Now I know how the fox feels

November 26, 2004 ,

IT'S not for me to offer advice to pro-fox hunting demonstrators, but the violence of their recent protests will backfire on them.

Last week at the Holland House Hotel the city of Cardiff witnessed, for the first time, scenes we have become familiar with at Westminster.

Not content with exercising their legitimate right to protest against the House of Commons decision to ban hunting with hounds, the protestors attacked the police and members of the public going about their legitimate business.

Eggs and more dangerous missiles were thrown, and an attempt was made to storm the building. A policeman told me his colleague's helmet was split in two when he was hit over the head with a cricket bat, and ended up in hospital.
One person who managed to get through the baying mob told me, "Now I know how the fox feels."

The level of aggression took the local police by surprise, and they should be commended for the remarkable restraint they showed when under attack.
If steps are not taken by the Countryside Alliance and others to rein in this violence, somebody is going to get seriously injured or killed.

In a typically British way there was a Dunkirk spirit amongst those locked inside the hotel while the riot went on outside. One person joked that they felt they were at the celebration dinner for the Ukrainian elections, rather than a party fundraising event.

Ironically the demonstrators could probably generate some sympathy for their cause through peaceful civil disobedience.
But they seem intent on the dangerous path of confrontation and violence.

In summing up the foxhunting debate in the House of Commons, opposition spokesman James Gray declared 'Cry havoc, and let loose the dogs of war."

If the violence escalates further these are words which will come back to haunt him.