Department of kicking-them-when-they’re-down: The Hunt Saboteurs Association has commented on the upcoming Brecon and Radnorshire by-election, saying that disgraced Tory Chris Davies is a former hunt master who implicated himself in the flouting of the hunting ban when it was imposed by Labour in 2004.
Mr Davies was master of the Banwen miners’ hunt in the Swansea Valley from 1993-99, before moving on to the Golden Valley Hunt on the Welsh borders in 2000.
In 2004 he told the BBC that members of his hunt would break the then-new hunt ban, imposed by the New Labour government – and it was clear that he did not intend to lift a finger to remind them of their legal obligations.
“They are upstanding members of the community who are being turned into criminals. It’s absolutely ludicrous,” he told the BBC at the time.
“These people have probably never even had a parking fine in their lives.”
In 2015 he supported Tory plans for a statutory instrument to weaken the provisions of the Hunting Act, relaxing the law to allow foxes to be hunted by packs of dogs in England and Wales to protect livestock, game birds and wild birds, while “having regard to the terrain” and provided it is “carried out as efficiently as possible”. It was ripe for abuse and David Cameron withdrew it when he realised he could not get enough support in a free vote.
Hunt Saboteurs Association spokesperson Lee Moon said: “It’s hard to think of a less useful member of society than an ex-hunt master, corrupt Tory MP. We hate to kick a man while he’s down but we’ll make an exception in this case.
“Davies is clearly a man who can’t be trusted.
“Whilst master of the Golden Valley Hunt he implicated himself in flouting the Hunting ban and now as a public servant he has deliberately falsified accounts to rip off the public purse.
“It’s testament to the low moral standards of the Conservative Party that they’ve re-selected him for the upcoming by-election and we wanted the Brecon and Radnorshire electorate to know the type of man they’re potentially voting for.”
Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.
Fox hunting has been banned in the UK since 2004 [Image: Getty].
I don’t understand this.
If the National Trust has announced that scent-based hunting will be banned on its land, why is it urging members to oppose a proposal for the same thing?
Is there something going on that we’re not being told?
In any event, why is the National Trust, as an organisation, taking a view on this? Shouldn’t it be a matter for the members?
The National Trust has urged its members to oppose a proposal to ban a form of “trail” fox hunting on its grounds.
Supported by the League Against Cruel Sports and adventurer Sir Ranulph Fiennes, the members’ resolution would stop anyone using the organisation’s land to facilitate trail fox hunting – even if it was only used to exercise the hounds.
The charity has suggested that its four million members reject the proposal at its October annual general meeting, because its first priority should be “to protect conservation and access on our land”.
Although fox hunting was banned in 2004, there are still almost 200 packs participating in “trail hunting”, which sees the scent of a fox artificially laid for hounds to chase.
It is thought around a third of these take place on National Trust land, although it recently announced that scent-based hunting would also be banned.
David Don’t cry about it, David! Cameron whinges after being outflanked by the SNP.
The Conservative Government has responded to the Scottish National Party’s announcement that it will oppose changes to the Hunting Act – by postponing tomorrow’s (Wednesday) ‘free vote’ on the matter.
It seems if MPs are likely to freely vote against David Cameron’s wishes, he’d rather they didn’t vote at all. Someone should tell him, that defeats the point, really!
His tactic – shelving the vote until such time as he believes he has the advantage – copies that of European Parliament President Martin Schulz over the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.
Faced with strong opposition for the part of the proposed TTIP deal that would allow corporations to take legal action against countries if national legislation was likely to affect profits (ISDS – it stands for Investor-State Dispute Settlement) – no matter whether it was in the best interests of the population or not – Schulz shelved a vote that had been scheduled for earlier this year.
The TTIP vote eventually took place last week, overshadowed by the Greek referendum and clouded by political sleight-of-hand that meant important amendments to the agreement like the cancellation of ISDS were not considered – replaced by watered-down options that left the underlying principle of corporate power over nation states intact.
In line with the European Parliament model, you can expect the hunting vote to return to Parliament in a different form, once Cameron and his cronies have worked out another dirty trick to slip it through unopposed.
This week’s vote had been intended to neutralise opposition from the SNP with a claim that it would bring England and Wales in line with the situation in Scotland – but the Scottish Nationalists said they were reviewing the ban north of the border and it would not be right to allow the law in England and Wales to change while that was going on.
The Prime Minister has not taken this with good grace.
Fellow Tory hunt supporter Owen Paterson chimed in to say the SNP had shown “extraordinary hypocrisy” in voting on a matter that affects England but not Scotland, and claimed they were “playing games in order to antagonise the English.”
And SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon had already explained her party’s decision to take part in the hunting vote, saying there had been “overwhelming demand” from people in England.
The English, like the Welsh and the Scots, support the continuation of the hunting ban.
What a shame David Cameron cannot live with that.
Looking forward, we should probably expect fox hunting to return at a point after Cameron manages to force through another controversial plan – English Votes for English Laws (EVEL). He had to shelve that one last week.
Perhaps Ms Sturgeon is right, and he really is “not master of all he surveys in the House of Commons”.
Cameron on the run: The only hunt that the public is likely to support.
UPDATE: David Cameron has withdrawn the planned vote on fox hunting from tomorrow’s (Wednesday) Parliamentary schedule. So much for it being a ‘free’ vote – if he can’t win, he’s not going to let it happen. In fact, his tactic deserves further scrutiny so expect another article shortly.
The Scottish National Party will vote against a bid to relax the fox hunting ban in England and Wales, according to their Westminster leader, Angus Robertson.
David Cameron has been hoping that his announcement of changes, to bring the law in England and Wales in line with that in Scotland, would make it impossible for the SNP’s 56 MPs to oppose them in a debate and free vote tomorrow (Wednesday).
But the Scottish Nationalists, currently in charge of the Scottish Parliament, said they are considering a review of the existing ban north of the border, amid concerns that it is not strong enough.
In that context, Mr Robertson said, it would be in Scotland’s interest for the existing ban in England and Wales to be maintained.
The current version of the proposals, contained in a Statutory Instrument, would relax the law to allow foxes to be hunted by packs of dogs in England and Wales to protect livestock, game birds and wild birds, while “having regard to the terrain” and provided it is “carried out as efficiently as possible”.
Supporters have claimed it would also allow the removal of diseased or wounded foxes – an assertion that provoked anti-hunt supporter Dr Brian May to denounce them as “lying bastards” on the BBC’s Newsnight programme last week.
Mr Robertson said: “The Tory government are refusing to agree to any amendments to improve the Scotland Bill – and imposing English Votes for English Laws to make Scotland’s representation at Westminster second class.
“In these circumstances, it is right and proper that we assert the Scottish interest on fox hunting by voting with Labour against the Tories’ proposals to relax the ban – in the process, reminding an arrogant UK government of just how slender their majority is.”
This is the kind of opposition to the Conservative Government that we need to see.
If the SNP continues in this manner throughout the remainder of the current Parliament, then many of its critics (including This Writer) will be forced to revise their opinion.
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.”
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:
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.
A group of (we suspect) Conservative-supporting, Countryside Alliance-supporting ‘pest controllers’. These have already donned their red-and-white ‘pest control’ overalls and mounted their ‘pest control’ vehicles. They are preparing to deploy their ‘pest control’ apparatus – otherwise known as releasing the hounds.
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.
Do Tory voters really want this idiotic mob rampaging through their streets and backyards after an innocent creature, intending to rip it to shreds? Well, they support “welfare reform”, which isn’t far from the same.
Some of us knew the Scottish Nationalists were more full of wind than bagpipes, but now we’re all seeing the evidence of it.
It seems the 56 members of the SNP who managed to con their countryfolk into electing them to the Westminster Parliament are set to betray the rest of the United Kingdom in the worst possible way – or betray their own “principled” position – over fox hunting.
Everyone in the UK should be aware, by now, that the Conservative Government is planning to repeal the Hunting Act 2004, in which hunting foxes with dogs was banned in England and Wales.
Scotland banned hunting in 2002, therefore supporters of the SNP merrily told the rest of us that the Parliamentary SNP would be holding to its “principled” position, and would be abstaining from the vote on whether to repeal the ban.
This directly contradicts statements made by party leader Nicola Sturgeon that the SNP would represent the interests of all of the UK. Here’s what she said: “If the SNP emerges from this election in a position of influence we will exercise that influence responsibly and constructively, and we will always seek to exercise it in the interests of people not just in Scotland but across the whole of the UK.”
Not only that, but does anybody remember the stink the SNP (amongst others, including notably the Greens) kicked up when the Labour Party abstained from a vote on a moratorium on fracking (in England, not Scotland) in January (this vote was always doomed to failure; Labour was supporting a move to regulate fracking, that would delay any work until after the election)? Or the stench the SNP created over an abstention on a vote (that was actually totally irrelevant) on the Bedroom Tax? These were used very strongly in the run-up to the general election to create the impression that Labour had betrayed the people of the UK and supported the Conservative Party.
In that case, would an abstention on fox hunting not be a similar betrayal of the people of the UK – and support of the Conservatives – by a party that had made a solemn vow to represent the interests of people “not just in Scotland but across the whole of the UK”?
