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Letter to Polly Toynbee - "Not civil war but treason &q

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David Bracewell

Joined: 14 Jan 2004
Posts: 41

Post Post subject: Letter to Polly Toynbee - "Not civil war but treason &q Reply with quote,3604,1306388,00.html

"Poking rich landowners into class warfare may be satisfying, but it is not a good enough reason to stop them doing something they passionately want to do. "

Dear Polly, you presumably also think that we should bring back dog-fighting and sustainable badger baiting. These three things share in common the idea that torture can be a sport. Only one is legal - the same one which largely bases itself in the middle-upper classes.

Hasn't your article and its defence of fox-hunting just serviced the notion that the "country party's expectation is still that wide acres should mean great power."? This "preposterous waste of political energy" of which your article comprises a modest part, is, after all, purely a function of the hunters' great status, power and resources.

Your depiction of the hunters is laughably poignant: a gallant last stand by the "passionate" against the initiators of the "preposterous" watched on by the "useless rump of sub-Thatcherite suburban "garagistes"". With this sort of publicity, I think I'll go tear a live fox apart.

Yet real passion expresses itself through enduring sacrifice - barely the state of these hunters. I suspect you've confused 'power' with 'passion' and so fail to recognise the power being exerted by them - on YOU (shades of the Blair method re Iraq). Those with the resources to effortlessly organise a drag-down fight which can inflict heavy damage on the body politic have persuaded you, after all, to go bat for 'liberalism' on their 'passionate' behalf.

The lesson I draw from your article is the opposite to your stated claim that these hunters have "lost the power and influence that once was their birthright". Your own article is testament to their clout. You've agreed with them in effect, adding to the "preposterous waste of political energy" by drawing on the liberal tradition to bolster their right. I search in vain for your 'liberal' defence of sustainable badger-baiting.

I think the point that you have missed, the only one worth making, is that banning fox hunting because it is fair in terms of current restrictions imposed on working class blood sports and right in terms of the protection of animals from torture, at whatever political cost, is a social victory of enormous magnitude. If the laws of the land are moving toward the humane and are applied evenly across classes, then the credibility of the political process can only be enhanced and the middle-upper class desire for a drag-down fight, whenever its 'democratic' exceptionalism is threatened, attenuated. In this sense your horse just failed to take the fence. Unless you write that defence of sustainable badger baiting, I expect we'll have to put it down.

I'm off for a little bugle practice.


David Bracewell
Sun Sep 19, 2004 8:15 am
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David Bracewell

Joined: 14 Jan 2004
Posts: 41

Post Post subject: Poly's reply Reply with quote

Polly's reply -

I know nothing of bear or badger baiting, but if it involves captive
animals it's a lot crueller than free wild foxes being chased and killed
the way they kill their own prey. I'd rather be a fox and come to a sticky
end than a pig, cow or hen. Farming is real cruelty.
Sun Sep 19, 2004 8:16 am
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David Bracewell

Joined: 14 Jan 2004
Posts: 41

Post Post subject: My reply to Polly Reply with quote

Dear Polly,

I paid a visit to the Foxes and pointed out the striking similarities between their behaviour and that of large pustulations of overbearing, well-fed 'hunters' astride massive chargers, riding to the whoop of horns and egging on a pack of equally well-fed and pitiless bloodhounds - and to be honest, they fairly spilt their ginger zingers through gales of merriment. It will take more than my skill to explain that their hunting - clever, silent, quick and necessary - had any analog in that of the fat county squires and their business partners down for the weekend.

Cruelty is possibly more my hedgerow than yours. Your jumps in this article were Labour's waste of political capital and energy on a non-issue and that "...Liberals should always be wary of banning people from doing as they like."

Since it is the pro-hunting, unelected House of Lords at the behest of their own class which has largely forced this expenditure of political energy we can say that your message at heart is to leave these people alone because unlike the electorate at large - say the millions of anti-war protesters - the establishment has teeth. What a dismal message.

In terms of your resort to the 'liberal' cannon of thought, the liberal proponent would actively seek out the overarching principle for the sake of ensuring universality. It coheres around this: if one person has the right to inflict torture on animals, we all do, in any way we please, since its what we like.

Without this deeper formulation, what you are asserting is exceptionalism, which you bolster as a form of political behaviour through your deference to those who have the muscle and unmerited political pull to turn an issue with deep electoral support into an energy-sapping fight for the government. This is at the opposite end of the spectrum to liberal thought.

I think we should just face it - you quite like the look of the hunt, the 'tradition' and the people who do it. That looks nice to you, like a terrier down a badger set looks nice to the badger baiter.

Best regards,
David Bracewell
Sun Sep 19, 2004 8:16 am
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