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David Cameron skips west Wales hunt

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Charles Frampton; Master and Huntsman to the Heythrop Hunt

Charles Frampton; Master and Huntsman to the Heythrop Hunt

PRIME MINISTER David Cameron sent his apologies to ‘drag’ hunters in Pembrokeshire as the European Council took priority over local drag hunt as part of hunt week.

On Monday (Feb 1) The famous hunting club the Duke of Beaufort’s Huntsman, Tony Holdsworth brought along the clubs hounds to initiate the hunt week in Pembrokeshire which started at Castle Morris in North Pembrokeshire.

After a full day’s hunt, members of Pembrokeshire, South Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion, and Carmarthenshire Hunt clubs, as well as visitors from all over the UK prepared themselves for the arrival of the famous Heythrop Hunt club, who it was said would be accompanied by the Prime Minister.

Christopher Harte, Carmarthenshire Hunt’s PR manager invited the Herald to attend the hunts and said: “On Monday the Duke of Beaufort’s Hunt, known as the ‘badminton,’ was met by visitors from surrounding counties at Castlemorris. The following day the meet at Haycastle was with the Heythrop Hunt whose best known rider is the Prime Minister, David Cameron.”

Mr Cameron’s absence was apologised for on the evening, but the gathering of hunters were not deterred and turned up in force with almost 30 riding hunters and in total around 90 people arriving to see off the hounds and chasers.

Over the past week a number of hunts have taken place in South West Wales, and in total over three thousand riders, foot followers and supporters have turned up at the South Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire, Tivyside and Vale of Clettwr Hunts.

‘Drag’ hunting has taken place in the UK and has been a large part of country living since the early 19th century, it involves dragging a scent along the ground for a set distance for the hounds to follow, the scent is usually made from oils and sometimes animal meats or urine.

Farmers often vocalise their dislike of foxes and explain that the reason the animals are considered pests is due to the surplus killing they commit when entering farms, especially into chicken coops, where they may kill several but only eat one.

The sport and its gatherings often attract anti-hunting activists who instead of choosing to take action lawfully, go down the more illegitimate group.

A representative of the South West Wales hunts explained the practices of the protesters and saboteurs: ”We do, occasionally get our hunt meetings interrupted by balaclava wearing youths. These are mainly students from the Bristol area who are paid to be silly for the day. The organisers, both of whom are based in Pembroke, pay £30 to each student, and they get a packed lunch as well.”

“You know these idiots are not animal lovers as in recent weeks they have lured hounds on to main roads where some have been hit and injured by passing vehicles.”

Mrs S.M Johnson from Lampeter who travelled over an hour and half to the first hunt, and over two hours to the second told the Herald about what her fellow hunters have experienced when protesters have been present: “I myself have been lucky enough to never have a run-in with such people, but from what is said by other members of the hunt, it accomplishes nothing and leaves a bad taste for the day, for everybody involved.”

On the second day while on horseback Mrs Johnson said: “The best time of day is around about half past two when everybody else goes home and there are only a few of you left it’s like the private view before the big exhibition and you never know you may get a very interesting bit of development at that time of day.”

Taught by Mrs Noreen Vaughan a national hunt breeder and former competitor at Wembley, Grace Evans riding Abergwaun Acrobat attended the hunt riding side saddle and said:

“Noreen took me under her wing too teach me everything I know and I went to county and competed there, and came forth, and ever since we’ve been going hunting as much as we can.” Noreen added: “Hunting has been going for centuries and is just part of the countryside, long may it continue, it brings everyone from all walks of life together, it hopefully will never be stopped.”

A spokesman for the Hunts said: “Both days were splendid and the hospitality given by the hosting hunt people was absolutely perfect. We were overwhelmed by the kindness shown to us and both days were a joy to behold.”

He added: “For the past twelve years all of these hunts have complied with the law by only laying “drag” trails for the horses and hounds to follow. These trails are expertly laid down and often results in hunts taking over six hours to complete the course.”

“The support of the farming community is essential to the survival of the hunts and virtually every farmer in the wide area gives permission for the hunts to use their land.”

One Carmarthenshire resident against fox hunting said: “Hiding behind the age-old excuse of tradition and the hunter instinct, they take life that is virtually useless to them in terms of sustenance. It is merely a method of satisfying a hidden psychopathic urge, tempered only by the laws of the land that prevent them from killing fellow human beings for sport.”

