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The Hunt Is Off

You've probably seen the pictures on CBS News. Of those five demonstrators, cantering into the chamber of the British Parliament - the first time it has been invaded since the days of King Charles the First. Mind you, he took a troop of soldiers in with him when he did it in 1642.

Now, last week's demonstration has caused the great and the good, or if you prefer, the people in power, to huff and puff and say "it's disgraceful" and, as one fool cried, "they should all go to prison". In fact, the five demonstrators in Parliament as well as the man who stood on a ledge of Buckingham Palace dressed as Batman, demonstrating in favour of divorced fathers, deserve a public vote of thanks for proving just how pathetic British security is and how vulnerable our leaders have become. And how out of touch they are.

The reason for both protests was simple ….that sections of society believe that Parliament and the democratic process have failed them. And therefore they feel they have nothing to lose. In Britain, after centuries of popularity, foxhunting is now to be banned, with the loss of a way of life ... and six thousand jobs. No sincerely tolerant society could subject a minority to such a ban. Or spend huge amounts of Parliamentary time and energy on getting it through. Not when British soldiers are in harms way in Iraq, we're under threat from global terrorism and Iran and North Korea are on the verge of nuclear weapons.

In this country, while most of us continue to eat chicken and other meat reared in pretty dodgy ways, this new law will lead to violence and division in our society.

From Watt Tyler to the suffragettes and the war in Iraq, the streets of London are where the cries of protest have always been heard. On this occasion though, it won't just be the tax paying classes who will be criminalized … it'll be eight year old, pig tailed girls riding their ponies to the local hunt.

It's a law aimed fair and square at families who have lived in the countryside for generations and not just families with money. And the law is unenforceable - but the police will be told to enforce it. Hundreds will be arrested, charged and somehow processed through the courts. Thousands will protest with increasing violence as our next election draws closer. Has Mr. Blair bitten off more than he can chew?

By Simon Bates

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