David Cameron seems poised to open an old set of wounds if he wins the General Election by revisiting that divisive old chestnut of fox hunting. He has re-stated his intention to allow a free vote in the House of Commons if he becomes Prime Minister and, given that there would most likely be a Tory majority in such a scenario, the chances are that the ban would be repealed.
I have to be honest, fox hunting isn’t really my thing – I’ve never been hunting and I’ve never wanted to. I understand (I think) the thrill of the chase, but I must say that I find it a little odd that entertainment is derived from its end result. Each to their own, I suppose.
Given this is such a long-running debate, the arguments still seem rather confused. For example, hunt supporters simultaneously tell us that fox numbers need to be controlled while also claiming, when pressed on animal welfare, that the hunts rarely catch a fox anyway. Opponents of hunting will tell you that it’s purely about cruelty to foxes but you don’t have to scratch the surface too much to hear the rhetoric of good old-fashioned class warfare.
I think I would appreciate the arguments of both sides a little more if they were honest. I would have a great deal more respect for the hunters if they admitted they do it because they enjoy it. Equally many support a ban on hunting because they don’t much care for the “type of people” who do it.
The law as it stands is a pretty poor piece of legislation for the simple reason that it doesn’t appear to be enforceable, but Tory attempts to revisit this appear to be nothing more than a basic core vote strategy aimed at their traditional support, in the same way that Labour’s original ban was designed to keep the class warfare wing of the party happy.
For sure, the law probably needs to be revisited at some point but – given one of the main arguments against the ban was that it was a waste of parliamentary time – wouldn’t an incoming Prime Minister have more important things on the agenda than repealing a piece of legislation which doesn’t make the blindest bit of difference anyway?