However a representative from South West Wales hunts said: “The old concept of hounds chasing and killing wild animals is a far-fetched urban myth which, alas, is still considered to be the case by those who are ignorant of the facts.”

Highlighting the community spirit of the hunt he continued: “What is of considerable satisfaction to the hunts and their committees are the number of young people who become active members. In some hunts the weekly turnout can reach up to 20% of the riders.”

Tom Quinn, Campaigns Director for the League Against Cruel Sports said: “Although hunts claim they act within the law, we believe that many of them continue to hunt illegally. The Heythrop Hunt is a good example of this, having been convicted of hunting illegally in 2012.

“Anyone who claims that trail hunting is the same as drag hunting doesn’t know what they are talking about. Drag hunting is a legal and cruelty-free pastime where hounds follow an artificial scent. But no traditional hunts claim to drag hunt – they all claim to trail hunt with hounds trained on a fox-based scent.

“Unsurprisingly the hounds of hunts that claim to be trail hunting often end up chasing and killing live foxes. But the hunts often avoid prosecution by protesting that it was an accident. The hunts will claim that the only time they can’t control their hounds is when they’re about to kill a fox. This is clearly absurd. Huntsmen are experts at controlling their hounds which makes their claims that these illegal hunting incidents are accidents even more unbelievable.

“Hunt monitors around the country regularly see hunts chasing foxes and there have been a number of well publicised incidents recently where hunts have killed foxes. Unlike hunts and their followers, these animal lovers give up their time to help stamp out cruelty, and would never mistreat hounds or horses.”

Local artist and animal rights activist Diana Brook commented: “I think that it is abhorrent that it is still taking place in our countryside, that it is unlawful and that it is fully endorsed by our MP Simon Hart.

“He does not represent the majority of opinion and he certainly doesn’t represent me.”

Diana also mentioned a petition, which states: “There is a direct conflict of interest between our MP’s paid employment of a bloodsport lobbying organisation and his membership of the EFRA committee.” And is calling for him to leave either.

South Pembrokeshire Hunt master for a decade until 1997/8: Simon Hart MP, did not wish to comment on any current hunts but responded to the petition: “Sadly they clearly haven’t bothered to look at the rules of membership and declaration for select committees as if they had they would have realised that one of my committee colleagues is Vice President of the League Against Cruel Sports – and the committee is the richer for it!”

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Kwarteng gambles on rush for growth

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CHANCELLOR of the Exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng unveiled his and Liz Truss’s economic vision for the UK on Friday morning.

The headlines are straightforward.

There will be £45bn in tax cuts by 2027; however, the largest cuts – national insurance cuts, the abolition of the cap on bonuses and the highest income tax rate- benefit only high earners.

MAIN POLICIES

Cut in the basic rate of income tax to 19% from April 2023;

National Insurance will not rise as scheduled, and the Government will reverse the current year rise as of November 6;

New Health and Social Care Levy to pay for the NHS will not be introduced;

The top rate of income tax was cut from 45% to 40%;

Cancel the rise in corporation tax which was due to increase from 19% to 25% in April 2023;

Rules around universal credit tightened by reducing benefits if people don’t fulfil job search commitments;

VAT-free shopping for overseas visitors;

End of the cap on bankers’ bonuses;

Planned increases in the duties on beer, cider, wine, and spirits cancelled;

Government to discuss setting up investment zones with 38 local areas in England.

Alongside the above, the Chancellor announced plans to remove environmental safeguards for building developments and reduce the regulatory burden on financial institutions.

KWARTENG LEAVES LABOUR AN OPEN GOAL

In an interview with Rishi Sunak during the Conservative leadership contest, Nick Robinson observed that it would be a nasty surprise for the former Chancellor when he found out who’d been in power for the last twelve years.

Kwasi Kwarteng followed Liz Truss’s preferred method of operation: he pretended they hadn’t happened.

The Chancellor comprehensively dumped on the policies pursued over the last dozen years by successive Conservative governments, for a decade of which Liz Truss has been a member.

His statement was, as one ministerial colleague said, “a game changer”, although perhaps not in the way he envisaged.

So complete was the change of economic policy that it leaves an open question about how Mr Kwarteng and his Cabinet colleagues ended up in the same political party as most of their backbench colleagues and served under the last three Conservative leaders.

Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves did not miss the open goal. Even as Mr Kwarteng and Ms Truss shook their heads on the government benches, she hammered home that the Chancellor’s statement was an admission the record of Conservative governments since 2010 was one of a failure to deliver growth or a viable economic plan.

THE SUPPLY SIDE FIX

The Chancellor and Prime Minister’s rationale is that cutting taxes for the already well-off will benefit all citizens as they are incentivised to invest and act in entrepreneurial ways. In addition, reducing regulation for businesses will encourage increased commercial enterprise.

They believe the growth stimulated will make up for any loss in tax revenues as increased economic activity, encouraged by lower taxes, leads to increased government revenues.

That approach is called supply-side economics, which focuses on increasing the supply of goods and services through growth.

In every developed nation where the Government’s brand of economics has been tried, two things have happened: a cataclysmic bust has followed a short-term burst of economic activity.

In addition, wealth inequalities – and the UK is already grossly unequal – are embedded and made worse.

Low taxes on the wealthiest do not distinguish between those who generate wealth through their industry or create economic activity through business investment and those who inherit wealth or sit on capital without producing anything.

“THE RICH WILL REJOICE”

Wales’s Finance Minister, Rebecca Evans MS, responded: “Rebecca Evans, Minister for Finance and Local Government, said: “Instead of delivering meaningful, targeted support to those who need help the most, the Chancellor prioritises funding for tax cuts for the rich, unlimited bonuses for bankers, and protecting the profits of big energy companies.

“Instead of increasing funding for public services in line with inflation, we get a Chancellor blithely ignoring stretched budgets as public services find their money is not going as far as it did before.”

Plaid Regional MS Cefin Campbell said: “This Budget will see the rich rejoice as their bonuses rocket and their tax bill sliced, once again it will be the poorest and most vulnerable bearing the brunt of the disastrous cost of living crisis.”

 Plaid Cymru’s Treasury spokesperson, Ben Lake MP, added: “Tax cuts for the super-rich will do absolutely nothing to drive growth in the Welsh economy.

“I urge the UK Government to recognise that our Government in Wales must be given the fiscal tools to unlock our economic potential ourselves. That is the only way to improve the lives of people across Wales.”

Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for Finance, Peter Fox MS, said: “Today shows that the UK Conservative Government has a comprehensive plan to provide a sharp boost to the economy by putting cash back into people’s pockets. Labour in Wales has the power to cut taxes in Wales but chooses not to.

“Mark Drakeford needs to take a leaf out of Liz Truss’ book and take immediate action to support hard-working people and struggling businesses, stimulating the Welsh economy rather than stifling it.”

Scott Corfe, Research Director at Social Market Foundation, said: “The Chancellor is taking a very high-risk gamble with the economy.

“If his package of enormous tax cuts and ‘supply side reforms’ fails to translate into significantly higher economic growth, we risk further falls in the pound and surging gilt yields as investors lose confidence in our ability to pay our way in the world.

“That, in turn, means higher inflation, an unsustainable trajectory for the public finances and steeper interest rate rises – potentially deepening rather than alleviating the cost of living crisis.”

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The world watches HM Queen Elizabeth II laid to rest in state funeral

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THE QUEEN’S state funeral is taking place with ceremonial processions in London and Windsor today. This is the latest update at 12:40pm.

The UK’s longest-serving monarch will be laid to rest after a state funeral.

The Royal Family, world leaders and dignitaries have descended on Westminster Abbey to honour the life of Queen Elizabeth II, after her death at the age of 96.

At 10.44am, the Queen’s coffin travelled from the Palace of Westminster (Houses of Parliament) to Westminster Abbey for the state funeral.

This is a very short journey, and was not be part of the public procession.

The state funeral service

The state funeral service was conducted by the Dean of Westminster and The Sermon and the Commendation will be given by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

During the Service, the Prime Minister and the Secretary General of the Commonwealth read Lessons.

The Archbishop of York, the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland and the Free Churches Moderator said prayers.

The Procession from Westminster Abbey to Wellington Arch

At the end of the Service, Her Majesty’s coffin wase borne to Wellington Arch, via The Mall on the State Gun Carriage.

The King’s Guard gave a Royal Salute as the Coffin passes the Queen Victoria Memorial.

All processions and services are being broadcast on near-all national television and radio channels.

