Broken Laws

When something is broken, what should be done about it?

For example, if an expensive watch has stopped telling the time do you a) throw it away, b) leave it to provide nothing more than a pretty but useless ornament, or c) have it fixed to fulfil it’s original purpose? Another example might be if a law to stop people driving without wearing seat-belts was flawed in some way should we a) repeal the law and allow everybody to go without wearing seat-belts, b) leave it as it is and allow some people to go on risking theirs and others lives, or c) amend the law to have everyone safely “clunk-clicking”? This later example was the case in late 2007; those ”engaged in making local rounds of deliveries” were exempt from being lawfully obliged to wear a seat-belt. This exemption needed to be fixed to make the law better and to save more lives, especially when one considers that many road accidents occur near to the home (local). And so it was by an amendment to the Draft Motor Vehicles (Wearing of Seat Belts) Regulations 2005. 🙂

So in a brief – one time only – departure from the normal rules than ban politics from this blog, lets take a look at a current and topical issue… The ban on fox hunting with dogs. As the site’s editor I’m allowed to flex my own rules! 😉

So what of the Tory plans to repeal the law banning fox hunting with dogs should they be elected to government next year? This is probably what we might call a broken law – it’s extremely difficult to enforce because it’s just too easy for hunts to present that a fox was accidentally killed by their pack of hounds whilst engaged in a legal drag-hunt. Therefore the police simply don’t bother enforcing it. Although perhaps some of that lack of enforcement is because the police are fearful of the mighty land owning hunt management? However, there are likely other flaws too. So, what is the right option, a) repeal the law and go back to legalised hunting with dogs, b) leave it as it is and let a very vocal minority of hunt protagonists get away with “accidental” fox deaths, or c) fix the law?

I know which option I like, every time something – anything – is broken and I have the skill to fix it, my answer will be to fix it, not bin it.

I guess it comes down to what kind of society do we want. One that condemns blood sports, or one that condones them?

Fox Cub

So why does this issue simply refuse to go away? The hunts suggest all sorts of reasons, even the one above about it being an un-workable or broken law, but they also cite tradition… Sure, fox hunting is a fine old tradition – along with bear baiting, cock fighting, breaking badger’s jaws to give jack russels a fair fight, deporting children to Botany Bay, the rack, etc. That isn’t really it is it. Traditions come and go, and of course it takes a long time for them to do either. I’d suggest at least a lifetime. The time it takes for any change to take affect is really how long it takes for all those who can remember how “great things used to be” before something was changed (and made better) take to move on. For example, implementing a major new business process in a large organisation only really succeeds with lots of management buy-in and often (sadly) when some of the old-timers leave. If only I had £1 for every time I’ve heard the phrase “But, we’ve always done it like this”! Thing is, the only constant in life is change. So I feel that in the case of hunts, it’ll only be when some of the hunters pass-away that this change will finally find it’s way in to contemporary culture.

Almost everyone hates change to some extent, we are all human and like some sort of predictability, a constancy in our lives. It makes us feel safe.

Of course another side of traditions, like Xmas for example, is the social gathering. It must be great to meet your friends and go for a fantastic and adventurous, in that you don’t quite know where the chase might take you, ride across open country side! 😛 But does a fox have to risk being torn apart whilst still alive to provide that social and adventurous activity? In fact I’d argue that a well laid drag-hunt would provide a more exciting chase. What is more, that trail could be laid to take in to account the abilities of those on the meet and avoid unnecessary or dangerous obstacles. In other words, the actual horse riding and “treasure hunt” aspects of the meet could and should be better without a fox having to risk death.

A problem with the hunts is that they often come from wealthy and influential circles, allowing their vocal insistence to keep this topic in the headlines bear no relation to the size of their minority. Just look at the people supporting the hunts on the TV – not one of those people lives on a council or ex-council estate. According to a Mori poll, 77% of people are strongly against a repeal of the ban on fox hunting with dogs.

Do we live in a democracy? Well, I hope so, but to be honest sometimes I doubt it. All politicians are dubious people – just look at the cross-party scandal around MP’s expenses! So considering that the Tory party is a party from wealthy and influential origins, a repeal of this law (albeit somewhat broken and in need of repair) is just another example of a political ruling class taking it’s queues from it’s peers and not from the 77% of citizens who want to keep and fix it. How many of those 77% will be swayed in how they vote based on this issue? Probably none. 🙁

It’s sad that the environment always comes second isn’t it… :angry:

22 thoughts on “Broken Laws”

  1. The problem is of course that we don’t live in a democracy in the way you want it Pete. If we made laws on Mori polls we’d have capital punishment back for certain crimes and a referendum on Europe.
    We elect our polititions to take decisions for us… if you don’t like it then vote for the other lot!! I didn’t vote for the shambles we’ve got now, but I’ve had 12 years of mis-management, waste and class-ridden politics. Thats life.
    I’ve put a pic of one of your furry friends for you to insert Pete.

    1. Ah, good on the little critter – it’s gotta eat! It’s a bit like your collecting the fruit from trees in old orchards, or sloe and blackberry picking…

      What is the “way [I] want it” Ian? That 77% of people have a view that a potential government want to ignore seems undemocratic to me. Doesn’t it you? 77% is certainly a majority – isn’t that the way democracy is supposed to work? I’m not making any point what-so-ever about whether the current or past government has been democratic, just that if the Tory party are already stating that they won’t be on this issue…

      Anyway, at no point did I say I liked foxes per se, or wish to see their numbers not aggressively controlled to protect livestock. What I’m against is tearing them limb from limb for “sport” to satiate upper class traditions.

