I saw a wonderful thing yesterday; a cartoon by Chris Cairns, in which a fox blew a raspberry from behind a grave looking lion, standing with its arms folded.
It’s both sublimely funny and awesomely sharp.
I loved it, as I love all Chris Cairn’s work, and I loved the SNP’s decision not to abstain on Cameron’s cynical attempt to change the Hunting Act.
I know a lot of people don’t agree with that decision.
I know some of the more prominent independence blogs have slated it, saying that the SNP has made a strategic mistake and sacrificed an important principle for a few headlines.
I disagree. I think this was politics at its best, whatever the motivation.
I am not a fanatical animal rights supporter but I am concerned about the environment and have the usual, human, somewhat sentimental attachment to many of the creatures we share the world with.
Nearly everything that lives on this planet alongside us is benign, as far as we are concerned, which makes our own appalling treatment of them all the more shameful.
Furthermore, I live in a place where foxes are a common sight, and they’ve never bothered me or mine one little bit.
Indeed, we used to put leftover food out for them at night and once found a family of them living under the patio.
But then I look at Facebook of an evening and all the pictures of “poor suffering animals” en masse, put up there by the kind of people who mock asylum seekers, think all welfare recipients are scum, refuse to accept drug or alcohol problems as addictions and who would hang or electrocute or simply tear limb from limb fellow human beings.
And I wonder; do they get it? Do they understand, at all?
That said, I do understand the motivations of those who want to save endangered species.
I’ve donated money to the WWF in the past, and I support conservation.
But my own emotional leanings are more in the direction of starving children, impoverished families and communities being forced to the wall.
I worry more about that, I prioritise those things.
Maybe that’s arrogant.
Maybe that’s the kind of selfish “human’s first” attitude that got us into this hellish environmental mess we are in … it’s just how I feel about it.
But, as I said previously, I absolutely supported the Hunting Act.
I would support strengthening the law in Scotland.
I am in favour of animal rights legislation across the board, and think it’s important to enact that stuff and keep it strong.
And I have strong feelings on hunting itself.
Its proponents will claim it is a harmless thing, a wee jolly which has the ancillary benefit of eradicating pests.
Twaddle. All of it. The foxes don’t find it harmless.
It is cruel. It is vicious.
That this is an elitist pursuit doesn’t surprise me a whole lot.
That numerous members of this Tory government enjoy it is roughly what I would expect.
To me, it always seemed like a heartless pastime, something only a twisted, bloodthirsty bastard could actually enjoy.
In short, it is exactly the kind of hobby you would expect from the sort of scum who are presently engaged in all manner of deplorable attacks on the poor.
I said in my article “A Killer Government” that these people are doing all this for no other reason than they can.
That government welfare policy is like a twisted parlour game where you see how much pain you can inflict on someone else before they break.
One of my interests, when I’m not writing, is reading about the criminal mentality.
I have a vast collection of books on serial killers (it helps me write about them when I am doing my fictional stuff – that’s my excuse anyway) and I think I’m quite knowledgeable about the sociopathic condition.
A number of the Tory front bench certainly share key psychopathic traits, such as glibness and superficial charm, grandiose sense of self-worth, pathological lying, being cunning and manipulative, emotional shallowness, callousness, unwillingness to accept responsibility for actions and a parasitic lifestyle.
There are two others which are prominent, and whose presence in people – particularly senior politicians – is definitely more worrisome.
They are lack of empathy and a lack of remorse.
In other words, these people don’t feel bad when they do bad things (many don’t even recognise their actions as falling into that category) and they don’t feel or understand the suffering of others.
There is not a single person who follows politics in the UK who cannot see, clearly, that these labels apply to people like Ian Duncan Smith, Michael Gove and George Osborne.
These are big red flags, the sort that elevate your score on the “psychopathy scale”, and make you someone worth watching.
Giving social policy over to such people ends with precisely the kind of abhorrent law-making we are seeing today.
For all that, there is an even bigger one, one that scares psychologists and law enforcement personnel wherever they come across it, and this is where the Hunting Act and these efforts to repeal it are truly revealing.
Behavioural psychologists call it precocious sadism, and it manifests itself in the torture of animals.
You’d be surprised how many violent offenders turn up with this in their background.
Am I suggesting that Duncan Smith and others are serial killers in the making?
Of course not.
But if you want to know how senior politicians can sit in the Commons and engage in cover-ups over child abuse and other such depravities … well the number of them who are in favour of hunting with hounds might offer a glimpse into that sort of mind-set. You ever wondered why so many of them have itchy trigger fingers when the chance comes to send our troops into war, or our bombers over foreign skies?
It’s because they love it.
Megalomania is another psychopathic trait, and what could be more enjoyable to those power-mad bastards than sending troops into battle?
It seems to me that cruelty is part of the DNA of such people, and it’s not such a leap from taking pleasure in the torment of an animal to gaining some sadistic gratification in the debasement of fellow human beings as you might think.
They are on different ends of the same scale, that’s all, one that most of us don’t fall on, and so can’t fully comprehend.
The SNP’s decision to oppose this measure resulted in the government shelving the plans for the vote, but they’ve made it clear that they aren’t dropping the idea completely, merely putting it on hold for another time, probably when they’ve passed some version of EVEL which curtails the SNP’s ability to properly interfere.
The anger that has erupted over the SNP’s actions is instructive of a group of people who can’t wait to get back to sating their bloodlust and the part of me that values human beings first and foremost might even be uncomfortably content to let them get on with it if I thought that it might spare a single person from the next helping of suffering they are sure to dish out.
But I don’t harbour any such hopes.
I know the psychopathic mind-set too well to expect that the slaughter of animals will do the slightest good and make these people less inclined to go after the bigger game. That’s not how it works.
Every act of depravity heightens the need for more.
No matter how much of the deficit is cut, no matter how many people commit suicide over their descent into poverty, no matter how many bombs these people order dropped or misery they inflict on others … it’ll never be enough.
Anti-union legislation, an act that reeks not only of cynical political opportunism but that deep-seated megalomania, is just another manifestation of what really moves them.
They love this stuff. Be under no illusions about it.
They get off on it.
Ladies and gentlemen, we have psychopaths running the country and they are hell-bent on inflicting as much suffering, and doling out as much violence, as they can. Because they can.
The SNP saved the foxes, at least.
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