Once the coffin reaches Wellington Arch, it will be placed in the State Hearse. The parade will give a Royal Salute and the National Anthem will be played as the State Hearse begins its journey to Windsor.

Procession from Albert Hall, Windsor to St George’s Chapel

When the Coffin reaches Windsor, the State Hearse will slow to join a Procession to be formed up on Albert Road to travel via the Long Walk to St George’s Chapel. Members of the Royal Family will join the Procession in the Quadrangle at Windsor Castle. Minute Guns will be fired on the East Lawn, Windsor Castle by The King’s Troop, Royal Horse Artillery, and Sebastopol Bell and the Curfew Tower Bell will be tolled throughout the Procession.

The Procession will halt at the bottom of the West Steps of St. George’s Chapel where a Guard of Honour, found by the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, will be mounted. The Queen’s Coffin will be borne in Procession into the Chapel.

The Committal Service

The Committal Service will begin at 4pm, and alongside His Majesty The King and Members of the Royal Family, the congregation will be made up of past and present members of The Queen’s Household, including from the private estates. Also in attendance will be Governors General and Realm Prime Ministers.

The Service will be conducted by the Dean of Windsor, with prayers said by the Rector of Sandringham, the Minister of Crathie Kirk and the Chaplain of Windsor Great Park. The Choir of St George’s Chapel will sing during the Service.

Prior to the final Hymn, the Imperial State Crown, the Orb and the Sceptre will be removed from Her Majesty The Queen’s Coffin, and placed on the Altar. At the end of the final Hymn, The King will place The Queen’s Company Camp Colour of the Grenadier Guards on Her Majesty’s Coffin. At the same time, The Lord Chamberlain will “break” his Wand of Office and place it on the Coffin.

As The Queen’s Coffin is lowered into the Royal Vault, the Dean of Windsor will say a Psalm and the Commendation before Garter King of Arms pronounces Her Majesty’s styles and titles. The Sovereign’s Piper will play a Lament and The Archbishop of Canterbury will pronounce the Blessing. The National Anthem will be sung at the conclusion of the Service.

Not seen on the streets of London since the funeral of Sir Winston Churchill in 1965, the State Gun Carriage will be pulled by 98 Royal Navy sailors, with a further 40 marching behind acting as brakes. The King and Members of the Royal Family will again follow The Queen’s Coffin in Procession. The Procession will include detachments from the Armed Forces of the Commonwealth, as well as detachments of the British Armed Forces who held a special relationship with The Queen.

A Private Burial will take place in The King George VI Memorial Chapel later that evening, conducted by the Dean of Windsor.

The Queen is to be buried together with The Duke of Edinburgh, at The King George VI Memorial Chapel.

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Arrangements for the Funeral of Her Majesty The Queen

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THE TRAGIC death of Queen Elizabeth II set into motion an intricate period of mourning across the country, which will close with her State Funeral on Monday, September 19. 

Arrangements for Britain’s longest-reigning monarch’s funeral have been carefully detailed for many years. The Queen herself signed off on every detail before her death. The details were kept private until King Charles III gave his final seal of approval. 

The State Funeral of HRH Queen Elizabeth II will take place at Westminster Abbey on Monday (Sep 19) at 11.00am. 

Following the Queen’s death, her oak coffin—draped with the Royal Standard for Scotland and a wreath of flowers—sat in the ballroom at Balmoral, where estate staff had the chance to pay their last respects.

On Sunday morning, gamekeepers carried her coffin to a waiting hearse before she left Balmoral for the final time. 

The first stage of the Queen’s journey saw the royal cortege travel to Edinburgh and the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the official residence of the British monarch in Scotland. 

An honour guard made up of the Royal Regiment of Scotland greeted the hearse in Edinburgh with a royal salute before the coffin was transferred to the Throne Room by a military bearer party.

On Monday, September 12, a procession was formed on the forecourt of the Palace of Holyroodhouse to convey the coffin to St Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh. 

The King and members of the Royal family took part in the procession and attended a service in St Giles’ Cathedral where they received the coffin. 

Queen Elizabeth’s coffin was laid in St Giles’ Cathedral, guarded by Vigils from The Royal Company of Archers, to allow those in Scotland to pay their respects. 

On the afternoon of Tuesday, September 13, The Queen’s coffin travelled from Scotland by  Royal Air Force aircraft from Edinburgh Airport. It arrived at RAF Northolt on Tuesday evening. The coffin was accompanied on its journey by The Princess Royal. 

