The Third Leader: Running wild

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The Independent Online

The current excitement over wild boar in Devon is a typically tangled contemporary tale of diversifying farmers and hunts, unconventional livestock, animal rights activists with wirecutters and distressed neighbours as the beasts roam Exmoor, frightening postmistresses, barging into pubs, causing extensive damage and otherwise proving obstinately elusive. The key point, for me, though, is that it puts a bit of edge back into life.

Going out on the round-up provides an immediate thrill, of course, even if yesterday's score was one out of 60. But there's more to it than that: I have long thought what's missing in modern Britain is putting your feet up of an evening with that sense of satisfaction at having survived another day without encountering marauding brigands, crazed knights errant, slavering wild beasts or the lord of the manor looking to send you off without so much as a by-your-leave to help the ruler on some madcap ego trip over some border or other.

A bit of this, particularly the last, still obtains, but I nevertheless maintain that the judicious reintroduction of boars, wolves and bears around the country would produce a sharper, fitter nation much better equipped to compete in an increasingly challenging world, not to mention the 2012 Olympics.

Hiccups in the doorstep delivery sector would be more than outweighed by the benefit a new alertness would have on the consumption of drink and drugs. I surely don't have to spell out the other advantages, including an easing of the crises in pension provision and the health service as numbers steadily reduced. This could be a wild idea whose time has come.