The Fox Hunting free vote is scheduled for Wednesday, September 15. It will be pushed through the commons pronto and the Lords may put up a fight, but the implementation will be delayed for two years – straddling the election. (If M’Lords rejected it, the Government would invoke the Parliament Act on the version of the Bill blocked by the Lords last year, which would impose a ban three months after Royal Assent.) The Tories are committed to reverse the measure.
So is this Fox hunting fudge political genius or stupidity? Rural Middle England will surely desert Blair and return to the Tories at the election. But will it be compensated for by shoring up his left-wing base? Dennis Skinner says of the Bill “That will do”.
Old Michael Heseltine says the obvious
“There are angry men and women out there – angry that their traditional, historic practices are to be swept aside. The fact is that there are deep class resentments based in the anti-hunting lobby.”
On balance it presents little risk for Blair. Toffs are a small persecuted minority. Guido will methinks be off to Ireland to hunt – its more fun there anyway.