One of the pledges in the Conservative manifesto is to give Parliament the opportunity to repeal the Hunting Act on a free vote. The idea that fox hunting might come back is, clearly — in my mind at least — a terrible idea. Allowing foxes to be mauled to death as ‘sport’ is something that should be left firmly in the past.
At the same time, I’m not sure that many of the headlines surrounding this capture the nuance of the situation and tend to merely build on the hyperbolic ‘Cameron is out to destroy the UK’ meme.
The Independent has a piece that opens with, ‘The Conservative Party will try to overturn the ban on fox hunting if elected in next year’s general election, it has emerged.’
This isn’t strictly accurate.
The fact that the Conservatives have pledged to put this issue to Parliament at all is, as I’ve said, a dreadful plan that, purely on a political level, alienates them from the vast majority of voters in the country.
But offering a vote on the issue is not the same as saying the Conservative Party will be seeking to overturn the ban. The fact that this is a free vote means that there will be no central pressure to vote one way or another.
It is highly unlikely that this will be pushed for by Cameron; it seems to be more of a concession to the loony fringe of Tories on the far right (which may help Cameron get his way in other policy areas).
The reality is that this bill, if it does get put to Parliament, has zero chance of going through. There are far more Tory MP’s who would be against this than there is in the slender Parliamentary majority they have. There are plenty of Conservatives who are as much against fox hunting as the rest of us.
That said, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t ensure this outcome is the case by making it very clear to our local MP’s that we would absolutely not want them to back this bill if and when it happens.
It’s just a shame that we’ll have to waste our time making an effort like this on something that should have been left behind forever.