Theresa May Is Dead Right to Want to Rescind the Fox-Hunting Ban

The real business of hunting is what the staff do – the hard-working, badly paid, highly skilled country folk.

Though I don’t think much of Theresa May’s paternalistic soft-left politics, I do like her no-nonsense style. That Q&A she did for the Sunday Times where she was asked ‘Sherlock or Midsomer Murders?’ — ‘I’ve watched both’ she replied — was hilarious in its Olympian imperviousness to the convention, established by Tony Blair, that prime ministers must kowtow at all times to popular culture and sentiment.

So too was the extraordinarily unevasive answer she gave when asked recently why she was committed to allowing Conservative MPs a free vote on rescinding Tony Blair’s fox-hunting ban. ‘As it happens, personally, I’ve always been in favour of fox hunting,’ she said.

Me too. But when you’re a mainstream politician — not a maverick backbencher like, say, the brave, lovely and wonderful Kate Hoey — you’re not really supposed to say these things. I don’t recall David Cameron ever being so upfront — and unlike his successor, he has actually inhaled to hounds. So full marks to Mrs May for her almost Trumplike forthrightness and unpredictability.

What I wasn’t so sure about, at least initially, were her tactics. I can’t be the only hunting enthusiast who listened to her words and thought: ‘Shh, Theresa! Don’t remind them we’re still here.’ Obviously none of us wanted the ban. Hunting is unquestionably the noblest sport ever invented, the finest thing any human being (or horse or hound — or fox) can do, and without it Britain would be finished. But in the 13 years since the ban was introduced by Blair — largely as a sop to Labour’s insatiable bloodlust for anything scenting of class superiority — we’ve mostly managed to circumvent it in one way or another by ‘hunting within the law’.

That’s the phrase the huntsman always uses in the (carefully videoed) statement before you all set off from the meet. The hounds are following a pre-laid trail, not cute, lovable foxes, and if, heaven forfend, the pack should stray off course and inadvertently find Charlie instead, well of course you can’t avoid the occasional accident. Which is why — belt and braces — quite a few hunts bring an eagle or an owl with them, to exploit the exemption in the law which allows hounds to flush foxes towards birds of prey. You can’t be too careful, can you?

In the days when my family still allowed me to hunt — a ban which, à la Theresa, I am working to rescind — I used to love joining so many people of all ages and from all walks of life (six-year-olds on ponies; old battle-axes on cobs; nurses; farmers; high-court judges) conspiring to very nearly break what we all knew was an unjust and (-happily) mostly unenforceable law. Hunting is the closest thing I’ve ever experienced in later life to the camaraderie, highs and illicit thrills of early 1990s warehouse rave culture.

But the point about hunting which we fairweather followers are inclined to forget amid the adrenalin and sloe-gin merriment is that it’s not about us. We’re just spectators. The real business of hunting is what the staff do: the huntsman, the whipper-in, the kennel and stable staff. These are the incredibly hard-working, woefully poorly paid, tremendously skilled country folk whose job it is to maintain and hunt the hounds, and keep alive traditions and standards going back centuries.

Read the rest at the Spectator.

Scan to Donate Bitcoin to James
Did you like this?
Tip James with Bitcoin
Powered by BitMate Author Donations

Twenty Things I Will Ban When I Am Elected Your Dictator for Life in 2016

They include students, cyclists, e-cigs, roibos and that frightful woman who does Any Answers on Radio 4.

Things I am going to ban when, by popular acclaim, I am elected your Dictator for Life in 2016.

1. Onions where the brown skin doesn’t come off easily. You know the ones: where the papery outer layer clings so tightly that you have to pick it off laboriously with a sharp knife and it takes forever. I hate these onions so much. I’m pretty sure they’re all foreign, though I may be mistaken.

2. Slimline tonic water. (See also: Diet Coke; semi-skimmed milk) ‘Oh? Is it really? Sorry about that. I think it’s all we’ve got.’

‘Aspartame? Oh, is that not good?’

‘Not sure I can tell the difference, to be honest.’

‘Don’t blame me. I don’t get any say in the shopping. She buys it because she thinks I’ll lose weight.’

Look: if you’re going to make me a gin and tonic, make it properly: ice, high-end gin, boutique tonic, lemon not lime; or not at all.

3. I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here. (See also: all reality TV; everything on boxed set.) I’m sure I’ve said it before, but seriously: it is such a huge waste of life. The other day, I actually found myself cogitating over why a man called Brian — of whose existence I had been blissfully unaware until the show started — had been booted off so shockingly early. I had a brain, once, which studied stuff like Gawain and the Green Knight and the Dream of the Rood. But then, if you believe the urban myth about all your cells replacing themselves every seven years, we’re talking four incarnations ago.

