Friday, 26 December 2003

Boxing Day - Class War

Fox the box
In English-speaking countries, the day after Christmas is known as Boxing Day. Tradition has it that churches opened their alms boxes which contained donations given over the year and give the contents to the poor. This custom stretched back about 800 years.
Another usage dates back to 1833, defining Boxing Day as the first weekday after Christmas celebrated as a legal public holiday in the Commonwealth of Nations, marked by giving small gifts to service workers, most especially postal workers.
In the United Kingdom, Boxing Day presents a number of opportunities catering for all strata of society. Apart for the lower end of giving gifts to the poor or workers, many other groups come out to play.
It is rumoured the Royal family opens their presents on the 26th of December. Boxing Day also marks the most important day of the hunts; a subject of parliamentary debate that has befuddled the ruling Labour Party; pitching the urban against the rural.
Most football clubs have fixtures on Boxing Day, bringing out the fans in large numbers trying to work off the medley of turkey, turkey sandwiches, turkey soup, turkey "I'm going to be sick" eaten through out Christmas. Finally, the races are open on over 10 racecourses. The Racing World.
Of all the Boxing Day events, the hunts have had the most political activity, being one of the promises New Labour snuck into their manifesto.
Fox hunting is primarily a country sport that the middle classes have been unable to access - it basically serves the interests of landed gentry and supports a local economy of culling the nuisance of foxes and provides needed employment to the villages in which the hunts occur.
The irony and cant of it all is displayed in the amount of parliament time devoted to enacting legislation to ban foxhunting. The battle lines being drawn between the city dwellers and the countryside. None of whom know anything life in the other.
Oscar Wilde put it brilliantly - "The unspeakable in pursuit of the uneatable"
The perspective that provides to the debate makes one wonder why so much time has been spent debating something as inconsequential as fox-hunting and very little on the core manifesto pledges for education, health, transport, Europe and the Euro.
Though, the government threatened to the use the Parliament Act - a sledgehammer legislative tool to make an issue law where the House of Lords have opposed it - the final action regarding fox hunting has not been decided.
One is neither for nor against fox hunting, but the whole debate did provide a good WMD - Weapon of Mass Distraction from the important but failing public services as the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Finance Minister) raised indirect taxes as a Wielder of Mass Deception.
This aspect of the British psyche makes interesting reading, where there have been instances of people losing their lives in defence of animals, but no one cares that much for the needy, deprived, disadvantaged, destitute and diseased who all happen to be part of our race and having a nap on your doorstep.
Another man in the street would intone with disdain - Get A Life and get your priorities right.
Basically, fox hunting has highlighted an indefensible waste of time, discussing the untenable to punish the unspeakable and keep them from the mundane pleasures of the uneatable.
One has a suggestion - Ban Boxing Day and everything associated with it - the presents, the poor, the service workers, football, races and hunts - that is fairness and equity, it heralds the birth of the egalitarian society.

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