Sunday, May 15, 2005

The dog that didn't bark

We were talking in the committee room in Harborough on polling day. Someone remarked how little of an issue fox hunting had been in the campaign. It was not mentioned at the hustings: it was hardly mentioned on the doorstep.

This was in Harborough, the constituency which, along with Rutland and Melton, can claim to be the spiritual home of the sport. (Melton Mowbray was the social centre for hunting in the nineteenth century, but it became too expensive and too scandal ridden. So in Edwardian days the best people came to Market Harborough instead.)

A lot of people writing before the election seemed convinced that hunting would be the most important issue in every rural seat. This was never going to happen, and if it did not happen in Harborough, I doubt it happened anywhere.

Adrian Flook, the sitting Tory MP who was defeated when we won back Taunton, rather gave the game away. He told the Guardian he:
believed the key reason he will hold the seat is the influx of 4,000 new voters from the suburbs of London and Birmingham.
So most rural voters don't worry much about hunting at all, and certainly not enough for it to affect the way they vote.

I did not support the hunting ban. It seemed to me a late skirmish in the class war and I was not convinced that foxes would be any better off as a result. But we should not get the question out of proportion.

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