The Queen’s coffin was then conveyed to Buckingham Palace by road, to rest in the Bow Room. 

The coffin was received by her family in a small private ceremony before her official lying in state. 

On Wednesday, September 14, the coffin was borne in procession on a gun carriage of The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery from Buckingham Palace to the Palace of Westminster. 

The Procession travelled via Queen’s Gardens, The Mall, Horse Guards and Horse Guards Arch, Whitehall, Parliament Street, Parliament Square and New Palace Yard. 

After the coffin arrived at Westminster Hall, the Archbishop of Canterbury conducted a short service assisted by The Very Reverend Dr David Hoyle, Dean of Westminster, and attended by The King and Members of the Royal Family, after which the Lying-in-State began.

During the Lying-in-State, members of the public will have the opportunity to visit Westminster Hall to pay their respects to The Queen. 

Members of the public were able to file past the Queen’s coffin during its first full day of lying-in-state at Westminster Hall on Thursday.

Brass plaques in the 11th-century hall mark the spots where Edward VII lay in state in 1910, George V in 1936, George VI in 1952 and Queen Mary a year later. The hall, which is 900 years old, is also where wartime British Prime Minister Winston Churchill lay in state in 1965.

The Queen was laid-in-state in Westminster Hall until 6.30am Monday (Sep 19) morning. The coffin will then travel in a procession led by King Charles III and his family when it is moved at 10.44am from Westminster Hall to Westminster Abbey. 

He will walk with the Princess Royal, the Duke of York and Earl of Wessex and behind the quartet will be the Queen’s grandsons, Peter Phillips, Duke of Sussex and the Prince of Wales.

The Queen’s coffin will be carried during the procession on a 123-year-old gun carriage towed by 98 Royal Navy sailors in a tradition which dates back to the funeral of Queen Victoria.

The procession will be led by a massed Pipes & Drums of Scottish and Irish Regiments, the Brigade of Gurkhas, and the Royal Air Force.

It will arrive at the west gate of Westminster Abbey at 10.52am when the bearer party will lift the coffin from the gun carriage and carry it into the Abbey for the state funeral service.

The service will begin at 11am and will be conducted by the Dean of Westminster.

Westminster Abbey has a capacity of approximately 2,200 people.

Heads of state and dignitaries from around the world are expected to be invited to the British capital to join members of the royal family to celebrate the Queen’s life and unwavering service to the nation and Commonwealth. The majority of leaders were asked to take commercial flights to London for the funeral. 

Many members of royal families across Europe are expected to attend the funeral. The White House has confirmed the attendance of President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden. 

Leaders from across the Commonwealth, of which the Queen served as head for the entirety of her reign, are expected to attend. Many other world leaders are also expected to attend the funeral. 

At approximately 11.55am the Last Post will sound, followed by two minutes of silence to be observed in the Abbey and throughout the UK.

Reveille, the national anthem and a lament played by the Queen’s piper will bring the state funeral service to an end at around noon.

After the service, the Queen’s coffin will be returned to the gun carriage by the bearer party and a procession will travel to Wellington Arch at Hyde Park.

At Wellington Arch the royal family will watch as the Queen’s coffin is transferred to the new state hearse, before it begins its journey to Windsor Castle.

At 3.06pm, the state hearse will approach Shaw Farm Gate on Albert Road, Windsor, and join the procession which will be in position.

At 3.10pm the procession will step off via Albert Road, Long Walk, Cambridge Gate, Cambridge Drive, George IV Gate, Quadrangle (South and West sides), Engine Court, Norman Arch, Chapel Hill, Parade Ground and Horseshoe Cloister Arch.

At approximately 3.40 pm the King and other members of the Royal Family who are walking in the procession join it at the Quadrangle on the North side as it passes into Engine Court.

At 3.53pm, the procession will halt at the bottom of the West Steps of St George’s Chapel in Horseshoe Cloister.

The Queen will be laid to rest following a committal service at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle, which will begin at 4pm.

She will be interred with the Duke of Edinburgh in King George VI’s Memorial Chapel in St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, in a private service at 7.30pm on Monday.

The burial service, conducted by the Dean of Windsor and attended by the King and royals, will remain entirely private.

Britain is projected to spend an estimated £78 million on Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral.

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