We talk a lot at the Opinion Festival about the need to be inclusive and open, and to allow all views from all sides of the debate. But what about dogs?
Pets represent one area of society that frequently goes unheard. Maybe it’s because we don’t speak their language as well as we should, but they demand to be treated as an equal part of discussions.
We have covered in previous years how the pets of the Opinion Festival turn out in style and often look better-dressed than their owners. This time, the stakes got raised. James, you see, is a dalmatian whose reputation goes before him. His story is the stuff of legend. Having escaped the clutches of Cruella de Vil, along with his 100 siblings, James decided to strike out solo, and emigrated to Estonia, where he is owned by Kelly.
Here, it would appear the debonair canine has become something of a celebrity, having, like all the most famous people, his own social media hashtag, #DalmatianJames . It’s for this reason that the Opinion Festival blog decided to catch up with the dog of the moment, to find out what he had enjoyed most about the Opinion Festival, and what could be improved.
“I’d say it’s all been really well organised,” James told us, “especially the street food. I shouldn’t eat hamburgers – they’re bad for my digestive system in big portions – but I took my chance to try a bit from Hungry Karl, and I wasn’t disappointed. I also took the opportunity to let Jevgeni Ossinovski and Hanno Pevkur know my views on the need for the state to subsidise doggy-treats. Ossinovski said it wasn’t part of the present government programme, but both politicians seemed to understand my point of view, which was good.”
James was equally forthright on his favourite festival stand from the Opinion Festival 2017. “I have to give full marks to the designers of the stand made from sustainable mushrooms (below). It was incredibly well-made, and I love hunting for mushrooms, so it felt like I was running round the forest, while watching a debate take place.”
At the time of writing, James was barking loudly at the sky, seemingly angry that an act of force majeure had caused his favourite part of the Opinion Festival, the party leaders’ debate, to be delayed and then acted out under a thunderstorm. Storms aren’t his thing, frankly. Still, with the profile he is swiftly building, a position in the cabinet after the next reshuffle looks to be a formality.