4. E-cigarettes. Cowards! Take your cancer and your shivering-outside-on-the-pavement social stigma like a man.

5. People who don’t go foxhunting. Hateful, hateful people.

Read the rest in the Spectator.

Scan to Donate Bitcoin to James
Did you like this?
Tip James with Bitcoin
Powered by BitMate Author Donations

Mr. Delingpole’s Sporting Tour: My First Day out Hunting

“Don’t worry, we’ll take things very carefully and bring him back in one piece,” Jane Spencer promised my wife, somewhat rashly, I thought.

Jane was talking on the eve of my first proper day’s hunting — in “Monday country”, with the Pytchley — and like most non-hunting spouses, the Fawn (as she’s known) wasn’t looking forward to the prospect one bit.

It’s not that the Fawn is anti-hunting. Her mother — quite rightly — thought that it was the greatest sport on earth and before she died she ceremonially handed down to me her cherished hunting whip.

But the Fawn knows what hunting is like and, worse, knows what I’m like: reckless, impetuous, irresponsible, immature, hopeless. As I demonstrated only the other week when I broke our daughter’s ankle.

I’ll spare you the ugly details. Suffice to say that it was a riding injury and as the parent supposedly in charge at the time, I got all the blame. It could hardly have happened at a more inconvenient moment — the day before school started and, worse, the beginning of the autumn hunting season.

How in God’s name was I to persuade the Fawn that riding isn’t dangerous when we had such strong evidence to the contrary, stomping round the house with her boot and crutches and being as bolshie as only a hobbled female teenager can?

Anyway, to my first proper hunt. I say “proper” because although I’ve been out one or two times over the years — once, with the Devon & Somerset staghounds, just before the ban, for an article in The Sunday Times; once with the Cotswold for a TV documentary in praise of toffs — I’ve only ever done the really important bit, the jumping bit, by accident.

Jumping petrifies for me, because though I’ve been riding on and off since I was a cold, reluctant eight-year0-old (“Ianto. T-rot!”), horses aren’t in my blood and I never did Pony Club or anything proper like that.

Read the rest at Horse and Hound.

Scan to Donate Bitcoin to James
Did you like this?
Tip James with Bitcoin
Powered by BitMate Author Donations

Rod Liddle Does His Anti-Foxhunting Dad Dance Again. Oh, Puh-lease

Rod Liddle – the thinking man’s Ricky Gervais – has been doing his Dad Dance routine again. You know the one. It’s where he shows how down-with-the-kids and still-in-touch-with-his-radical-leftist-working-class-roots he is by telling you how utterly he loathes foxhunting and how, instead of giving parliament a free vote on the issue, David Cameron should be making it even more illegal than ever because, like, it’s barbaric.

Rad, Rod. Rad!

You can almost smell the oestrogen and plait-haired armpit sweat of all the hot PETA chicks swarming to kneel in appreciation of Rod’s bunny hugging caringness, can’t you?

But I have to say that as both a longstanding friend of Rod’s and a huge admirer of his writing, I find this particular Dad Dance of his embarrassing and demeaning and I really wish he wouldn’t do it.

When he writes crap like this it’s a bit like Led Zeppelin reforming to do a three month stint at Caesars Palace. (“Stairway to Heaven guaranteed Every Nite!!!“). You just think: “No, Rod. Really. You’re better than that.”

It’s crap because it’s airheaded and fluffy and mawkish and horribly redolent of the kind of Guardianista Liberalthink that, as a rule, Rod rightly professes to despise.

Saying foxhunting should be banned because you think it’s cruel and barbaric is as insightful and thought-through and original as venturing, say, that “The true mark of a civilised country is how well it treats its old/disabled/ethnic minorities/prisoners/delete as appropriate” or that you believe in “social justice” and that everyone should have a “living wage” and that for the sake of “future generations” we should learn to live more “sustainably” and that the “problem with Communism is that has never been really tried”. Or even “today is the first day of the rest of your life”. Or “you don’t have to be mad to work here. But it helps!!!”

It’s crap because it’s such a pathetically obvious piece of virtue-signalling. Next time, Rod, just save yourself the bother and write: “I hate the Daily Mail.” That’ll do you.

It’s crap because it’s so nauseatingly illiberal – in the old-fashioned sense of the world.

Now I’m perfectly aware, having had discussions with Rod on this point that he doesn’t want to belong to any kind of liberal tradition – Classical liberal or Guardianista – because he thinks of himself more as Old School authoritarian left.

So all I’ll say on this point is that I find it a bit disappointing that a man who at periods in his life has not exactly been unburdened with personal vices himself should be so indecently keen to cast the first stone at the weaknesses of others.

