HISTORIC ENGLISH HUNTING BAN - City versus Countryside

Special Report: Hunting (The Guardian)    BBC Hunt Ban page   
Mass protest, civil disobedience on its way:   Countryside Alliance 


2/16/08 Anti-foxhunting campaign is ban's real victim - Telegraph - By Jasper Copping - When the hunting law was introduced, it was feared or feted as the end of a country sport. Now, three years later, it appears to have left the pursuit's opponents deeply wounded, while hunting goes from strength to strength.
1/31/05 (Culture) War Is Declared in Europe - LA Times - John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge - U.S.-style religious and 'town vs. country' conflicts take hold - Lately, cultural issues have begun to force their way back into the mainstream of European politics, stoked by three things.  The first is the willingness of politicians to ride roughshod over ancient traditions — and the growing willingness of what Edmund Burke called the "little platoons" to fight back.  The Labor government's bill banning fox hunting in England and Wales, for instance, delighted metrosexual Islington, where people are less exercised by the rights of foxes than the wrongs of the upper classes. But it has created a furor in rural England — and not just among toffs.
1/23/05 'Don't get mad, get even' is new tactic of the pro-hunters - Telegraph - Melissa Kite - A political campaign to unseat Labour MPs in marginal constituencies is quietly gaining pace.

Special Branch 'is paying for agents inside hunts' - Telegraph - Daniel Foggo and Melissa Kite - Special Branch is trying to recruit hunt members as paid informants before the sport becomes illegal next year...Brian Fanshaw, the chairman of the Council of Hunting Associations, said: "This is the quickest way of divorcing the police from hunting people."

12/12/04 Bitter split threatens Countryside Alliance - Telegraph - Andrew Alderson - The countryside Alliance is facing deep internal divisions over claims that its leadership has failed its members and that the group needs to become more militant to resist the Government's ban on hunting.
11/28/04 Don't enforce hunt ban, say 70pc - Telegraph - Melissa Kite - Opposition to the ban was strongest among lower earners, bearing out claims by the pro-hunting lobby that the sport is not the preserve of "toffs"...Civil disobedience plans taking shape are aimed at clogging up the judicial system and paralysing the police.  Pro-hunt supporters are threatening to report people who let their dogs off the lead in an open space and claim that the pet has killed a squirrel, which under the new law is technically illegal.
11/24/04 Hunting a minority issue? Tell that to the 400,000 country marchers, Mr Prescott - Telegraph - Hundreds of thousands of hunt supporters across the country were dismissed by John Prescott yesterday as a minority obsessed with an unimportant issue.
11/23/04 COMMENTARY: Fox News - Wall Street Journal - LIONEL SHRIVER - With Britain's Black Watch regiment camped in harm's way outside of Baghdad, the spectacle of Labour MPs going rabid about banning foxhunting last week must have looked, at any distance, impenetrably quaint. Overriding the House of Lords by invoking the Parliament Act for only the fourth time since it was passed in 1911, anti-hunt MPs successfully closed down a centuries-old sport firmly fixed in the international imagination as quintessentially British...Yet the deeper modern rift between the urban élite and the disempowered countryside is more salient. The urban professionals backing the ban have ideas about themselves, very precious ideas. They are civilized. They recycle. They believe that meat grows in cellophaned packets. They abhor genetically modified foods and animal testing. They are good. Britain's country dwellers, who actually make things, grow things, raise things and yes, kill things, are too busy to worry about being good.
11/23/04 Cabinet may try to delay ban - Toby Helm and Charles Clover - Telegraph - Ministers are considering yet another attempt to delay the ban on hunting after Tony Blair blamed senior Cabinet colleagues for failing to push it beyond a general election.
11/22/04 Hunt ban is class war, admits MP - Guardian - Over-candid Labour anti-hunter admits what the countryside lobby has claimed all along: it is 'class war' against 'the last hurrah of the feudal system.'  

Government finally admits: hunt ban is part of the class struggle - Melissa Kite - Telegraph - A member of the Government admits today that the hunting ban is driven by old-fashioned class warfare and is, at its heart, a bitter battle for control of Britain.

