For reasons I cannot even begin to adequately explain, the gatherings of the increasingly angry and militant pro-hunt movement conjours up ‘spaghetti western’ images in my head; the brooding silence, the tumbleweed, the flinty, menacing stares and the ‘man’s-gotta-do-what-a-man’s-gotta-do’ atmosphere of grim resolve. . . .

Alright, it’s actually the middle of the verdant English countryside, but you get the gist.

Having failed in their appeals to reason, common sense and principle, the hunters are still threatened with a government prohibition that will eradicate a centuries-old tradition and the way of rural life that has grown up around it. They are being ‘run out of town’ for no better reason than that they are perceived as an easy target for a government that wants to score cultural ‘brownie points’ with the metropolitan elite.

So the hunters have decided that they are not going to be such an easy target after all. I don’t see what else they can do. It’s fight or die and they have chosen the former.

The British tradition of “out of doors political activity” (as Gordon Wood terms it) may come to the fore again.