Like the proverbial rat escaping from the sinking ship, I found myself 36,000 feet up in the air on a United Airlines flight to New York one day before the most important general election of my lifetime. Important for me and my family, important for my business and those we employ, and important for country sports — in particular hunting.
As we took off from Heathrow in the drizzle and the wind, I felt a sense of impending gloom that somehow “Red Ed” may yet be allowed to ‘”crash the car again”, having been given back the keys to do the same thing all over again, if you like.
His mother and father — in this case the British people if you believe the polls — seem to be saying: “Have another go dear, it wasn’t your fault it was that nasty boy Blair and his mate Brown. Oh and by the way, keep the other Ed on or you will have no Balls to play with”.
This is pure speculation. I decided to write this column before the result is known; it’s more dangerous and talking after the event is too easy, so it will be interesting to see how wrong I get it.
Make no mistake, the status quo for hunting is bad for every single one of us and there is only one outcome that may help to right the wrong that is the Hunting Act: the worst piece of legislation ever drafted, let alone put in to law.
So what will happen?
I do not subscribe to the theory that the British public is so stupid that “Red Ed” will arrive in Downing Street by accident with the SNP in tow. They will have to strike a deal with the very people who have decimated the Labour party in Scotland and who wish to break up the British Isles, having the power to vote on English issues from north of Hadrians wall…it is good TV but not a reality.
The interesting one is if the Conservatives do not get enough seats, how will UKIP fair? Some people I know forecast 20-25 seats, some say Mr Farage will not even win his own. It will be fascinating to see how they perform. If they do prop up a minority Conservative government, I don’t think it would be the worst outcome for hunting, but I struggle to see “Nige” as deputy Prime Minister.
If we return to the Con/Lib Dem debacle we would once again be in no-mans-land for another five years — an unbearable thought.
The result will be known on Friday morning — in my case Thursday night — and here is my prediction: the Conservative party will win an outright majority but by a slim margin.
If I am correct it will be in part due to the amazing work of VoteOk and the entire hunting community. All the time and effort they have given to this election will be rewarded and at long last we will have a light at the end of what has been for some of us a very long, dark tunnel.
On the other hand if “Red Ed” is our next Prime Minister, you might not be hearing from me again and I will have to concede that I have got the British public completely wrong. If so, I will be back to face the music next Thursday. Then again if that has happened, I might not — after all, they still go hunting in America…