Votes were accepted by phone, text and email and the poll closed last week, the winner being declared last night at an awards ceremony. There will be a brioadcast of this on Sunday night.
The award was accepted by the ever-splendid Kate Hoey MP and occupier of a particularly nice niche in The Huntsman’s Pantheon and Baroness Mallalieu. The latter berated the Government for being guilty of the ‘insolence of office’1 and made it plain – to governments of all hues – that the matter of the countryside has not gone away but awaits any administration in the future, there being, as she said, ‘unfinished business’.
The Countryside Alliance’s Chief Executive Simon Hart said this:
This win is a great shot in the arm for the Countryside Alliance at the start of 2008. It is clear that we were short listed primarily because of the hunting issue and our vocal campaigning style. Our ongoing tenacity and support for the hunting community will remain at the core of what we do, but Channel 4 also acknowledged our broader reach, naming our ‘defence of rural life’.
The Countryside Alliance believes that, when it comes to that defence of rural life, it’s ‘all of us or none of us’. This belief in unity makes last night’s victory all the sweeter; the acclaim is for all of us. Everyone who has marched, signed petitions, written to their MP, volunteered or worked for the Alliance and stoically continued to participate in and defend country sports and the rural way of life for the past decade can rightly claim this award as their own.
He is, I fear, too modest. The Alliance has indeed been a triumph of campaigning and under its aegis it is to be hoped that, shortly after the inception of a new Conservative Government, their efforts will be rewarded with a simple one line Bill removing the Hunting Act 2004 from the statute book. Then the business of putting in place a system of regulation of hunting that is workable and proportionate can be initiated which will hopefully show itself to be a healthy compromise of the sort at which we excel as a nation that will draw the sting of the poisonous and bigoted class-warriors.
These creatures from the perma-slime were on duty at the awards ceremony, as Fraser Nelson reports in The Coffee House today. He reports how this boorish filth booed and catcalled as the award was announced and handed over by Jeremy Irons. Most decent people, even if they disagree with hunting (which they are perfectly entitled to do) will find such behaviour repellent. Those of us who support the aims of the Alliance, however, will derive considerable pleasure at the discomfiture of the boors.