All the Torygraph wants for Christmas is the repeal of the ban on foxhunting.


Am currently staying with my folks. They usually get the Guardian delivered on Saturdays. However, some sort of festive mix-up meant that they had the Daily Telegraph left outside the front door today.

It is a good thing to occasionally stray outside your newspaper comfort zone. Reading a rag with an editorial line that you strongly disagree with helps familiarise you with the arguments, assumptions and prejudices of your opponents. You will then be in a better position to counter these views. If you are like me, you will also end up furious with renewed dislike of your opponents’ opinions.

The Daily Telegraph today has certainly succeeded in this regard. It contains the usual rage-inducing delights. There’s Simon Heffer’s column in which he bangs on about how 12 years of socialist government have eroded British freedom to “be ourselves”. There is also the paper’s printing of the ‘Court Circular’, which really suggests to me that the folk at the Telegraph would prefer to be living in the aristocracy-respecting 18th century rather than an age of iPhones, Twitter, space travel, automobiles, women’s rights, mass suffrage, etc.

But what really strained my seasonal goodwill was the Tally-ho, Tories editorial. The Telegraphers are convinced that David Cameron will soon be forming a government and that by this time next year Labour’s ban on foxhunting will have been repealed.

Apparently it is quite right that this should be a priority for Cameron and the Conservatives. The Countryside Alliance is of course delighted and arrogantly expecting that things will soon be going its way. After all, supporting foxhunting is the main focus of the Countryside Alliance. They seem to consider it more important than post office closures, house prices turning the countryside into the preserve of the rich, unemployment, pensioner isolation and poverty, and a host of other serious problems afflicting people in rural areas.

In fact I can’t recall the Countryside Alliance ever organising marches around any of those issues. Call me crazy but I would put the legal status of foxhunting pretty low on the agenda when it comes to ‘pro-countryside’ campaigning that could actually improve peoples’ lives.

Cameron’s earnest committment to revising the ban is evidence that he’s not genuinely changing the concerns of the Conservative Party to reflect broader opinion in modern Britain. It may be the number one issue of importance for a small number of people, but let’s face it most of them are privileged and wealthy. Once again Cameron’s new Conservativism seems very similar to the Conservatism everyone recognises from the past.

If, like me, you support the ban on foxhunting then you should sign up here.


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6 Responses to “All the Torygraph wants for Christmas is the repeal of the ban on foxhunting.”

  1. Liberal Conspiracy » Long live the Class War strategy Says:

    […] pointed out over at Frank Owen’s Paintbrush, it is surely instructive the Tories and Countryside Alliance consider this issue more important […]

  2. Al Says:

    “They seem to consider it more important than post office closures, house prices turning the countryside into the preserve of the rich, unemployment, pensioner isolation and poverty, and a host of other serious problems afflicting people in rural areas.”

    One reason for this is that they, actually, support many of these things. What was hilarious, bitterly hilarious, was seeing farmers* getting more involved in supporting the ‘Countryside’ Alliance than in fighting against the supermarkets that are, essentially, repeatedly and violently gang-raping them. Insert some pseudo-marxist remark about false consciousness here, I guess.

    *Not all farmers mind – there have always been a few who’d refuse to allow foxhunting on their land.

  3. captainjako Says:

    Yes, there are some cool farmers out there. e.g Michael Eavis and whoever lets the Tolpuddle Martyrs festival happen on those fields! Basically if a farmer is ok with music festivals taking place on their land then they probably get the thumbs up.

    Seriously though, a serious lobby group Countryside Alliance that recognised foxhunting as the minor concern it is and instead concentrated on affordable housing, transport, unemployment, etc would be a welcome addition to politics.

  4. Al Says:

    If such an organisation existed I’d probably join it. Not that there’s much chance of that happening – the powers that be in rural areas don’t use public transport, can afford decent housing, haven’t been affected by the massive changes to the rural economy over the past half century… and so on and so forth. The real tragedy of rural politics is that there’s been no organised force against those idiots since the NUAW collapsed in the face of mechanisation and the end of large scale farmworker employment.

  5. Dave Semple Says:

    Check out my article on this; as I say in it, I think this is gesture politics of the worst sort – on both sides.

  6. Geoffrey Woollard Says:

    If anything, the Hunting Act needs strengthening so that we can be sure that chasing and killing wild animals for fun is clearly and for ever unlawful and regarded by all with well-deserved revulsion. If they know what’s good for them politically, Cameron & Co. should, at the very least, promise to let sleeping dogs lie.

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