The Grumpy Vegan discovers a fascinating insight into the politics of the UK bloodsports ban from reading Ian Pedler’s Save Our Stags. On page 324 Ian Pedler refers to an article from The Guardian published on January 17 2001 which reports on an email written by David Maclean, Conservative MP for Penrith and the Borders, who, as a backbencher, was responsible for coordinating opposition to the hunting ban. Maclean wrote on March 1 2000
We must work on the assumption that, in 12 months time, there will be legislation on the statute book banning hunting with dogs. I think that the banning option is impossible to enforce and, once we stir up the police about its weaknesses, they will be terrified of trying to implement it. However, it is absolutely vital that the legislation is as flawed and sloppy as possible. The Lords must not clean it up. I want every inconsistency, every dubiety, every ambiguity left in. If the law is clear, then we are finished, because most us will not break the law. However, the endgame must be that, on the day that a hunting ban comes into force, we can all turn out with our doggies to go walking, and the police and learned professors of law will all say that probably no crime is being committed because the law is so unclear.
Fast forward to 21 August 2007 and this is what David Cameron, MP, leader of the Conservative Party, says
I am not a big fan of government banning things and I don’t think that the current law is working or even credible. That is why I have said that a future Conservative government would make time available for a vote whether to repeal the hunting ban, but it would be a free vote for Conservative MPs.
So, there you have it. The 100-year-plus struggle, including a ten-year-plus battle in Parliament, to pass legislation banning bloodsports turns out to include an inbuilt redundancy that will be activated should the Conservatives form the next government.