Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Let me be the nth person today to say we live in troubled times. And I don't mean Iraq, or terrorism (threat), I mean I think we're losing it when it comes to basic human respect.

I just spent a four hour drive to Manchester listening to the reports on the alleged police violence at the Anti Hunting Ban demonstration in Parliament Square, the storming of the house, and the Commons being suspended. (Read the Guardian coverage here.)

Now, as you know, I'm not rural. I can't read a map, or talk to animals. I can negotiate a mobile phone contract at thirty paces, argue with a traffic warden (and win), and walk purposefully through the supposedly dangerous streets of Kilburn. I'm urban, almost as urban as they come. That's not to say I don't like the country; I love hill walking, and even cycling if it's flat, and I've spent many wonderful weekends in North Wales, The Peak National Park and Shropshire getting to know our beautiful country. (Although I did miss the web acess).

And I'm a vegetarian, of sorts.

This is all a precursor to saying that I don't understand about hunting, and I probably don't agree with it.

But I do believe in basic human respect, and giving people a democratic voice (ie the right to peaceful protest), and while I don't want to say "what's the country coming to?" I can't help wondering how we got in this fine mess.

That's my New Year's message, such as it is. Do you think they'll give me some Van Dal shoes and an old-lady handbag?

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