Richard Ord: Fox hunting – back by unpopular demand

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A fox ran up our street last week. It barely glanced up as it trotted along the road, its bushy tail illuminated by the street lamps as it weaved in between the wheelie bins.

It is, for a town dweller like myself, a rare and, let’s be honest, beautiful sight.

It all happened so quickly, I barely had time to reach for my mobile to take a picture for the kids.

I did, however, have time to reach out and grab the reins of my trusty steed Hercules and in one swift motion I vaulted onto his saddle, blew an ear-piercing call from my hunting horn (I never leave home without it) and bellowed to my wife “release the hounds, we’ve got a runner…”

Of all the policies appearing on the parties’ General Election manifestos, the Tory call bring back foxhunting has particularly wound me up. Why on earth would we want to bring back this bizarre and barbaric tradition?

Surely it can’t be by public demand?

I don’t get out as much as I used to, but is it really the talk in boozers up and down the country.

Border controls, the death penalty, Arsene Wenger, the NHS and Britain’s Got Talent, yes. But I’ve yet to hear anyone in our community moan: “the fox situation is getting out of hand. Isn’t about time we brought back foxhunting?”

Hadn’t we all agreed some time back that it really wasn’t very nice? Like badger baiting and cock fighting.

As a nation, we’d moved on. Of course, those posh types could still dress up in their natty red jackets, jodhpurs and ride about the countryside with their dogs.

That tradition could go on. Blowing their horns, quaffing their Pimms and talking down to the oiks. That’s all fine by me, man’s got have a hobby.

But we’d decided that it shouldn’t end with a fox being ripped to bits by hounds.

It made sense. They could keep the dressing up tradition going, just like Morris dancing and war reenactment societies. No harm in that. My kids used to love trips out into the countryside to various castles and watch reenactment groups playing out famous old battles like the Roundheads versus Cavaliers. The players would be dressed in full battle regalia, firing fake muskets blasting out puffs of smoke.

Imagine if a political party demanded a free vote on reenactment battles being allowed to use live ammo on each other.

Theresa May is always harping on Brexit being about following the will of the people. Since when did the majority call for fox shredding to return?

If it does make a comeback, will the working classes be allowed to join in?

My idea of working class foxhunt would be a Gatling gun mounted on the back of a transit van supported by a team of adolescents on mini motos chasing down foxes while chugging on cans of Fosters and blowing rave whistles. What’s the bet if that was the tradition, the Tories wouldn’t be calling for its return.