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150712mccartneyhunting

It’s funny, the way even high-profile figures can get the wrong end of the stick.

Paul McCartney, for example, has warned the Conservative Party that it could lose the support of the UK electorate if a free vote next week results in the re-legalisation of fox hunting.

Perhaps someone should remind him that the Conservatives have a wafer-thin majority of just 12 MPs; six by-elections and they’re impotent.

In fact, even with this vote they are playing dirty. Knowing that a free vote to repeal the Hunting Act will not win enough support, David Cameron and his friends have worked out that they could restore hunting by bringing the law in England and Wales in line with that in Scotland. The SNP’s 56 MPs would not be able to vote against this in good faith, and will probably abstain, leaving the Tories with a majority of around 50 (believe it or not, there are Conservatives who oppose hunting).

Cameron absolutely cannot rely on the support of the electorate: His party won only 24.3 per cent of the available vote at the general election in May, making his government one of the least democratic in our history. And polls have consistently shown that a clear majority of the British people want the barbaric practice of hunting foxes with hounds to remain illegal – more than 50 per cent of us.

Macca, 73, has spent decades campaigning for animal rights. He said: “The vast majority of us will be against them [the Conservatives] if hunting is reintroduced. It is cruel and unnecessary and will lose them support from ordinary people and animal lovers like myself.”

“Inexcusable”

Fellow musician Brian May has been far more outspoken; he accused supporters of next week’s vote of being “a bunch of lying bastards” on the BBC’s Newsnight programme last Thursday.

Some mouthpiece for the hunt-supporting Countryside Alliance had been on, spouting the usual tripe: “This is about addressing exemptions in the Act, which were agreed by both sides when the Act was going through, for pest control reasons, for catching a diseased or wounded animal or something like that.”

Dr May responded: “It’s a very underhand act I’m afraid, because Cameron for years has promised a free vote – a fair fight on the repeal of the Hunting Act.

“He has now realised that this probably won’t end up with what he wants so this whole thing has been put together by circumventing the normal democratic process.

“So you introduce a little modification to an Act but this modification actually disables the whole Hunting Act and effectively this is repeal under a new name. I think this is a very Machiavellian and rather inexcusable way of behaving.

“I believe it’s a pretence. I think you’re a bunch of lying bastards.”

Here he is saying it, at around 5 minutes, 40 seconds in:

Other notable celebrity opponents include Ricky Gervais, who tweeted:

150712gervaisfoxhunting

In fact, it seems the mouthpiece from the Countryside Alliance has shown us the way forward.

This Writer cannot imagine why a wounded animal would need to be “removed” by a hunting pack; in the wild, the law of natural selection would probably see that it is “removed” without human interference.

And if this is about pest control – removing a diseased animal so it cannot spread an infection – then it should be necessary for the hunters to prove any fox was diseased before they set the dogs after it.

This leads to a further question about epidemic: If hounds are sent after a diseased fox, won’t they catch and spread the illness themselves?

Perhaps the Tories – and their Countryside Alliance co-conspirators – should be made to answer these questions before any change in the law is considered.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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