Wednesday, 19 March 2003

Orwell would be shocked

Blairite Britain

Obey! George Orwell, that patriotic English social critic, would be shocked. Blairite Britain offers more than passing reflections of his books "Animal Farm" on the corruption of power, "1984" on the manipulation of truth and "Burmese Days" on the corrosive impact of clubby elites, not to forget "Down and Out in London and Paris."

Start with the ridiculous, or what would be if it were not authoritarian and vindictive. A Blair government bill comes close to banning the environmentally sound pastime of hunting with dogs. It deserves the Orwellian subtitle "All mammals are equal but some are more equal than others."

Hunting of hare, deer, foxes and so on is either banned outright or tightly regulated. But rabbits are excluded. Setting your pet dog on a rabbit or your cat on a mouse is fine. They, like rats, are less equal mammals. Using birds of prey to hunt mammals of any sort is also O.K. You can kill almost anything with guns or worse, but using dogs to hunt foxes and hare is to be outlawed except in circumstances to be ordained by bureaucrats and committees.

Humans are allowed to slaughter deer, hare, foxes and other mammals, not to mention birds and fish. But hounds are not allowed to pursue their natural prey.

The Blair world is one in which laws are written to please social prejudices and the meat industry continues to treat animals with contempt. New Labour's upper class of gourmet lawyers and media acolytes prefer to condemn countryside sports than think about what was killed, and how, for their dinner parties. More serious distortion of reality to justify unsound policies has been seen in Tony Blair's desperation to get support for his alignment with George W. Bush on Iraq.

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