Andy Duncan decries the bigotry of Members of Parliament in persecuting a minority.
Backbench Labour MPs have voted for a total ban on hunting with dogs. What remains very unclear, however, is what happened to the government’s murky ‘compromise’ option, to allow licensed hunting to continue.
This disappeared due to a mysterious House of Commons drafting error, and a warning to Labour whips, that the Parliament Act could not be used with a total ban. But for a government of control freaks, this seems a mere fig-leaf covering over the traces of some kind of deal between the backbench and the executive of the “You support us, when we need you, and we’ll give you the Ban” type.
Or does it? Could it be even more labyrinthine than this simple conspiracy theory? You may remember last week Mr Peter Hain, our friend from Wales, attempting a complex manoeuvre to kick the Hunting Ban into the long grass. The last thing New Labour needs, with the Tories moving into a fragile lead in the polls, is to cement this lead with a class-war move highly unpopular within Middle England. With the Countryside Alliance able to get 400,000 people to march down Whitehall any time of their choosing, my guess is Tony Blair would rather this problem went away, until he is at least dealt with Iraqgate.
Time will tell what this über-manipulative government is up to, but my guess is that the ban will fail again, in this session of Parliament, due to some “technical error”, and we will be back to where we started, next year, for the whole sorry mess to begin again. You would think they had a majority of ten, the way New Labour carry on, rather than over one hundred. It must be terrible being a socialist back-bencher lion, being led by such donkeys. Excellent.