      Oh, and foxes have hair, not fur. 😉

  2. 😯 😯 😯 PS. Of course I forgot to mention, in your true democracy, Simon Cowell would be PM. Hmmmm.. probably no bad thing. I wonder if Cheryl Cole would be Home Secretary??

  3. Some traditions are worth keeping, even if those who have no interest in our heritage are interested in them. What came before is what has made us what we are…. we should at least recognise that.
    Of course, I might go out and bolt Stanage, 👿 its only tradition that doesn’t recognise the need of modern climbers; and certainly the Health and Safety arm of the left wing loonies in power would love me!! :sarcy:

    1. Sure, good stuff is worth keeping. But bad stuff – like barbaric blood sports that exist to entertain the upper class are not. Of course, as I’ve said, they like all of us are entitled to their leisure – and drag-hunts are a great way to make the exciting charging-around-on-horses bit better. Plus if done properly (not as they do now, which is basically just a cover to carry on tearing living animals to bits) it would preserve the tradition! All of that is why it’s called “change”, the ban could be used to change this for the better, but instead the hunters cry for more blood. Is that you idea of civilised?

  4. Pete, I agree with you that change is important and something that has become irrelevant to the present day should not be protected because of tradition but I cannot agree that legislation is always the way to go in this case.

    The problem with fox hunting is that it fails to follow the majority of foxes; which now live in the towns and cities. Fox hunting with dogs has become disliked by such a large majority of the pole answering public because it has failed to keep-up with a fast changing world and stay relevant to modern society. To achieve relevance I would like to see fox hunting moved to the town and cities (where most foxes are), horses dumped in favour of nicked twist and goes (with the body work removed), traditional attire replaced with three strip trackies and the dog pack to consist of pit bulls called Tyson. I believe that these changes would reverse the voting balance you quote and therefore fox hunting with hounds would be okay again.

    By your logic 😆

  5. Colin, I have ignored the boys’ scrapping (it’s all so predictable 🙂 and just read your post, but some of it is like a foreign language to me! However, great idea to extend hunting to the cities – although I don’t ride well enough to partake in the country perhaps I could manage the urban version; maybe I need to buy, sorry, steal, a pit bull and tracksuit??

  6. Be thankful that the Tories have had the decency to announce they’re going to do this before the election. They could have just followed the tried and traditional approach of not mentioning an unpopular policy until after being elected and then implementing it. 🙁

    There are lots of things not to like about politicians. Firing the heads of “independent” bodies who dare to have views that are supported by science but happen to disagree with yours springs to mind this week. Announcing the policies they will campaign for at the next election is not one of them, in my opinion.

    Not, I hasten to add, that I like the idea of the law being repealed any more than you do. It’s another reason not to vote for the Tories. Now then, is there anyone left *to* vote for? 🙁

  7. 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆

    1. You’re not really listening are you Ian – have you actually read what I’ve written? Or more likely have you just focussed on your broad view that hunting is okay? Break it down – what aspects are okay, and what aren’t…

      Boris has a phrase, “Don’t confuse me with the facts, I’ve already made my mind up.”

      I think this applies here, I’m happy for people to thrash about on horses and enjoy a Sunday morning social. I even think that the opportunity is there for the ban to make the horse riding part even better; an opportunity that is being ignored by the bloody minded (pun intended) hunts. I’m also happy to have fox numbers controlled (especially in the city as Colin points out). The bit that is unnecessary in a modern context is brutal destruction of natural wildlife.

      What is your position on the Chinese killing tigers for their traditional remedies? Is that something that should be stopped/changed?

  8. You’ve misunderstood me Pete. I’m not really bothered one way or the other on hunting. What really riles is the amount of time and the importance this govt. gave to the issue. What about going to war?? For how long did the MPs debate that issue?? There are a lot more important issues to be dealt with. And who’s going to police it?? I’d rather have more police on the streets in places like Sutton to prevent yobs kicking some poor bloke to death.
    I still think the fox population needs to be controlled; infact more have been killed since the ban came in because landowners are just shooting them. it used to be in landowners interest to keep a healthy fox population by promoting their habitat, such as copses. Not any more. The rural fox will be killed off and driven into the urban areas, where it will certainly become a pest. Probably not the outcome the fox supporters wanted.

    Of course the tiger is an endangered species so I’m all for protecting them. As for the fox……. I don’t really care

    1. I agree with Ian about the amount of time I believe is wasted on discussing this issue by idiot mps that don’t know the first thing about real life (on all sides). It’s our tax paying money that’s going down the pan.
      I also agree that the fox population needs to be controlled.
      I understand that people get pleasure out of chasing and killing animals – it’s human nature (and women do it all the time to men (killing their will to live apparently)). But just because, as humans, we like it and just because we can do it, doesn’t mean we should.

      Talking of controlling populations…. there are a few others that could do with being controlled.

  9. Oooeer Tish… 😯 I don’t know any women like that 🙂

    And of course, the local rodent population is successfully controlled by Andromeda, our cat. 😉

    Cue Pete…………………….. 😉

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