Wednesday, July 15, 2015

England & Wales to Vote on Fox Hunting... Without Scotland

In England and Wales, the government has published proposed rules to allow foxes to be hunted by dogs, so long as it is “appropriate” for the terrain and is done “efficiently” to protect other animals

A free free vote on the issue is was expected on Wednesday. English and Welsh Member of Parliament are believed to be split about equally on whether to approve changes to the law which would bring England into line with Scotland.

The Scottish National Party is under intense pressure from the anti-hunting lobby to break with tradition and vote against the changes, even though they only apply to England, and even though Scotland already has the exact same law that is being suggested should be extended to England and Wales.

Since a core principle of the Scottish National Party is that Scotland is Not England and Wales, the folks in the SNP do not appear to be in any mind to intervene, making a change in the law a bit more likely. No formal decision has yet been taken by the Scottish National Party, however, and it could change its position after studying the amendment, which was only published Thursday morning.

UPDATE: The vote on fox hunting has been postpones.  It seems the Scottish National Party has proven to be fickle and not true to its word, a course of events that will no doubt have repercussions going forward as memory is long and David Cameron still controls quite a lot. In any case, Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon has said her party would vote against fox hunting in England and Wales, and never mind if Scotland would not be impacted because the proposed law would simply make English and Welsh fox hunting law exactly parallel to Scotland's!

Cameron and the MPs are not moving to have the House of Commons pass legislation that prevents Scottish MPs from voting on matters affecting only England -- an idea that was already in the works, and has been moved up in the que.

The SNP flip flop seems to have a great deal less to do with fox hunting than with Nicola Sturgeon needing to prove to David Cameron that she and her party are not irrelevant. It is also, perhaps, a spur to the British side not to hold Scotland so close. The SNP want to be free and independent (with England and Wales' checkbook, markets, and military at their instant disposal, of course), but the English spent a lot of money trying to woo them back into the fold. Now Nicola Sturgeon has reminded them that a wolf in the fold can create a great deal of trouble. That is a lesson that will not be forgotten, but how it strengthens Scotland's economic and political hand going forward is hard to see.  It would be one thing if Nicola Sturgeon were willing to break her pick on a matter of prime importance to Scotland, but in this case her actions paint her as simply another flip-flopping partisan without a core  set of beliefs or standards, and one whose word is a great deal less than her bond. But does it put her name on the front page for a few days?  It does.  But at Scotland's price.

It should be remembered that the ban was not won by vote.
On November 19, 2004, the Government of Tony Blair used the Parliament Act -- a law only used 4 times in history -- to overturn the opposition of the House of Lords and ban fox hunting in the U.K.

The "ban" has always been a extra-legal "solution," that has had little do to with concern for fox (most of which are killed by distemper, mange, and vehicle impacts), and a great deal to do with political theatre

The ban began in February of 2005, but "fell at first fence." During the first week of the ban, 91 fox were accounted for, while during the second week of the ban the 156 hunts registered with the Masters of Foxhounds Association killed 157 foxes.

Pest control terrier work is also still being done, albeit it now requires written permission from the land owners -- not too onerous a constraint -- and only two terriers at a time can be in the field (and only one in the hole).

One perversion of the current law is that bolting a fox out of its den to run another day is no longer be allowed, nor is bagging and relocating fox to a more suitable location away from homes and hens. Under current law, promoted by the Animal Rights lunatics, all fox worked with terriers must be now be shot as they exit the hole, or netted and then shot.

Meanwhile, the folks who profess such a great love of fox have done nothing to control mange or distemper in the wild fox population, nor have they pushed for more road culverts and wildlife passageways to save them from vehicle impact, nor have they campaigned for habitat protection at any significant level.

And of course, they wouldn't, because the fox hunting debate has never been about fox, and it has always been about an ancient class war. The goal of "the anti's" is not to save fox, but to stick it in the eye of those who they see as representing an older landed order, and never mind if the folks on the horses and in the hedges are actually school teachers, brick masons, architects, and cook book authors. "


Dan said...

Any hope that the SNP will intervene in this matter are basically based solely on hope, and not on politics. What you have to remember here is that a little while before the election, Scotland held a referendum on whether to secede from Britain or not. The referendum had a very good turn-out, and decided not to secede.

The General Election some months later saw voters vote very strongly in favour of the SNP (a strongly nationalistic, but very Socialist party), turning away from other, similar parties.

The SNP want more power to be devolved to them. To achieve this, however, they are reliant on the promises made by the Conservative Party prior to the last election being kept, and there isn't much obligation to keep these promises. As one does not persuade a greater power to grant a favour by being a continual pain in the arse, then I would suspect that the SNP will entirely abstain from the debate, unless they are much more stupid than they appear to be.

If they decide to intervene, then there is then not a lot to stop the English from deciding to intervene in Scotland, and getting things entirely their own way. As the SNP have up to now put on entirely assumed airs of leadership and power, having their noses rubbed in any mess they might make for themselves is not something they would wish to happen, especially as the animal rights movement here have no political capital to lend them in recompense for any such action.

Mary Pang said...

This has not made news in the UK, this is the first I've heard of it!

Ian Logan said...

first off I declare an interest. I am a supporter of the SNP. However after reading previous articles on Terrierman I was happy for the SNP to abstain.

It looks like the SNP are going to vote against lifting the ban. This has very little to do with animal rights and all to do with politics. In the run up to the independence referendum Scots were promised "The most powerful devolved parliament in the developed world". "Scotland should lead the UK not leave the UK". We were told that if we voted No then we would get "Near Federalism within the greatest parliamentary union in history" The morning after the vote David Cameron stood on the steps of No.10 and basicly stuck two fingers up to Scotland and said "P**s off Jock we got the vote now get back into your box" This was reflected in the SNP landslide victory in the last Westminster general election where the SNP took 56 of the 59 seats in Scotland.

Since the Tories won the recent UK GE things have gone from bad to worse with the government voting down the 100 plus amendments to the Scotland bill proposed by the SNP. Voting against the Tory government is much more about tactics than foxes.

A more detailed explanation can be found here.

Mary Pang said...

Yep, it's hit the news! Focus isn't fox hunting but the SNP/slim Tory majority.

Ian Logan said...

Since winning the general election the tories have been playing hardball with Scotland. It was okay when Scotland returned Labour, LibDem and Conservative MPs from the unionist parties and the SNP made up 6 of the 59 MPs. Now all of a sudden they are trying to downgrade the status of Scottish MPs because Scotland overwhelmingly voted for the SNP. Oh and the one and only Scottish tory MP can veto the remaining 58 Scottish MPs. Democracy Westminster style.

Anyway the vote failed because the Cameron could not trust his own backbenchers. It would have been the first defeat of his government. A timely reminder for him that his majority is in fact weaker than that of the last fully tory government under John Major and that didn't end well.

On a lighter note I read that Washington had a visit from Nigel Farage (UKIP) yesterday. If the SNP manages to drive Farage into such an apoplectic rage then they must be doing something right.