Labour and Democracy V Hunters and Conservatives

The votes on hunting throughout the Labour government were free votes. Meaning we saw true representative democracy; MP’s voted for what they thought was right, what they thought their constituents wanted and most importantly what they thought would help them get re-elected. This means that there can be no protestation that MP’s only voted for a ban because they were whipped as such, and certainly not that voters did not really want a ban. The Lord’s may have tried to block the ban, and the old conservative establishment might have prevented the ban since 1949; but in the end democracy won out. Eventually, in 2004, the thousands of protesters, the millions of supporters and more than fifty years worth of cries were heard. Yet it is amazing how closely the vote was to traditional party lines despite the free vote, there will be no Conservatives who voted for the ban left after the next election, they are still a party full of hunters.

It is recent legislation, it is popular legislation and every independent poll shows it has public support. In fact the main criticism of the ban has been that it does not go far enough, and that it is not being policed stringently. These criticisms are to a large extent fair, but this is no reason to step back into the past and legalise bloodlust.

So on what democratic authority can Conservatives call for repeal?

There are those who will argue that if the Conservatives win the next election with a majority they will have a mandate to vote on repeal, it will be democracy in action. But that is simply not true; if the Conservatives win the next election they will not have majority support it is the nature of our electoral system; effective governments can be formed with 35%  vote share. Exempting one independent a sprinkling of Liberal Democrats and some Northern Irish MP’s only Conservatives voted to keep foxhunting completely unlicensed. Unless by some bloodthirsty hunter’s fantasy the Conservatives get a fifty percent share of the vote, there can be no real claims of democratic mandate, most people will vote for parties who are against fox hunting.

We are all wise enough to understand that with unemployment, public service cuts and issues of trust, foxhunting is not high on the priority list for most voters. This will only help the Conservatives sneak repeal minded candidates into Parliament unnoticed. Do not believe claims by some Conservatives that they do not support hunting, only the right to hunt; they are still funded by the hunting lobby, their core voters are hunters, many Conservatives (including Cameron) are brought up in a culture of hunting. They obviously put their own self interest, their own bloodthirsty pastimes above majority opinion. By repealing the ban they will oppose democracy, let us hope it takes the repealers more than the 56 years we spent, to get their evil way.

Rob Brown


2 Responses to “Labour and Democracy V Hunters and Conservatives”

  1. October 15, 2009 at 3:03 pm

    Hey, I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say GREAT blog!…..I”ll be checking in on a regularly now….Keep up the good work! 🙂

    – Marc Shaw

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