From the Winter 2004 issue of Nobbut Torver.
So they’ve done it at last! After ten banning bills in ten years, over 700 hours of parliamentary debate and only the fourth use of the Parliament Act in 55 years, our brave legislators have finally shot the hunters’ fox - or, at least, made sure he will be shot, or snared, or strychnined next year. I bet old Renard’s whooping it up tonight.
But the hunters really should not be down-hearted. Let’s face it, galloping around the countryside blowing horns and shouting “Tally ho!” at the top of your voice is hardly the ultimate in sensory delight, is it? It must be almost as boring as fishing once you’ve done it a few times. I bet it’s been much more fun for the hunt saboteurs (God bless’em), out there running over hounds and maiming horses in the name of animal welfare.
But now that’s all changed. Parliament has taken a rather dull, mundane pastime and, with a stroke of the legislative quill, turned it into a true sport to rival Women’s Nude Rugby and Invading Small Countries in its magnificent spectacle. That was not exactly what the politicians intended but their stupidity has indeed made it so. You see, an essential consideration when enacting a piece of legislation is enforceability. If you create an arrestable offence you have got to be sure that you are able to arrest the perpetrator and thus enforce the law. That’s where the fun begins. How do you arrest a hunt?
I don’t know how many huntsman can be expected to turn out for a meet but I have no doubt that with a little basic organisation a gathering of 200 or more could be managed. 200 horsemen and women along with their kiddies and a pack of hounds racing across the the green sward in pursuit of Basil Brush, and they themselves closely pursued by ..... what? ..... who?
Its all right for these silly politicos to just whistle up Mr Plod and expect him to bring the criminals to book, but how exactly is that bastion of the law supposed to bring this about? I know we do have a few mounted policemen especially trained for trampling over protesters and looking jolly splendid in straight lines, but the thought of these gallant gentlemen in full flight leaping over farm gates and hawthorne hedges to the cry of “I arrest you in the name of the law!” does stretch the imagination a tadge. (Mr Blunkett did mention putting CCTV cameras up trees but we can dismiss that with a bored retort. A 12 bored retort should do it!)
I suppose they could throw a mounted cordon around a few thousand acres of fell country and close in from all sides .....
Anyway, let’s move on. The brigands are caught on Walna Scar, and arrests made - 200 adults to be read their rights, cuffed and carted down the nick. OK, so what about the horses? 200 horse handlers please step forward to take control of the mounts and take them to ..... er ..... somewhere. So far, so good. Now, can we get the dog handlers up here please to get all these damned hounds under control? “Yes, ..... that’s it..... grab it, Constable..... Well, close your legs next time, now get after it!” Oh, and we’d better have the RSPCA people standing by for animal welfare monitoring.
“Scuse me, Sarg, what d’yer want me to do with all these kids? 87 of ‘em, Sarg, more or less. Oi! Gimme back my ‘elmet, you little ..... child, you!”