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A Man of Few Words - by Swan Morrison

The Debate

I was doubly excited as I climbed the stairway to the visitors’ gallery of the House of Commons. I had always wanted to visit the Palace of Westminster, but today had provided an additional bonus. It was the occasion of the fox hunting debate. I had not formed a personal opinion on this issue and so hoped that the cut and thrust of debate in the Chamber would lead me to conclude a view.

As I took my seat, the Honourable Member for Snodmorden West was beginning a speech in favour of a fox hunting ban. He explained that it was high time that the arrogant, over privileged upper classes got one in the eye. They all thought they were above the common people in respect of all matters including that of being subject to the law, and a hunting ban would jolly-well teach them otherwise. The Honourable Member for Grunlington supported this view by pointing out that ‘green wellied toffs’ had not been so willing to campaign when good working class leisure activities such as cock-fighting and badger-bating had been ruthlessly banned. It appeared that, just the previous week, the Honourable Member for Clodborough had had two pit-bulls and a perfectly good dancing bear impounded by the ‘so called’ authorities without a murmur being heard from ‘the other place’.

The case against a fox hunting ban was led by the Honourable Member for Horeington who, whilst agreeing with the need for ‘chinless wonders’ to get a ‘good kick up the backside’, suggested that the previous Honourable Members were adopting a dangerously limited perspective. He reminded the chamber that nobody took the ‘la-de-da’ types seriously, even if one was the adulterous heir to the throne. However, although the opponents of fox hunting were just a bunch of vegetarian do-gooders with a pathological obsession about political correctness, further increase in their power would represent an increasing risk to the ordinary man. The Honourable member for Standingroom Bottom took up this point, saying that it was now virtually impossible for anyone to do anything without infringing some aspect of barmy political correctness unless they happened to be a black, disabled, homosexual asylum seeker. He warned, however, that, before long, even this group would find they had infringed some petty piece of irrelevant guidance sponsored by the anti fox hunting lobby and their green, whale saving cronies.

Later as I left the chamber, I reflected that visiting the cradle of our democracy had wonderfully fulfilled one of my hopes for the day. On the subject of foxhunting, however, hearing debate from each perspective had left me with no clearer opinion than when I had arrived. I think these complexities were reflected in the final legislation which made compromises to both sides. The proposal to add five percent additional VAT specifically to the purchase of green wellies on one hand and, on the other, the decision to relax all legislation and guidance in respect of the labelling of tofu.