Only 180 redcoats heading south

I was very disappointed to see the New Statesman Scotland (15 November) supporting hunting with hounds. That is a decision for the editorial team, but it does seem to go against the grain of centre-left opinion in Scotland.

However, I write to challenge some of the points made. First, the idea that "thousands of riders" will head south from Scotland is somewhat bizarre. Given that there are only nine hunts in Scotland, each of which has around 20 riders, I fail to see where the extra riders come from! Second, an independent economic report by Aberdeen University showed that there would be little or no economic impact on the Scottish economy, and if they switched to drag-hunting there would be no need for job losses at all.

Third, I take no position on whether or not this would affect the union, but others would argue that, if the situation was reversed and hunting was banned in England and not in Scotland, the sight of "English redcoats" crossing the border to perpetrate acts of barbarism in the fields of Scotland would help the nationalist cause more.

Les Ward
Chairman, Scottish Campaign Against Hunting with Dogs

This article first appeared in the 29 November 1999 issue of the New Statesman, An explosion of puffery