Wednesday, 26 December 2012

The Huntsman Blows His Bugle Horn

And so another Boxing Day comes round.

The hunting ban has never commanded popular support. Most people could not care less. And among those who could (massively concentrated, on both sides, in rural communities), opinion is still overwhelmingly opposed to the ban, i.e., in favour of the safety of the sheep and poultry whom most anti-hunt types still want to eat, and in favour of killing far fewer foxes, by far more humane methods, than the ban compels. Doubtless, the anti-shooting people will yesterday have stuffed themselves with broiler turkey.

The hunting ban, and this can never be said too often, was the means by which Tony Blair and Hilary Armstrong (who went on to oppose it) cajoled disgraceful Labour MPs into voting in favour of the Iraq War. Many things need to be done in order to break definitively with that wicked period. One of those things is the repeal of what is in any case a ludicrous piece of unenforced, because unenforceable, legislation.

This Boxing Day as last, economic growth is a distant memory. Wealth inequality is greater than at any other time since records began. Social mobility had not only ceased, but remains dramatically in reverse, as it has been continuously since 1979. The war in Afghanistan drones on.

But never mind. At least the red-coated toffs have been knocked off their horses, so high a priority for Attlee, Bevin, Morrison, Bevan and Gaitskell. Except, of course, that it was not, and that they have not been, nor should they be.

Meanwhile, consider quite how right-wing anti-hunting Conservatives, who were enough to deliver a majority for a ban in the Major years until parliamentary procedures were used to stop them, have always tended to be on every other issue: Alan Clark, Ann Widdecombe, Sir Teddy Taylor, Sir Roger Gale, the late Sir Anthony Beaumont-Dark, and so on.

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