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Saturday, February 19, 2005

The Hunting ban

So it has come into force, and although I have no particular desire myself to go on a hunt, or even go to a hunt, I regard the ban with a sadness.

Myself I see this, as it has been fought, as a rather obvious case of town versus country. As DM Andy states explaining his opposition the issue is more complicated, though I think he rather unfairly loads the blame against the Countryside Alliance for this. After all, the League Against Cruel Sports framed the argument in those terms, the Countryside Alliance merely responded. Certainly they might have responded differently, and probably more effectively, but they are not responsible for the battleground.

Myself though, I think the attitude of the Countryside Alliance and others has also been based on the feeling, justified or not, that they were never going to get a fair deal. Our Parliamentary system does not very easily protect the rights of unpopular minorities, especially politically incorrect ones like hunters. As for violence, the anti-hunters can pretend to cover themselves in innocence, but they have perpetrated their fair share of violence in the past.

However, I also think it is a mistake to see hunting in isolation. When I lived in Cornwall there was lots of local anger about wind farm expansion (something still there, according to a relative). Wind farm construction is mostly being held up at the moment at the local level because locally they tend to be highly unpopular. Naturally the townie solution is to batter through changes in the law rather than actually address those concerns.

There are other rural/urban issues on the table, and it will be interseting to see how they play out in the forthcoming general election. In particular it will be interesting to see how Lib Dems pick their way through.

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