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Let’s just accept that we live in a low-probability timeline

Continuing my series of “Newspaper headlines mentioning vaguely newsworthy persons that I thought at first sight were jokes but turned out to be literally true”,

Prominent lawyer Jolyon Maugham clubs fox to death while wearing kimono.

Well, I suppose it is traditional to kill foxes on Boxing Day.

Yesterday’s entry: The Attorney General reads “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas”

18 comments to Let’s just accept that we live in a low-probability timeline

  • Phil B

    He’s an idiot in this day and age to think about self reporting killing a fox and publicising it.

    He should have employed the three S’s – shoot, shovel and shut up.

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    Phil B writes,

    He’s an idiot in this day and age to think about self reporting killing a fox and publicising it.

    As the daughter of one lawyer and friend of many others it pains me to say this, but there is a tendency on the part of some members of the legal profession to think that laws do not apply to them. Mr Maugham knows better than most that Tony Blair passed the Hunting Act 2004 to forbid the weird atavistic practices of Tories. He is not a Tory. Ergo the ban does not apply to him.

    He should have employed the three S’s – shoot, shovel and shut up.

    Shut up? This is Jolyon Maugham we’re talking about.

  • ns

    Well, I suppose I am the one that has to go there: “How the fox got into the kimono I’ll never know.”
    H/T to Captain Spaulding.

  • Sudden fox syndrome.

  • My (imperfect) memory is that under Labour’s spiteful legislation it is ever so legal to kill foxes, just not legal to allow a dog to kill them. That form of killing foxes that would happen even if we disappeared from the earth and packs of feral dogs came into contact with foxes was prohibited, but those ways of killing foxes – traps, poison, shooting and AFAIK clubbing – that only humans cause are legal. Hunting foxes, that usually just frightens them from areas since the majority of hunts do not catch, is illegal (or rather, letting the dogs kill is illegal – Blair was not clever enough in phrasing the legislation to end humans on horses chasing foxes with dogs) but other ways for farmers to control foxes – ways that necessitate killing them and offer no incentive to keep them alive as a species – are legal.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Best tweet of the week/month/year?

  • Deep Lurker

    It’s neo-puritanism. The objection to fox hunts isn’t that the fox suffers, but that the hunters are enjoying themselves.

  • bobby b

    You can raise chickens in central London?

  • Phil B

    @bobby b – You certainly can. Just look at the Met Police … plenty of chickens in that lot with a long record of cowardice.

  • Mr Ed

    The Hunting Act 2004 does not make it an offence to kill a fox per se, but rather to hunt it with hounds. I immediately saw this as indirect or possibly direct racial discrimination in legislation as it left the UK’s Kazakh community (such as it is) free to pursue their tradition of hunting foxes with eagles. That quaint custom has spread to the natives, as this case showed

    However, the offence in question is something like ‘causing unnecessary suffering’ or ‘cruelty’ to an animal, which is v4ry context-dependent and fact-sensitive. I am unaware of any case law in which a kimono has been found to be an element of the offence, but precedents are there waiting to be set.

    One should presume innocence, and if the process is the punishment, there may be some tedious moments ahead for this Remainerman hero.

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    bobby b, certainly you can raise chickens in central London, if you happen to possess a house in central London with a decent sized garden. Though as a matter of fact I think Mr Maugham would have been spending Christmas at his lovingly restored and converted historic windmill in Sussex.

  • llamas

    When I lived in a high-rise in Stockwell, it was hard to miss the fact that the neighbouring scrapyard, which was operated by a large extended clan of what are now referred to as ‘travellers’, housed a flock of chickens which certainly numbered in the many dozens, if not hundreds. They appeared to subsist entirely upon fresh air and the upholstery of rusted-out Cortinas, but there’s no denying the eggs were delicious – the womenfolk would sell them out of the back door every evening.

    There were also, to my certain knowledge, multiple backyard goats in the neighbourhood, much-favoured by the West Indian community.



  • Julie near Chicago


    I don’t suppose we are that civilized in Rockford.

  • DP

    Dear Miss Solent

    Is this what is known as ‘clubbing’?

    Asking for a friend.


  • James Hargrave

    If only dogs could be trained to hunt lawyers…

  • bobby b

    Apparently they have been.


  • The spectator’s blog has a good (and good-humoured, in every sense) review of Mr Maugham’s legal position (h/t Guido).

    Of course, if the RSPCA show the unusual good sense not to prosecute, loads of cynical people will say, “Yeah, right! – coz ‘e woz a remoaner”, which it would be the height of hypocrisy for Jolyon to complain about, though the Spectator (and we) could. 🙂

  • Rob Fisher

    “he killed it with the baseball bat that he keeps at home, mainly to deter intruders”

    Wait a minute; that can’t be legal!