Heroes and villains: Prince William and the Countryside Alliance
NB: we know that there are far more worthy heroes than those listed here - doctors, nurses, aid workers, etc. Similarly, murderers, rapists and dictators are indisputably far greater villains. This column does not deal with them. It is designed to honour those who have caused surprise by their actions.
Hero: Prince William
Our Wills - gosh isn't he lovely, just like his mum, God rest her saintly soul - has decided to join Braemar mountain rescue, one of the dedicated bunch of volunteer loonies who climb the hills in atrocious conditions looking for lost, injured or just plain stupid walkers.
Unfortunately, he won’t be allowed to do any actual rescuing. The chaps in charge say he'll be a danger to himself and everyone else. The theory is that impressionable young debs will travel up from the home counties in their thousands and swoon into ravines in the hope that the gorgeous hunk of an heir to the throne will abseil down and sweep them up in his manly regal arms to carry them safely off the hill.
No, young Master Windsor will have to be content with washing the Land Rovers and answering the phones, but at least he's making an effort.
Villains: Countryside Alliance
Pro-hunting supporters have failed in their attempt to have the ban on hunting with dogs in England overturned by having the 1949 Parliament Act ruled unlawful.
In a modern civilised society we really shouldn't be getting our kicks by ripping the local fauna apart with attack dogs and smearing ourselves in its blood just for a laugh. Most people would rather this sort of thing didn't go on and so the government introduced a bill to put a stop to it. So far so democratic.
However, the bill to ban hunting with dogs in England and Wales was repeatedly blocked by the unelected, unrepresentative House of "Lords" and so the government invoked the Parliament Act. The Parliament Act basically sticks two fingers up at the upper chamber and says "it doesn't matter what you think, we're doing it anyway".
The bloodthirsty hunters, however, didn't like that. They thought it was a downright liberty and launched a legal challenge. Predictably, they lost.
Whining about the judgment, Simon Hart, chief executive of the Countryside Alliance said: "This judgment effectively gives the House of Commons the freedom - with no checks and balances - to do what it wants, to whom it wants, when it wants… it sets a dangerous, anti-democratic precedent."
No. What it does is to bolster democracy by ensuring that the will of the elected chamber prevails. Democracy is a fairly woolly concept these days, but most take it to mean something along the lines of government by the will of the people (that's why the "elected" bit matters). Not government by the will of troublesome toffs and political appointees.
Oddest story of the week
Need a breath of fresh air? A businessman has started selling jars full of the stuff for a mere 2.99 each.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Monday 20 May 2013
Temperature: 8 C to 21 C
Wind Speed: 9 mph
Wind direction: South
Temperature: 6 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: North west