Royals and Foxes
While I have always subscribed to the view that "He prayeth best that loveth best all creatures great and small" I have generally regarded fox-hunting as a barbaric but remote practice. Something that was neither of immediate concern to New Zealand nor near the top of the list of evils afflicting this unhappy world. Last night I happened to hear the subject debated on BBC world and was reminded just how alien a species a traditional British Tory is to a New Zealander (and no doubt to most British). Suddenly it wasn't just about foxes any more. It was about a pompous windbag being able to declaim that "in the home of democracy itself [well they did get universal suffrage in 1928] the government is putting vermin ahead of individual liberty" without anyone in an international panel crying "bullshit".
Today we learn that the current and future monarch of New Zealand are both apparently prepared to put the interests of their own privileged class ahead of their constitutional duty and the clear wishes of the majority of their subjects and their duly elected representatives - to say nothing of (I suspect) the near-unanimous view of Her Majesty's New Zealand subjects. This is deeply disturbing to those of us who have tempered our distaste for the corrupt (and unNZ) privilege represented by the monarchy, with respect if not affection for the personality of the incumbent.
The argument that hunting is a town versus country thing and that "Blair doesn't understand the country" is a crock. Hunting splits people who own country estates and apartments in Belgravia from everyone else - and the country would get by just fine without them. Nor is their any merit in the "individual liberty" claim . Dog-fighting has been illegal in Britain since 1885. If it is a crime for working-class men to watch two dogs tearing each other apart, why should it be legal for the gentry to watch a whole pack of dogs tearing a hapless wild animal apart? One might as well argue that the legal age of consent denies the individual liberty of paedophiles.
Nor is anyone banning people from riding to hounds - just from inhumane killing. Drag hunts (where nothing gets killed) are already popular in England and many other countries (including NZ). True they tend to demand higher standards of horsemanship than many traditional hunts but there is no reason why lower-grade drag hunts could not be set up for gentlefolk who were too old or too drunk for the real thing.
If the report of the Queen's (or Prince Charles') positions on a law that is only bringing England into line with Scotland, New Zealand and other Commonwealth countries should be confirmed then their fitness to be the monarch of New Zealand (or leader of the Commonwealth) comes in to question. Perhaps the Republic needs to roll on a little faster.