In court, a shoplifter claims that far more money is stolen by corrupt 'big business', that the police should be out there chasing the 'real villains' and not wasting everybody's time with such small fry. Valid arguments maybe, but no defence.
The biggest threat to Appleby Fair is complacency. Those who would deny the abuses, ignore them, or even justify them merely leave the door open for those who would seek to ban it.
The politicians have got hold of it now - and that should worry people. I don't think many on this thread realise the scale of resentment felt by the local community towards the fair. You may choose to ignore it - politicians dare not. David Maclean MP will feel obliged to spit bile to appease his constituents; we must hope he doesn't take it any further.
Governments look for easy targets (smokers, hunters, druggies). Ask yourself which activity would be easier to ban: Appleby or horse racing. Then ask yourself which activity would require the least adjustment to bring it within public acceptance: Appleby or horse racing.
All I want is for the Fair to continue - minus the abuse. Is that too much to ask?