Thursday 5 November 2009

A Hunting We Will Go!

The new hunting season is now underway, the last, one hopes under the Hunting Act, a piece of crass legislative spite; bad law by a dreadful government. The Countryside Alliance, made up of people who actually understand rural pursuits and pastimes, is reporting a record increase in the number of people urging that this stupid and unworkable law is repealed at the earliest opportunity.

Just think about it; just think how much effort Blair and his cronies put in to the Hunting Act, seven hundred hours of Parliamentary time, that’s more than the war in Iraq! What has this achieved? Why, there have been exactly three successful prosecutions against hunts in the five years it has been in force, the last of which was in January, 2007. It has done absolutely nothing to diminish interest in hunting, which grows by the season.

Hunting to hounds is part of an ancient English tradition that this government tried to kill. Well, it hasn’t and it won’t, another mark in our commitment to basic liberties, our right not to be preached at by a shabby shower of political opportunists who have not the first clue about rural England. Yes, it’s true; the ban on hunting was driven by class politics and prejudice, not animal welfare, as Simon Hart, the chief executive of the Countryside Alliance, recently remarked. He went on;

Getting rid of the Hunting Act would be a public benefit. It has wasted thousands of hours of police time and millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money. Opinion polls show that less than three in ten people think that the Hunting Act is working.

David Cameron has consistently repeated the commitment to a free vote on a government bill in government time to repeal the Hunting Act and almost all Conservative MPs and candidates in marginal seats support repeal. Meanwhile increasing numbers of Labour and Lib Dem MPs accept the Hunting Act has failed.

“Horse and Hound” noted in a recent issue support for hunting remains as strong as ever. The evidence for this is overwhelming. During the Hunting Newcomers Week last month some 5000 first-timers joined their local hunts, and, believe me, these people come from all sections of the community, not just the traditional hunting classes. Yes, our time returns. :-)

OH! pleasant exercise of hope and joy!
For mighty were the auxiliars which then stood
Upon our side, we who were strong in love!
Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive,
But to be young was very heaven!--Oh! times,
In which the meagre, stale, forbidding ways
Of custom, law, and statute, took at once
The attraction of a country in romance!


  1. At last! You have made your blog pages readable by ancient court jesters, Ana. I had a quiet word with my fox just now, concerning hunting and all that palaver. He says that, since he's the only fox for miles around, he has no strong feelings about the Act one way or the other. His life goes on much the same - but he did observe that it's years since he tasted a fresh hound.

  2. Oh, Jamie, I wish you had said before you were having difficulty reading my page. I would have done something about it long since. :-)

    Your fox is OK...for the moment. I've decided that Fantastic Mister Fox shall be my chief target. :-))

  3. How many ancient English traditions has this government killed? Buildings of historical interest, institutions, gone

    All that is on the Earth shalt perish.

    Except that which is cared for by thy Lord the Glorious and Honourable.

    (The Holy Quran. Al Rahman [The Beneficent]. 28, 29).

    Gone, now, most of the men and women of those days. Gone to the peacetime sun, some, to roast their bones and compose in the shade. Gone in no uniform. Others, to dales and peaks and coasts. Gone the bodies of some, killed by war, gone the promise and purpose of others, killed by war, gone to other places, other cities, other arms, the poets, painters, writers, all the feckless brood who rambled through Fitzrovia, a few, it was reported, could still be spotted in the area, none of whom had yet been killed by anything.

    (Peter O' Toole. Loitering with intent: the apprentice. 1996).

    Nothing Lasts. That is that. I once wrote an entire dissertation (as a university student) about how such moments of joy for Keats were always fleeting, pleasure was always short-lived, he says it is like bursting a grape against one's palate. He also composed a brilliant 'Song of opposites.' Instead, I'll give you 'The Irish Unionist's Farewell To Greta Hellastrom In 1922'. By Sir John Betjeman

    Golden haired and golden hearted
    I would ever have you be,
    As you were when last we parted
    Smiling slow and sad at me.
    Oh! the fighting down of passion!
    Oh! the century-seeming pain-
    Parting in this off-hand fashion
    In Dungarvan in the rain.

    Slanting eyes of blue, unweeping
    Stands my Swedish beauty where
    Gusts of Irish rain are sweeping
    Round the statue in the square;
    Corner boys against the walling
    Watch us furtively in vain,
    And the Angelus is calling
    Through Dungarvan in the rain.

    Gales along the Commeragh Mountains,
    Beating sleet on creaking signs,
    Iron gutters turned to fountains,
    And the windscreen laced with lines,
    And the evening getting later,
    And the ache - increased again,
    As the distance grows the greater
    From Dungarvan in the rain.

    There is no one now to wonder
    What eccentric sits in state
    While the beech trees rock and thunder
    Round his gate-lodge and his gate.
    Gone - the ornamental plaster,
    Gone - the overgrown demesne
    And the car goes fast, and faster,
    From Dungarvan in the rain.

    Had I kissed and drawn you to me
    Had you yielded warm for cold,
    What a power had pounded through me
    As I stroked your streaming gold!
    You were right to keep us parted:
    Bound and parted we remain,
    Aching, if unbroken hearted -
    Oh! Dungarvan in the rain!

  4. Wonderful, Rehan! It's nice to see you back. I've missed you. :-)