Most people in the UK don’t want the Hunting Act to be scrapped. They don’t want hordes of overprivileged stupids riding roughshod across their property, chasing some poor, innocent little creature that will be ripped to shreds if it is caught. Some of us find that barbaric and abhorrent.
Still, supporters of the SNP made it perfectly clear that they were 100 per cent behind an abstention on the “principled” grounds they had mentioned: That the rest of the UK is a foreign country and it is none of their business; their own ban will not be affected.
Then Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: “The SNP has not yet taken decision on this. We certainly don’t agree with repealing ban.”
Oh! That puts a new complexion on the matter, doesn’t it?
Now they’re damned either way.
If they abstain, they betray Nicola Sturgeon’s promise that the SNP would use its influence “in the interests of people not just in Scotland but across the whole of the UK.”
If they vote, they betray the “principled” position claimed by supporters, that they would not vote on matters that do not affect Scotland.
There is no way out of this dilemma.
Now, can you imagine the torrent of abuse that flowed from SNP supporters on Twitter as this matter was tweeted out on Saturday (May 16)?
Don’t bother; here are some examples received just by this writer.
In this exchange, we see SNP supporters claiming that Scotland is a country completely separate from the UK, implying that SNP MPs voting on fox hunting in England and Wales would be similar to French, German or Luxembourg MPs voting on it (the difference being that those really are separate countries, with no representation in Westminster. The SNP has put MPs there, so it has a duty to vote on legislation there):
Here’s a little more on SNP “principles”, claiming the rest of us don’t understand what they are, along with more about the rUK being a foreign country:
Then there are the person attacks. Here are some milder examples that were aimed at this writer yesterday. Notice that very few have anything to do with the subject at hand:
This one is based on the oft-repeated lie that Labour’s support of the Charter for Budget Responsibility was also support for £30 billion of spending cuts planned by the Conservative Party. There is no mention, in any of the charter’s 20 pages, of any spending cuts at all. The Charter has been available for many months – plenty of time for everyone to read it. Therefore anybody suggesting Labour supported any cuts at all, by supporting the Charter, is a liar – including Oscar Carr.
The SNP is, indeed, to blame for the SNP planning to abstain on the Hunting Act repeal. This Writer isn’t causing problems, though – just bringing them to public attention.
They all know This Writer supports Labour – this was a weak attempt to pour ridicule on that party by association.
This one is absolutely bizarre. One can only posit that this person lost the capacity for rational thought.
Nobody mentioned any “wide spectrum” of SNP supporters; the discussion was focused on those involved in the conversation.
This one seems to think Yr Obdt Srvt tweets for the Labour Party:
Finally, here’s someone who’s a bit confused. Presumably they had read the dialogue and presumed that the Hunting Act under (loose) discussion related only to England, because in a weak bid to attack This Writer, they tweeted:
Yes, Mr Buckley. Welsh MPs will definitely vote on the repeal of the ban on fox hunting in England and Wales.
These are just examples – mild examples – of the personal abuse that comes from SNP supporters when anybody dares to question the actions of their party (apart from the last tweet, which was a mistake, made in a mistaken belief). It was time somebody made this behaviour public.
But will the SNP itself do anything at all to bring its supporters’ behaviour back to acceptable levels of conversation? Or does the SNP revel in it?
After all, what could do more to help the cause of Scottish independence than an impression that Scottish people are insensitive, selfish bullies who’ll do their best to batter opponents into submission by whatever means are available?
Role reversal: Let us hope that Cameron and his thugs won’t have a chance to restore fox hunting next year, and that his political career will be endangered instead.
They’ll say the purpose is to control vermin, but when it comes to hunting foxes with dogs, the only vermin are the Conservatives and their voters who support this.
According to the Daily Torygraph(and others), the Conservative Party election manifesto will include a commitment to a free vote on repealing the ban on hunting with dogs, if the party wins the general election in May next year.
For many of us, this will provide another reason to vote against the Conservatives and anybody who sides with them on this matter.
The fox population should be controlled – this is true – but it has been demonstrated many times that there are many routine ways of achieving this unpleasant necessity.
Only primitive, bloodthirsty, irresponsible barbarians like the Conservatives would want to turn it into a brutal ‘sport’. According to the report, it seems they want to tell us the Hunting Act, which banned it, was “wrong-headed”.
But – oh, look – the manifesto is being written by Oliver Letwin, the man who (allegedly) told us the National Health Service would not exist after five years of a Conservative government.
When it comes to primitive barbarism, he’s got ‘form’.
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