I am opposed to foxhunting, but I was opposed to SNP voting on this issue. They should have abstained. I made my views known on Twitter before the vote, and to my MP after the vote.
I don't see this vote - or rather, threat to vote - as an act of principle, but as an act of last minute political expediency. The 'arguments’ offered by a series of intelligent SNP MPs (with thinly concealed embarrassment) to justify it were at best thin and at worst invalid in my view. But, for whatever reason, the Party’s position as stated by Nicola changed. I doubt there was consensus initially within Team56 on this, with The Scotsman suggesting the catalyst had been the determination of some to break ranks from the extant policy and vote against on conscience grounds. Others believe that they simply saw on opportunity for a coup of sorts, one that would demonstrate their anger at the Government’s position on EVEL and its rejection of all SNP amendments.There is a large core of sentimental hypocrisy among those who get over-excited about fox hunting, but who manage to tolerate the mass breeding and slaughter of animals, often in inhumane and degrading conditions and often with appalling cruelty easily, as their breakfast bacon, lunch and evening meat, fowl and fish demonstrates several times daily. (I am one of them - not proud of it, but beyond change at this stage of my life). Quite simply, animals that are not part of the daily diet of humans have a distinctly better chance of eliciting the sympathy and crusading zeal of carnivorous voters and politicians than those who are not.
Brian May’s piece PM’s ‘one nation’ was an empty promise in today’s National provided an example of this in his last paragraph.
“We should start from the assumption that all animals deserve respect and all animals feel pain and all animals want to bring up their family. Every animal has a right to live in peace.”
What he didn’t say was that currently this admirable sentiment appears to be currently confined to the wild animals, animals in zoos, domesticated animals and working animals, e.g. milk cows, horses and egg-laying hens.
There little to zero chance of beef cattle, pigs, fowl, etc. being extended these animal rights, as any veal calf or lamb, de-beaked battery hen and their loving parents would testify, had they the gift of speech, and despite laws and regulations, gross abuses occur daily in the breeding, treatment,transport and slaughter of these animals, exempted from the compassion of many anti-foxhunting advocates, sentimental but with pragmatically carnivorous blind spots.
Exactly how the fox hunting non-vote will affect Scottish independence and the prospect of a second independence referendum is anybody's guess.
A recent poll shows a majority of Scots voters in favour of one. Other polls show the SNP as unassailable in Scotland, with likelihood of 2016 Holyrood elections increasing their already dominant majority. Actually, one of the reasons I opposed SNP voting on this issue is that, in a rational Britain, it would make the the Union more secure, because it cements the role of Scottish MPs as UK MPs, and the possibility of concerted action by parties on pan-UK issues. In that senses it plays directly into the Labour narrative of one Britain, one United Kingdom. The vote, in my view, makes a federal structure more likely.
(The intelligent and perceptive sole Scottish Labour MP, Ian Murray, more or less made such points effectively on the issue.)
However, I am not over-excited by this issue or how it was handled. It's politics, albeit a kind I hoped the SNP might be above (idealistic old me!).
In the face of Cameron and Osborne, two of the most expedient, inhumane politicians I have seen over my life, and the fact that the Tories are now de facto an English party, Labour a Welsh party, and the SNP the Scotland party, I continue to support the SNP and independence, which I’m unlikely to now see in my lifetime.
I suspect a federal UK will be the almost certain ultimate outcome, and I could live with that if the UK was even halfway rational about foreign affairs, WMD and defence.
This young lady, intemperately attacked online by an Edinburgh University professor, gives me hope for Scotland and the SNP, and for constructive relationships with rUK.