If, that is, you consider a desire to go foxhunting a weakness. I personally don’t. I think that wanting to go hunting is the most natural thing in the world because it answers the call of one of our most strongly inbuilt atavistic instincts: without the hunting urge we would never have survived, let alone evolved to the point where people were able to invent football and go to Millwall matches and shout clever obscenities at one another, like some people do for their harmless fun, naming no names, eh, Rod?

And frankly, only someone of the Whiggish perversion would be smug enough to imagine that this instinct is something we have all since evolved out of. Yeah, right. You might as well look at the current goings on in Syria and Iraq and pronounce sagely that human beings are no longer drawn to violence.

But that’s by the by. My biggest objection to the arguments of Rod and people like Rod who think they are being civilised and sophisticated and decent in their opposition to hunting is very simply this: that they are miserable, puritanical kill-joys.

I’m not asking the Rod Liddles of this world to be persuaded by all the sub-arguments for the continued existence of hunting – the ones about conservation and tradition and pest control and so forth – because I know, given their class-resentment-inspired bias and their ooh-I-care-about-furry-animals-me moral preening, they’ll always find counterarguments and because in any case they’re just a distraction from the only argument that really matters.

Hunting is a good and desirable thing because it makes those who do it very, very happy without harming in any way whatsoever those miserable sods who disapprove of it.

If you believe in liberty, if you believe in the primacy and the good of mankind, you could never seriously be opposed to hunting. And yes, it really is that simple.

Read more at Breitbart London

Related posts:

  1. The meaning of life is foxhunting
  2. O’Bama? Oh puh-lease!
  3. Ayn Rand’s books are deliciously anti-statist, but her philosophy is borderline Nazi
  4. Memo to the FT: Neda Agha Soltan did not die in order to foment anti-Israeli propaganda

 

Scan to Donate Bitcoin to James
Did you like this?
Tip James with Bitcoin
Powered by BitMate Author Donations

The Meaning of Life Is Foxhunting

I have fallen in love with an unsuitable male. My wife isn’t totally happy about this relationship because she recognises how dangerous it is. The problem with Eddie is that his vices are my vices. He’s reckless, an adrenaline junkie who likes always to be up front. Really, a most unsuitable companion for a skinny, breakable family man fast approaching 50.

And did I mention how expensive he is? It’s as bad as having a high-class mistress or a serious cocaine habit, but I’m powerless to resist. I love hunting. I love my mount Eddie Stobart. When I’m riding to hounds, all my worldly cares vanish. It makes me feel like I’ve finally discovered the point of existence. Tragic, isn’t it?

It’s tragic because I know I could quite easily die — or worse. And also because I can’t afford it. A day out with my local hunt, with hireling, will set you back around £300. But really, if you want to get any good at it — which I do, so as to improve my chances of not breaking my neck — you want to be going out at least twice a week. It’s at times like this that you learn seriously to regret those early career choices. If I’d gone into the City and made my fortune, maybe I could have retired early and spent the rest of my days doing what I was really born to do: being a Master of Foxhounds, of course.

The thing I like about hunting is — well, lots of things, actually. But definitely it starts with the horse. I’ve never hitherto thought of myself as a particularly horsey person. As a child I found the local hunt set desperately intimidating. There was a hunting family down the road from us who I always got the impression seriously looked down on Delingpoles. We were just jumped-up Midlands industrialists. They were proper country folk. This hurt. And maybe that’s where it all started. I wanted to show that we were just as good as them.

Still, it would be years before I got the horse bug. I had lessons over the years — at school and later in my university vacations, when I was taught by James Hewitt’s sister Caroline and lusted, fruitlessly, after her stable girls. But the horses were just a means to an end rather than the thing itself: big, intractable, scary beasts with kicking feet and biting mouths and heads that kept yanking sharply forwards so that the reins cut into the tender bits between your frozen fingers.

This is often the way with riding-school horses. Bored and desensitised by having to indulge far too many novices, they rarely do what you want, because they just can’t be arsed. And it’s always your fault, supposedly. You’re not kicking hard enough. But you can’t kick any harder because your leg muscles have collapsed. It’s no wonder so many boys (girls are different: for girls, horses aren’t poor man’s motorbikes but surrogate boyfriends) give up riding before they get any good at it.

Read the rest at The Spectator

Related posts:

  1. Life’s too short to be nice to Lefties
  2. Eat local organic food if you like, but don’t kid yourself that it’s ‘green’
  3. Evil, snarling, red-faced Tory toffs want to bring back fox-hunting!
  4. My incredible Big-Oil-funded life

Posted on 24th October 2014Author jamesCategories UncategorisedTags , , , , , , ,

Post navigation

Scan to Donate Bitcoin to James
Did you like this?
Tip James with Bitcoin
Powered by BitMate Author Donations