It will come as no surprise to regular readers of this blog that we have long regarded the Ban on Foxhunting with Dogs as having very little to do with foxhunting.
As David Carr has pointed out before, those who shout loudly that the move against hunting is ‘undemocratic’ are completely wrong: it is perfectly democratic. Welcome to the world in which there is no give and take of civil society… welcome to the world of total politics.
Mr Bradley says: ‘We ought at last to own up to it: the struggle over the Bill was not just about animal welfare and personal freedom: it was class war.’
The MP for The Wrekin adds that it was the ‘toffs’ who declared war on Labour by resisting the ban, but agrees that both sides are battling for power, not animal welfare.
‘This was not about the politics of envy but the polities of power. Ultimately it’s about who governs Britain.’
‘Labour governments have come and gone and left little impression on the gentry. But a ban on hunting touches them. It threatens their inalienable right to do as they please on their own land. For the first time, a decision of a Parliament they don’t control has breached their wrought-iron gates.
No kidding. That is what we have been pointing out here on Samizdata.net for quite some time and why we have treated commenters who shrugged and said “why get worked up about foxhunting?” with such derision. It was never about hunting but rather things that are far, far more fundamental. It is about those who would make all things subject to democratically sanctified politics (‘Rule by Activist’) seeking to crush those who see private property and society, rather than state, as what matters.
Mr Bradley, 51, admits that he personally sees the campaign to save hunting as an assault on his right to govern as a Labour MP.
And Mr. Bradley is correct but for one thing: the battle in question is about the limits of political power and not just Labour’s political power. Until the supporter of the Countryside Alliance see that they are actually struggling against the idea of a total political state, they will not even be fighting the right war. It is not about who controls the political system but what the political system is permitted to do under anyone’s control. The United States has a system of separation of powers and constitutional governance which (at least in theory even though not in fact) places whole areas of civil society outside politics. Britain on the other hand has no such well defined system and the customary checks and balances have been all but swept away under the current regime. Britain’s ‘unwritten constitution’ has been shown to be a paper tiger.
But those who look to the Tories to save them from the class warriors of the left are missing another fundamental truth. During their time in power, the Tory Party set the very foundations upon which Blair and Blunkett are building the apparatus for totally replacing social processes with political processes, a world in which nothing cannot be compelled by law if that is what ‘The People’ want: populist authoritarianism has been here for a while but now it no longer even feels it has to hide its true face behind a mask.
Moreover it would take another blind man to look back on Michael Howard’s time as Home Secretary and see him as being less corrosive to civil liberties that the monstrous David Blunkett. Have you heard the outraged Tory opposition to the terrifying Civil Contingencies Act? Of course not, because the intellectual bankruptcy of the Tory party is now complete… for the most part they support it. If the so-called ‘Conservatives’ will not lift a finger to stop the destruction of the ancient underpinnings of British liberty, what exactly are they allegedly intending to ‘conserve’? The Tories are not part of the solution, they are part of the problem and the sooner the UKIP destroy them by making them permanently unelectable, the better, so that some sort of real opposition can fill the ideological vacuum.
Those who were marching against banning foxhunting completely miss the issues at stake here. The issue is not and never has been foxhunting but rather the acceptable limits of politics. And you cannot resolve that issue via the political system in Britain. It is only once the people who oppose the ban on foxhunting and the people who oppose the Civil Contingencies Act and the people who oppose the introduction of ID cards and data pooling all realise that these are NOT separate issues but the same issue will effective opposition be possible. And I fear that opposition will, at least until the ‘facts on the ground’ can be established, have to be via civil disobedience and other ways to make sections of this country ungovernable by whatever means prove effective. The solution does not lie in ‘democracy’ but rather by enough people across the country asserting their right to free association and non-politically mediated social interaction by refusing to obey the entirely democratic laws which come out of Westminster.
Peter Bradley is right and he has provided any who are paying attention with a moment of utter clarity: It is time to challenge his right to ‘rule’ by whatever means necessary.