Peter Bradley, the parliamentary private secretary to Alun Michael, the rural affairs minister, 51, admits that he personally sees the campaign to save hunting as an assault on his right to govern as a Labour MP. He protests that the hunting cause is made up of 'the privileged minority which for centuries ran this country from the manor houses of rural England' and tried to keep people like him 'in our place'...He accuses hunt campaigners of staging 'the last hurrah of the feudal system' and trying to preserve 'the age-old privileges of land ownership', a fight which he condemns as futile.  '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.

Yes - this is about class war - Telegraph - Peter Bradley, the MP who proposed the amendment to delay the Hunting Bill until 2006, says the battle is a last hurrah for the feudal system.  Now that hunting has been banned, 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.

It was the PM, not the Lords, that the Commons defeated - Matthew d'Ancona - Telegraph - Blair craved a compromise on hunting but last week his own tribe said: enough. 

Death to the enemies of Blair, but the foxes must be spared - Geoffrey Wheatcroft - Telegraph - The ban on hunting demonstrates the sheer rottenness of our political culture - Hunting is a question on which MPs can parade their consciences, but with absolutely no political risk. Barely 250,000 people hunt; four million people fish. If the figures were the other way round, the politics would be too: if four million people hunted, then we would have been told that New Labour was the fox-hunter's friend.

There is no parliamentary seat in the country, not even in Leicestershire or Gloucestershire, where a "hunting vote" is decisive, but there must be 5,000 to 10,000 anglers in every constituency, so that any MPs who had the honesty and courage to say that they wanted to ban fishing as well as hunting would be in real danger of losing their seats. And then they would no longer be able to get their hands on their inflated salaries, their corrupt expenses, and the opportunity to bully other people.

11/20/04 NOTE: The 1949 Parliament Act was passed by the Attlee Labour government to expedite steel nationalization. It has only been used four times, once by Margaret Thatcher.

Landowners who back hunt threaten to obstruct utilities - The Telegraph - Pro-hunting landowners have been urged by the Government not to "punish society" by withdrawing permission for essential utilities such as electricity pylons.

Will they dare free burglars to make room for beaglers? - The Telegraph

Police fear hunting ban strain - Rosie Cowan - The Guardian - Police could be stretched to the limit dealing with widespread public disorder following the hunting ban, the leading representative for rank and file officers warned yesterday. Jan Berry, who chairs the Police Federation in England and Wales, admitted that vociferous opposition to the new law would put huge strain on the resources of small rural forces and create problems for officers on the ground... it could be hard to get enough officers to a trouble scene quickly, particularly given the expected wide-ranging nature of the pro-hunt campaign. "This has potential for large scale civil disorder, which could be extremely costly, and officers will have to be diverted from other duties," she said.  

'Martyrs' ready for prison as activists plot tactics - Radical groups plan unlawful disruption - Steven Morris - The Guardian - In a cosy pub close to the Shropshire-Worcestershire border over a fortifying drink and supper, the three-strong steering group which coordinates the work of the Countryside Action Network will meet next week to finalise its plans for rebellion and disruption.  At a "flick of a switch", the group claims, it can mobilise hundreds, even thousands of activists ready to make their views against the hunting ban known, perhaps by bombarding the government with phone calls, possibly by bringing motorways to a standstill. More radical elements favour a blockade of local airports, while the cautious say they will make their point by simply carrying on hunting, knowing that the police will have an almost impossible job finding them in the 100 square miles of mountainous terrain where they hunt.

11/19/04 Blair finally did it and the firestorm in rural England is just beginning. Only the fourth time since passage of the Parliament Act in 1949 is it being used to override opposition in the House of Lords to a government measure of any type, not just hunting.
Hunting to end in three months - The Telegraph

In pursuit of civil disobedience - BBC - Hunt supporters have promised a multi-pronged campaign of civil disobedience and disruption in protest at the government's outlawing of hunting with dogs. 

9/04 Hunt supporters staged the first public invasion of the Commons chamber for more than 300 years.
2002 About 400,000 people marched through London in the "Liberty and Livelihood" pro-hunting march. 
1998 First Countryside March

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