For Fox Sake
politicised me. At thirteen, I was milling around in the playground of
Clare Secondary Modern School, West Suffolk, way back in 1967, when a
number of us children spotted the hunt on the horizon, chasing an
invisible fox. Quickly the fox turned into a visible dot, growing
bigger, as it changed direction and headed straight towards the
school. We all watched as the tired and terrified fox leapt 12 feet up
and over the fence skirting the playground. Only a few of the fit
beagles managed to get over the fence, while the fat dogs and their
whip-cracking masters yelped and shouted behind it. The fox was corned
and then half-ripped to pieces before our eyes. Arrogantly, the leader
of the hunt climbed the fence, huffing and puffing, pushed children
and dogs aside, grabbed the bloodied but kicking fox and threw it back
over the fence for the pack to finish off.
In 1967 over
20% of the children's fathers worked on the land. However, I only
found one person in the school who supported hunting after this event.
Not only the children cried. We had a Hindi supply teacher who wept
openly because, in terms of reincarnation, a human soul had been
brutally torn asunder. All in one day I had seen the pointless
savagery of the hunt, the utter arrogance of toffs and engaged with
the Hindu religion which seemed entirely more compassionate than
Christianity. Indeed, nothing of the incident was ever mentioned in
our Christian assembly, and nothing appeared in the local paper and no
apology, particularly to the children, was ever made. Yet, at a
personal level - remembering I was 13 - I became a tad rebellious at
school and hammered on and on about the importance of the Labour
Err, but this
incident happened under a Labour government?
deliberate delay of seven years, it appears the Labour government has
finally banned fox hunting - this potent symbol of the old aristocracy
meeting with the new ruling class's thirst for a brutal sport to
show town dwellers that those who own the land (and the beasts and
fruit upon it) own them too. Yet, the 18 month delay in implementing
the ban says everything about Blair, this government and the Labour
Blair's close friends is Lord Melvyn Bragg of Wigston - a Labourite
who is fervently pro-hunting, standing against the vast majority of
Labour MPs and the working class - like his friend Tony. I suggest
Blair is closer to Bragg now than anyone in his government (or
recently relieved of it). In terms of rising within the middle class
to play within the ruling class, Blair and Bragg share fiscal and
managerial dreams, their Christianity, nepotism over heirship and a
love of the hunt. Don't dismiss Melvyn Bragg's claim that Blair was
ready to resign earlier this summer because of a 'family matter.' B &
B are close indeed.
pressured by MPs and party activists, Blair had to implement the ban
on fox hunting but signal to his friends in the ruling class that
a 'delay' in implementing the ban maybe the ban's undoing. However,
who has enabled Blair's delay to the ban's immediate implementation? A
large majority of Labour MPs - spineless in the extreme!
girded the spines of her MPs (until one or two snapped), while Blair
has become master in manoeuvring around the spinelessness of his!
However, class forces, from right and left, are pushing and
pulling the mainstream parties on many fronts. Lib-Dems were often
accused of standing in the middle of the road where they'd be run
over. Their rhetorical opposition to the Iraq war seemed to give them
an edge but on the fox hunting ban their vote split down the middle
(of the road) between countryside and urban MPs!
Labour movement, Blair is being pressured by party activists and the
union bureaucracy to provide an ounce of reforms in the run up to the
next General Election. The Labour vote could go into melt-down at the
election but just remember that Blair entered the 1997
election promising a 'relationship' between Labour and the Lib-Dems.
Two landslides did not allow Blair that luxury. Yet, he wholly relied
on the Tories to go to war on Iraq! Blair's view is that he could do
well in a hung parliament - continuing the process of privatisation
unchallenged, going to war at leisure, retaining his nepotistic House
of Lords and legalising fox hunting for his friends.
front - from war to a symbolic fox hunt ban - it has never been a more
important time to build a socialist alternative to Labour.