single breeding pair which arrived in Lyttleton in 1894

Hedgehogs can jump 2-3 times their own height

Hedgehogs have more fleas per square centimeter than any other animal. They are hedgehog specific fleas and thus won't enflea household pets.

Hedgehogs' natural enemy is the car.

Hedgehogs have been around for 19 million years

Thank you.
posted by Sparx at 9:41 PM on May 26 [3 favorites]


From what I'm reading in the papers, our friend of the hedgehogs is doing better than expected in the Tory leadership race.
posted by clawsoon at 9:21 PM on June 13


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