According to the Telegraph he is co-ordinating efforts to get some 30,000 young activists into some 108 marginal seats where there is a Labour or Liberal member opposed to Hunting. These supporters of an organisation which rejoices (or perhaps not) in the name Vote-OK, a subset of the Countryside Alliance, are providing many hours of their time to knock on doors, deliver leaflets, and address envelopes.
This is direct democracy in action, the sort of thing which has made the Liberal ‘Democrats’ so leech-like in some places.
Briefly The Huntsman resided in a Leicestershire constituency in the run-up to the 2005 election. At least once a week, sometimes twice, the Lib ‘Dems’ would shove a leaflet through the door without fail. It was most noticeable that the sitting Tory MP’s majority in a seat which ought to be a place for weighing rather than counting the Conservative votes had been cut from over 13,000 in 1992, 6,524 in 1997,5252 in 2001 down to a worrying 3,892 over the Lib ‘Dems’ in 2005.
So this sort of activism can work wonders. It is nice now to see Lib ‘Dem’ tactics being used against them and Labour MPs in marginal seats. In 2005 the campaign claimed to have help remove the scalps of nearly thirty MPs. Twenty-one anti-hunting MPs are within range of a modest 3% swing next time around.
Vote OK’s campaign is said to be more sophisticated and better-organised this time and, with the chances of a much more significant swing to the Tories next time around, their contribution may well be invaluable in removing a similar number and more of the Tories’ opponents in 2009 or 2010.
Many of these activists are said to be in their twenties and it is to be hoped that many will now have had their enthusiasm for political activism fired and many may then find their way into the ranks of the Tory party which desperately need an injection of youth into the ranks of its activists. We must all extend our thanks to these young folk for helping to deliver a smart smack on the snout of Townie Tyranny.
Meanwhile hunting itself goes from strength to strength. No less than 314 hunts held meets on Boxing Day which must have spread the hunt saboteur jam rather thin, itself a demoralising thing. The League Against Cruel Sports(LACS) has its annual whine about getting people to drag hunt if they want to ‘enjoy themselves’ reminding all and sundry that it is really the enjoyment of hunting which so offends these humourless and killjoy Puritans and not the killing of foxes.
In a move which will give further support to the notion that the Police act on politically correct imperatives rather than go out and chase real criminals such as burglars, bag-snatchers, rapists and the like, David Collins, Assistant Chief Constable for North Yorkshire, rural affairs spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers is reviewing how the Hunting Act is working and its impact on police forces and is said to be ‘drafting instructions’ to officers on how best to enforce the legislation. The Huntsman thinks that such ‘instructions’ can be quite short: “Don’t waste your valuable time on this rubbish.”
The people of North Yorkshire may well be inclined to question why this Officer (whose academic predilections are ‘Organisational Management’, ‘Applied Criminology and Police Studies’ and ‘Coaching & Mentoring’: whatever happened to good old-fashioned ‘thief-taking’?) is spending his time in this exercise instead of attending to the real needs of the people whom he is supposed to serve. His Chief Constable should be brought to account for this and render an explanation of how much of his subordinate’s time is being wasted in this way when he could be helping to improve, for example, detection rates or eliminating unnecessary paperwork.
In the meantime the Self-Appointed Vigilantes of the LACS puff up their chests and threaten yet more prosecutions. In between sniggering and laughing derisively, most of us will find it hard to wait with bated breath for such an eventuality as we contemplate the massive number of Prosecutions so far under the Act (twenty-odd, which is great achievement in the face of the thousands of people hunting, is it not?), almost all of which have involved footling offences that might just as well have been prosecuted under anti-Poaching legislation which has been around for the best part of a hundred and eighty years, is tried, tested and certain.
Thus, in time, we may see a perfect demonstration of the law of unintended consequences. By prodding a sleeping dog into activity, some MPs may have provoked the angry bite of rural resistance that removes their chance to vote on this and any other legislation for ever and a day and creates a new and youthful cadre of Tory-inclined voters just at the moment when Labour and the Liberal ‘Democrats’ are in electoral decline.
David Maclean still has a long way to go to atone for his rotten little bill but his support for Vote OK is a step in the right direction towards a niche in The Huntsman’s Pantheon. Whilst that is awaited, enjoy the discomfiture of the LACS and its bigoted parliamentary class-warrior lickspittles who spent 700 hours of Parliamentary time getting this Act on the statute book and cannot get it to work.
Finally the Labour Party should take note of one thing: country folk have learnt how to resist the oppression of the elective dictatorship and are fast developing a taste for it. It is a taste that, once acquired, is unlikely to go away. Be warned.