In the aftermath of yesterday’s ‘raid’ on parliament by pro-hunting supporters there has followed the predictable hysteria. What if they’d been terrorists with guns? Or suicide bombers? They could have wiped out virtually the entire government and HM’s opposition.
Putting aside the fact that some might think this not a bad idea, I’m not sure any of these speculative scenarios could have happened. From what I hear, getting into the Houses of Parliament is like going through airport security — x-rays, metal detectors, sniffer dogs, body searches, the lot — so they couldn’t have got in carrying weapons or explosives. Besides, word is they had inside help.
Having said that, the sight of men in tight and knee britches chasing the miscreants was rather comical. Talk about reforming the House of Lords into the 21st century, perhaps the MPs should look closer to home and get rid of the Sergeant-at-Arms.
But the real fallout will come when the hunting with dogs law becomes fact. Thousands of people say they’re just going to ignore, as they have in Scotland and I don’t know the police will do about it.
They can’t arrest someone until they’ve committed and I’d be interested to know how the law has been framed to define a law-breaker. Are you committing an offence simply by sitting on a horse, kitted out in pinks and surrounded by a pack of hounds? Or do you have to be in pursuit of a fox? Or do you actually have to catch and kill it?
Whatever, I can’t see the police arresting hundred if not thousands of huntspeople. The criminal justice system can’t handle its present workload, never mind having those sorts of numbers to deal with.
All in all, the legislators have got themselves a huge problem. Laws only work when the majority of people agree to live by them. When lots of people start to ignore the law, we are into civil disobedience and the first glimmer of anarchy.
And with that, I shall get off my high horse. What’s that, officer? No, no, no, that’s for pontificating, not chasing after foxes, honest.