Charles Moore: The Spectator's Notes

By Moore, Charles | The Spectator, September 30, 2017 | Go to article overview

Charles Moore: The Spectator's Notes


Moore, Charles, The Spectator


You can see why Theresa May said in Florence that the British wished the European Union well in its plans for greater integration, while choosing a different path ourselves. There is no point in causing antagonism over what we cannot prevent. But in fact greater European integration will do great harm to all Europeans, including us. The rise of AfD in the German elections was caused almost entirely by Mrs Merkel's extraordinary decision to admit a million Middle Eastern migrants in a year. The spread of the Schengen area -- proposed by Jean-Claude Juncker -- combined with recrudescent migrant pressure can only confirm freedom of movement as the impossible issue of our time. The attempt to support the euro with banking union and pan-eurozone economic government will continue to penalise the poorer members, while ultimately enraging German voters who have to take on everyone else's debts. Yes, we have an interest in EU stability. But no, it will not be achieved by the Merkel/Macron/Juncker visions.

'Celebrities urge National Trust to ban fox hunting', was the strange headline in Monday's Times. Strange, because fox hunting is already banned by the law of the land. What the anti-hunting lobbies are trying to stop is trail-hunting on the Trust's 600,000 acres, which is, of course, legal, and will remain so unless and until we are so mad that we forbid all ownership of hounds. There will be a vote on the matter at the National Trust's AGM in Swindon on 21 October. All National Trust members wishing to attend, or vote postally, have to register by 15 October. There is quite a history of attempted coups of this sort at the Trust. In 1990, an extreme-left Labour MP, Jeremy Corbyn by name, sponsored a resolution to ban all hunting (which was then legal) on Trust land. It failed. In 1997, on the recommendation of Professor Patrick Bateson's report, the Trust hastily banned stag-hunting without consulting the interested parties. Today, the Trust, naive in reaction to a social media storm, has again been thoughtless. It put forward new licensing plans without consulting the Countryside Alliance. These propose that future meets should be publicised in advance -- a nice idea, but one which takes no account of the sad fact that trail hunts are often attacked by extremists. The Trust is also in danger of riding roughshod over its tenantry: unless its leases specifically reserve trail-hunting rights, it has no power over legal activities on tenanted land. By the way, in the 12 years of the ban, there have been no convictions for illegal hunting on Trust land.

Lady (Mary) Fairfax has died. She was, extremely briefly, the grande dame of The Spectator. Early in 1985, the Australian Fairfax group bought the paper. Michael Heath commemorated the event with a cartoon, which we published, of The Spectator in the pouch of a kangaroo. The Fairfax era did us power of good. In 1987, however, young Warwick Fairfax, son of Mary, bought out the group, with heavy 'leverage'. His offer enriched but enraged his family, expelling his half-brother and cousins. …

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