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Thursday, September 30, 2004

Foxed again

Anybody who has ever been to a Conference will know that stallholders and exhibitors do everything they can to attract delegates to visit their stand. This often means providing goodies such as sweets and pens that can be taken away by the visitor. The stalls that offer the best gifts are always very popular.

This year the League Against Cruel Sports have pitched up offering fox glove puppets. Admittedly, they ask for a £3 donation, but this proved to be a powerful prize for those delegates determined to taunt the fox killers at the Liberal Democrat gathering. News however has reached me that these glove puppets have been banned from the Labour Conference. Now I would have expected this of the Tories, but Labour?

It seems that organisers were concerned that Labour delegates might use the glove puppets to taunt Countryside Alliance protestors outside the hall. This might be seen as provocative and risk inflaming the already-sensitive situation. However, as Nick Assinder says in his Conference Diary, "Leaving aside the fact that anyone who tried taunting the hunters with a glove puppet would risk getting their hands torn off by bloodthirsty hounds, this spectacular piece of "I'm only following orders" nonsense succeeded in winning the League the sort of publicity money can't buy."

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