I’ve been a bit of an idle blogger of late. Not quite what to blame it on. Lack of inspiration? Lack of anything interesting going on in my life? Or lack of time because I’ve been too busy? A mix of the three I suspect.
But I was prompted to pick up my virtual pen because MPs today voted to ban hunting with dogs in England and Wales. Given all else that is wrong with the world, I find it fascinating at how much passion this issue has caused, not only with the opposing sides for and against, but even in neutrals like me.
I live in a semi-rural area, ie we can see trees and green hills from where we live, but I’m no country boy. You can take the boy out of town, but you can’t take the town out of the boy, and I’m a dyed-in-the-wool townie.
I emphasise this to underline my complete non-interest in country pursuits like hunting and fishing. I like animals, I like seeming them around, tame and wild, I like feeding the ducks and I have no desire whatsoever in seeing them hurt or killed whether by dogs, guns, traps, disease or starvation. But I do think the government has got it wrong with this legislation.
It’s not that there are more important things we should be worried about (and there are), it’s that it is such an illiberal thing to do. The message it is putting out is that there is a group of politicians who are offended by hunting and their response is to ban it, even using the 1911 Parliament Act to enforce their will.
And that is what is happening. One passionate minority is enforcing its world view on another. It brooks no argument. But what it leads to is civil unrest, hence the Real Countryside Alliance sawing through one leg of an electricity pylon yesterday and the Commons brought to a halt today.
And if one group can impose their prejudices on others, what will be next? We know a smoking ban is on the way, but at least that has the argument that allowing smoking in public is depriving others of their right to smoke-free air and that it is harmful to others.
Seriously, are we blundering blindfold into a world that says, “You think differently to me, therefore you are a criminal.
As Rosa Luxemburg said, “Freedom is always and exclusively freedom for the one who thinks differently.”
I wonder if we’ve just witnessed the beginning of the end of freedom?