Foxhunters should hang on to their ban
It is three years since the ban on foxhunting was imposed, and the shires, sensing a Cameron victory in the next election, are calling on their party to reiterate its commitment to an outright repeal in the first session of the new parliament.
In my view, this would be a very un-Tory thing to do. Far better to leave well alone. Hunting conditions under the new law are very far from ideal, but they are unimaginably better than the banners hoped for, and the hunters feared. So the hunters would be mad to press their luck.
Statesmanship is the art of the possible and in the circumstances of modern urban England, there can never be a consensual return to the good old days when hounds were free to kill a fox in the savage manner dictated by nature.
High Toryism is or should be a policy of making the best of an un-Tory world, a never-ending rearguard action, and this means being thankful for small mercies; settling, wherever possible, for compromise.
At the moment, the hunters can plausibly present themselves as the underdogs, the persecuted, the victims, and they should hang onto that advantageous status like blue murder. Hunting triumphalism - which is what a repeal would ignite - could reopen all the old wounds.
Last time I argued the toss about this was with a Master of Fox Hounds. He complained that the fear of breaking the un-repealed law spoilt the fun. As a naturally law-abiding citizen, it went against the grain.
Since he was making this self-righteous claim from the driving seat of a purring Aston Martin, after a gloriously bibulous dinner, my withers remained un-wrung. ·
Comments are now closed on this article