The hunt is on (possibly): Nigel Farage shaking hands with Surrey hunter Mark Bycroft, who had freely admitted punching a protester in the face, with no warning or provocation, at a hunt meet on December 14, 2013.*
It seems UKIP is again pushing the Conservative Party further into the right-wing of politics.
This time, the subject of fox-hunting is rearing its bloodstained head once again. The first Yr Obdt Srvt heard of it was in an email from Vox Political‘s alleged masters in the Labour Party.
It begins: “Did you hear what Liz Truss – the Tory Environment Secretary – announced was top of her priority list last week?”
“Bringing back fox hunting. That’s right – instead of sorting out the mess they’ve made of our country, the Tories are fixating yet again on overturning the decade-old ban on this brutal bloodsport.
“Let’s make so much noise that the Tories have to leave fox hunting in the dustbin of history. There is so much that the Tories should be doing right now that would make life better for millions of people in our county. Doesn’t it just speak volumes that they’re choosing to obsess over this instead?
“Labour consigned fox hunting to the history books – and that’s where it belongs. Help us keep it there.”
This is followed by a link to a petition against the proposal which also asks the reader to make a donation to Labour. It is a particularly annoying practice of the party at the moment; admittedly, Labour needs cash to campaign, but tricking people into connecting to a donation site by telling them they’re doing something else… that’s not the way forward.
So if anybody has a link to a petition page that doesn’t want your money as well, please get in touch.
That was the story, and it all seemed cut-and-dried, right? Wrong.
Several hours later, a blog article by the ever-engaging John D Turner provided invaluable information about UKIP’s part in this affair.
It seems the Country Land and Business Association (described here as a sort of trade union for the landed establishment – a description that is both apposite and insulting at the same time because these people wouldn’t want to be seen dead in a union) has been lobbying both UKIP and the Tories for the return of foxhunting.
It was later reported that UKIP could benefit from half a million extra votes if the Tories refuse to commit themselves to repealing the Hunting Act, implying that UKIP supports this move already.
That was in August; Elizabeth Truss came out with her announcement a little more than a month later.
This tells us several things:
Firstly, UKIP may be many things but it absolutely is not the party of the “people’s crusade”, or whatever nonsense its representatives were spouting during the European election campaign. It’s pretty much a ‘given’ that Nigel Farage’s hope for the blue collar vote started to evaporate when he revealed UKIP’s tax plan was to give all the money to the extremely rich, and disappeared altogether when the Conservatives announced an even more regressive policy in response.
Secondly, UKIP is quite happy to be the pawn of rich landowners.
Thirdly, the Conservatives are terrified that UKIP may be able to steal away their support, and this means they will copy any UKIP policy in a desperate attempt to be more like UKIP than UKIP. Anyone in the Labour Party who finds this funny should look at the economic policy currently being promoted by Ed Balls, and remember Rachel Reeves’ ‘tougher than the Tories on welfare’ speech, before trying to make political headway on it.
The practical upshot of all this?
In this renewed right-wing attempt to bring back fox-hunting, it seems UKIP have been cast in the role of fat, red-coated, “Tally ho!”-screaming hunters…
… and the Conservatives – how unusual for them! – in the role of the fearful fox.
* Here’s the story. Scroll down the page to the entry for December 27, 2013 (it has the same image as at the top of this article).
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