It seems all is not well on the farm — the farm being a metaphor for the Countryside Alliance’s plush headquarters in Kennington — where the chief executive has quit after just over a year in post. Alice Barnard’s resignation comes against a background of anger from a vocal cohort of members unhappy with the lack of progress at repealing the hunting ban.
Ruling out the marches which saw the Alliance hit the headlines in the late ‘90s, Barnard’s softly-softly lobbying approach has gone down like a pint of sick with hunting nutters, who accuse her of being more interested in food labelling, high speed rail and rural broadband. Indeed, shortly after her appointment Barnard told the Indy:
“I think we did marching, and we did it really well, but … we need to be looking at other ways at connecting both with Parliament”
And it seems Barnard wants to “connect with Parliament” in more ways than one. Despite its presence in the coalition agreement, a free vote on the Hunting Act is unlikely to occur until 2014. Having already stood for selection in 2010, fronting a controversial and high profile campaign could well scupper Barnard’s second attempt to grab a Tory seat.
With the Alliance formed in 1997 from an amalgam of the British Field Sports Society and two other (non-hunting) rural groups, old tensions in the countryside movement now threaten to spill into the open.
With Barnard pursuing Foxes since she was nine years old, Scrapbook cannot resist speculating whether the hunter became the hunted.