Isn’t it interesting, how legislators can always quote ‘legitimate concerns’ of interested parties when they want to stop something – or (in this case) bring it back?
Here in Mid Wales, the county council used to clamp down hard on outdoor musical events, claiming that members had received “a complaint”.
Now the Conservative Government is to hold a vote on a Statutory Instrument (not primary legislation) that would bring back fox hunting, using a backdoor route that would put England and Wales “in line” with Scotland. The pretext? “Responding to the legitimate concerns” of hill farmers.
Would these hill farmers be Conservative voters? Perhaps even Tory MPs?
It’s interesting that this attempt to bypass the Hunting Act – by bringing it in line with the law in Scotland – puts the SNP in a difficult position once again.
Remember when ScotsNat supporters bombarded This Blog with outrage at the suggestion that their MPs should vote on the proposed repeal of the Hunting Act, back in May? Their attitude was that they had a hunting ban in Scotland and the SNP had principles which mean they should not vote on “English-only” matters (never mind that the “English-only” act also affects people in Wales. Wales doesn’t count, apparently).
It turns out the Scottish hunting ban is less effective – and therefore more barbaric – than the ban in England (and Wales); whereas, south of the border, foxes may be flushed out and killed for “pest control” reasons using a maximum of two dogs, there is no limit on the number of dogs that can be used in Scotland. For “pest control” purposes, foxes may be hunted by packs of dogs.
What is the SNP going to do about this? It brings the law south of the border in line with their own. The best we can expect from them is an abstention, allowing the de facto return of the barbaric blood sport that has been banned for the last decade.
Perhaps they should have strengthened their own hunting ban, rather than whining about having to vote on everybody else’s.
What’s the betting that, if the vote is passed, huge organisations of “pest controllers” will meet every Sunday, dolled up in red coats, to send their equally huge packs of dogs out “pest controlling” all over the countryside?
This Writer reckons it’s a certainty.
The Countryside Alliance has supported the proposal (quelle surprise): “These amendments will bring the law in to line with Scotland and ensure that farmers are able to choose how to manage the fox population in the most effective and humane manner,” said Tim Bonner, its head of campaigns.
Here’s comedian Robin Ince’s response to that attitude:
And celebrity wildlife protector Brian May stated, on his website: “If this SI measure is to be used to bring back legalised abuse of foxes, it means the Government have decided that the goodwill of the Countryside Alliance is more important to them than the will of the British Public.
“Historically, Statutory Instruments have only been used to make a minor modification to a law in a non-controversial way. The idea that this device could be used to circumvent the will of the majority of the English people is actually an outrage, and will be viewed by all decent folks as disgraceful conduct by any government, and an abuse of Parliamentary procedures.”
Fox hunting is fox hunting, no matter what label you attach to it. This is just a filthy little underhanded trick to neutralise the SNP.
Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike
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