Monday, 14 October 2013
Since leaving power in ignominy in 2007, Mr Blair's legacy has been debated and analysed, mulled over and picked apart. There are those who contend that his close partnership with George Bush Junior did much to tarnish his reputation, that his limp adherence to the whims of the US President was his downfall and that had he not so readily followed the advice of the oddball Campbell and the 'dodgy dossier' he would be held in higher regard today. I would beg to differ. Iraq was in many ways a lesser error of the Labour years. Mr Blair's administration was responsible for far greater disasters - too numerous to list here. Under his direction the country descended into a pit of economic despair, sexual rapacity and poor tailoring but perhaps his greatest crime, was to unleash a wave of vulgar and very un-British sentimentality across the land.
As the nineties turned into the 'noughties' it seemed that everywhere one went, one was met by otherwise very sensible people 'weeping'. Indeed, frequently, at the slightest provocation, entire segments of society seemed to blub like boarders on their first day at prep school.
It was in this saccharine, insipid and frankly déclassé climate that the 'fox-hunting' debate began. As with so many other fashionable causes such as the emancipation of women, or the partition of Ireland, the roots can be traced back to the latter part of the 19th century, when Oscar Wilde declared 'huntsmen' unspeakable. Mr Wilde's fellow countryman George 'Bernard' Shaw weighed into the discussion with the frankly chilling admission that 'no sportsman wants to kill the fox, as I want to kill him'. Mr Shaw was a vegan of course and perhaps the lack of adequate nutrition had caused his brain to atrophy, but one can plot a clear line from his disturbing views, through those of the 'abolition of cruelty to animals' chumps, to the socialists that pushed this ill-advised bill through parliament in 2004.
The result as many of you no doubt know was a disgraceful sop. As the law now stands, hunting with hounds is only allowed as long as the fox gives written permission for himself to be shot. I exaggerate slightly, but not by much. Firing a gun, in all other circumstances deemed 'dangerous' or 'likely to cause serious wounding' is it appears the kindest and safest way to dispatch an orange dog.
The authors of this rot had clearly never enjoyed the vicarious thrill of a hunt. Indeed, I would challenge anyone to attend and not be excited by the sight of men in pink, astride champing mounts, chasing a fox across open farm-land to its certain death at the jaws of a ferocious pack of hounds. It is one of the great sights and traditions of Britain. If not the world.
One can barely open a paper these days without reading about a fox mauling a pet, or attempting to carry off a lamb. Foxes, like socialists, are invariably set more on destruction than feeding themselves and invariably kill willy-nilly. Blair's foolish and ill thought out bill has led to not just the country, but indeed our great towns and cities being over-run by these dreadful vermin.
In short, the sooner the bill is over-turned the better for all concerned; except of course the fox and a few bleeding hearted liberals in need of a hair-cut. And possibly a wash.