Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Barbour Barmy Army coming to a marginal near you

You can imagine that Conservative HQ strategists may greet this news with a certain amount of ambivalence:
Hundreds of hunt supporters are under orders to ride into action in key marginal seats within hours of a general election being called, in the knowledge that David Cameron will allow a return to hunting with dogs if he gets to Downing Street.

Documents seen by The Independent show that hunt masters have been rounding up supporters and sending them to the most fiercely contested seats, ahead of a big push planned for the first 72 hours of campaigning.
Normally they'd be delighted with such an influx of volunteers but they'll also be surely be apprehensive at the potential blowback from both animal lovers and, let's face it, class prejudice. Richard Graham, the Conservative candidate in Gloucester puts it quite delicately:
"My opponent loves talking about the Cotswold cavalry, cantering into town in pink chinos and Barbours, while his 'door knockers' are Gloucester born and bred."
The campaign by the pressure group Vote-OK, which is hoping to wreak revenge on those MPs (mainly Labour) who voted to ban fox-hunting, certainly seems well-organised. Possibly in certain constituencies they may make a positive difference but overall I think it's probably the kind of help the Conservatives would rather have stayed more anonymous; the prospect of that revenge may excite the hunting fraternity, I'm sure it's not a vote winner amongst the wider electorate.


tony said...

Ye gods! The idea of having a bunch of toffs called Jeremy and Matilda invade your area is more likely to push the don't knows into the labour camp.

Don't the tories want to win these seats?

O'Neill said...

I can't imagine them swinging too many votes in Barrow which is one of the constituencies they're targeting. Self-awareness in these cases is a very powerful tool- if I had been them, I;d have kept stum, popped along to Conservative HQ offered "poster putting-up" and "envelope-sticking-down" services and then post election claim the glory where appropriate.

Oscar Peter said...

Don't buy into the ridiculous stereotype. The lake district hunting community are as down to earth as you could possibly get.

Lovely people who are willing to stand up and fight for their way of life.



tony said...

Actually Oscar I was being deliberately stereotypical as the typicality still bears a strong resemblence. I am aware that there are plenty of decent folk invoved in this 'sporting pursuit' but invading areas where many find the pursuit not only unsporting but quite cruel and from a different era.

Anonymous said...

Their way of life? Senseless brutality and cruelty towards animals? The more hooray Henry's and toffs Call Me Dave has knocking peoples doors, the better.