Monday 23 September 2002 3.37pm
In the absence of our esteemed MP, Simon Hughes
, my family and I struck out yesterday to represent the minority view in South London and support the countryside.
This was my first countryside march and I fully expected some violent clashes with the ‘die-hard' anti-hunting lobby. To my surprise, the more ‘tree-hugging' elements of our society had clearly decided to go ‘to ground'. Instead, I witnessed a parade that was fighting for the cornerstones of our ‘liberal' society - a parade that was fighting for liberty and tolerance. I did not see Kate Hoey
or Vinnie Jones but I did see 400,000 people defending their culture and identity.
It has been said that the anti-hunt vote has more to do with the last vestiges of class divide. The sheer diversity of people yesterday, surely, puts paid to that misconception.
Whether you enjoy blood sports like hunting or fishing yourself, can you not feel a certain compassion for a minority who are being blighted by ‘intolerance and prejudice'?