back to front - foxes and chickens


WHAT BRAVE men and women our MPs are! Too cowardly to stand up to Blair over Iraq, over tuition fees, over industrial destruction over...well, you name it, they have finally stood up for a vicious if rather cute-looking bit of carnivorous vermin. (At least, it looks cute if you're not a real chicken.)

It seems almost unbelievable that MPs are prepared to provoke a constitutional crisis over the Parliament Act on such an issue. Had they wanted to demonstrate their independence and assert their duty to speak for their constituents, they had ample opportunity to do so over the past seven years, on issues of the future of the country and of life and death for human beings.

Those workers in the countryside who are dependent on hunting are now faced, virtually overnight, with the loss of their livelihoods. Whatever people think of hunting, this is no way to end it.

It is the disgraceful outcome of a shabby process riddled with self-importance, pursued by a political class that has consistently allowed the countryside to be trampled on. Thanks to Westminster's subservience to the Common Agricultural Policy, work is hard to come by. Good land is "set aside" for subsidy rather than producing food for the nation. Housing is too expensive for those that do find work. And what do MPs do? They ban hunting with dogs.

With Christmas coming, it should be the time to show goodwill to all men before favouring foxes. Instead British troops occupy Iraq, supporting the Americans as they lay waste to whole towns and cities. Reputable (and US-based) research shows that at least 100,000 Iraqis have died since the start of the war, with Falluja in smoking ruins. How could we begin to explain this to someone in Iraq? Even to think of MPs' determination to flex their muscles over foxes rather than the war should make everyone in Britain deeply ashamed.

If the countryside now sees the House of Commons as the enemy, MPs have only themselves to blame. The whole gang deserve to be hunted down — with hounds, preferably.