Page 9, 15th October 2004

15th October 2004
Page 9
Page 9, 15th October 2004 — Is democracy sacred?

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Is democracy sacred?

From Mr Quentin de la Bédoyère SIR — Jill Segger is unfortunate in publishing her article in favour of a hunting ban (Charterhouse, Oct 8) just prior to the Second Reading of the Mental Incapacity Bill, which is a big step towards involuntary euthanasia. Her unqualified support for democracy as the sacred criterion should be sorely tried here. Do her principles require her to defend the Abortion Act?

She is doubly unfortunate in quoting John Rawls, whose stated first principle was the liberty of individuals.

She is trebly unfortunate in dismissing “the tyranny of the majority” as a “petulant slogan”, when it emanates from probably the greatest writer on liberty in the English language.

She is quadruply unfortunate in distorting Macaulay, whose actual jibe was: “The Puritans hated bear baiting, not because it gave pain to the bear, but because it gave pleasure to the spectators.” Not, I would think, a sentiment helpful to her cause.

She is quintuply unfortunate in, rightly, deploring the loutish behaviour of a fringe of hunt supporters, while omitting mention of the similar and sustained activities of hunt saboteurs.

She is sextuply unfortunate in attempting to counter the arguments that challenge the ban by gratuitously asserting that none such exist.

She is septuply unfortunate in quoting the German experience of the ban without mentioning that German law allows game such as deer and foxes and wild sheep to be chased by dogs, sometimes for over an hour, before being shot. I do not blame her for forgetting that orthodox hunting in Germany was first banned by Hitler in 1936. But I cannot in charity believe that simply because he was democratically appointed his subsequent actions were all right by her.

Yours faithfully, QUENTIN DE LA BEDOYERE [email protected] London SW19

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