Leading Article: Mr Blair Should Show Some Courage and Outfox His Critics
THE GOVERNMENT has dithered so long over the issue of blood sports that it is impossible to be sure that this year's fox- hunting season in England and Wales, which started yesterday, will be the last.
Although the duration of the Prime Minister's indecision is some indicator of his abiding desire not to offend people, it ought also to act as a warning. It is no test of tolerance to allow people to indulge in an activity to which no one objects.
Tony Blair seems to have a keen sense of the political risks of offending the self-appointed countryside movement, but he does not seem to see any connection between the difficulty he is having in enacting a simple ban and his own rhetoric of liberal toleration.
Once a Government gets to the point of considering the use of the Parliament Act to overrule the House of Lords, it needs to pause to think. It is simple enough to wonder whether the issue of fox- hunting is worth the resources of government and legislative time that have been tied up in it over the past five years. …