Tories no longer understand the countryside, says Alan Titchmarsh

30th November, 2012 9:29 am

According to the Telegraph, Britain’s favourite green-fingered chat show host said:

“Time was when the Tory party was the party of the Shires and understood how the countryside works…There seems to me very little investment in rural areas and the countryside. We have to look after agriculture and horticulture: growing things. This is how we feed ourselves.”

  • AlanGiles

    The question for you, if not Titchmarsh, is, though, do Labour understand the countryside?

    Or can you at least pretend that they do, and keep up the pretence throughout a general election campaign?.

    When you think of the countryside what is the first word that comes to mind?

    Green!

  • NT86

    Neither does Labour. Their time in government was so heavily biased towards London. It sometimes felt like some urban clique that looked down on people in the countryside. Any wonder why there’s little to no support for them in rural places?

  • aracataca

    I don’t agree with this idea that Labour is somehow inherently urban. It’s more a case that there’s a divide between urban and rural areas and how people vote, ie urbanites are more likely to vote Labour.

    Miliband couldn’t have made it clearer, in his One Nation speech, that he wants to reach out to those parts of the UK – southern, rural parts – that used to be seen as no-go areas for Labour.

    It’s interesting that Norfolk, now a Tory and LibDem stronghold, had some very impressive Labour MPs once upon a time – men like George Edwards for example, who was active in the farm workers’ union and from a very poor background. http://country-standard.blogspot.co.uk/2007/02/george-edwards-mp-norfolk.html

    With the increasing mechanisation of agriculture, former farm workers moved out to throbbing metropolises like Norwich (Norwich North and South hopefully will return to Labour at the next GE). The villages became more middle class and Tory.

    • TomFairfax

      Generally agree with your observations, however with one proviso. Those places within commuting distance of London or the major cities become more middle class dormatories.

      Those that aren’t within easy distance of work seem to be dying on their feet because you simply don’t that many people to work the land these days, and the ‘nice’ houses end up as holiday or second homes.

      In Italy the process has already gone much further. Places become full of the elderly who’ve lived there all their lives and the young have gone elsewhere to work. Those elderly then require services that are gradually centralised in the towns therefore more difficult to access.

      The countryside needs to become a working environment again or end up deserted or as a theme park.

      My thinking is that means to put it bluntly support for industrial/office mini-industrial parks in old or under utilised farm yards, or redundant facilities in market towns (not just redevelopment for posh country homes for city people who aren’t around to support the local businesses throughout the year) the same level of communications tech that can be accessed in cities to support the businesses, and a halt to the gradual monopolisation of commerce by a few large organisations that can indulge in loss leading promotions of key items to drive the local competition out of business (a practise banned in the free market US of A).

      I’ve no doubt you can think of a few other things.

  • aracataca

    Actually, when people say Labour ‘don’t understand the countryside’, they’re usually the types who actually don’t understand the countryside themselves. They might live there, they might like the *idea* of the countryside, and the huntin’ shootin’ fishin’ thing, but it’s not the real countryside as a farmer or farm worker would understand it. It’s more like a giant nostalgia theme park to them.

  • Gabrielle

    The would-be forestry sell-off and HS2 cutting through the shires are two reasons why the countryside is disillusioned with the Tories.

    Cameron might enjoy a ‘country supper’ occasionally – or at least he did – but really what he and the rest of the Chipping Norton set were doing was living a metropolitan life placed in an idyllic setting. (Aracataca puts it well with the ‘theme park’ comment.)

    Cameron knows little about the countryside and cares even less, apart from the fact that he takes their votes for granted. Now UKIP are on the rise, his complacency must be very shaken.

Latest

  • News Cooper slams “immoral” Theresa May, and calls for Med rescue to be restarted ASAP

    Cooper slams “immoral” Theresa May, and calls for Med rescue to be restarted ASAP

    After the tragic reports overnight that hundreds of people have drowned in the Mediterranean after a boat capsized, Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper has called on the EU to “restart the rescue” as soon as possible. Cooper also slammed Theresa May’s behaviour – arguing that rescue operations should be stopped in order to deter others from coming – as “immoral”. Here’s what she had to say: “Today’s dreadful and distressing tragedy shows how urgently we need EU and international action to prevent thousands […]

    Read more →
  • Comment How the Tories turned me into a Labour councillor

    How the Tories turned me into a Labour councillor

    General elections have a way of focusing the mind and crystallising the differences between Britain’s political parties. And so the old accusation that “you’re all the same” seems to have lost its resonance in recent weeks. The Greens and UKIP are receding in the polls, and the traditional red-blue choice is returning to the fore. The stark choice between five more years of Dickensian policies under David Cameron’s Tories or an economy that works for all under Ed Miliband’s Labour is […]

    Read more →
  • News Labour will make the railways a priority if they win in May

    Labour will make the railways a priority if they win in May

    Labour will make their rail plans a priority if they win in May and launch a review of the franchising system in their first 100 days of government. The Labour party’s plans for the railways would allow public sector companies to bid on rail franchises against firms. The Sunday Times have reported that Labour would start this process off immediately and that they may put the existing franchising process on hold while they conduct a review into it. A party […]

    Read more →
  • Video When Ed Miliband met a hen party

    When Ed Miliband met a hen party

    Ed Miliband was in the North West yesterday. This is what happened when he got to Chester, and his battlebus bumped into a hen party: Selfie! Selfie! Selfie!

    Read more →
  • News Scotland Tom McCabe, former Scottish Labour MSP, has died

    Tom McCabe, former Scottish Labour MSP, has died

    Tom McCabe has died aged 60 after a short illness. McCabe was the first MSP to ever be elected; his victory in Hamilton and South was announced just 75 minutes after the polls closed. He won by around 7,000 votes and represented the constituency from 1999 until 2011. During this time he was also the minister for parliamentary business for two years (1999-2001), deputy minister for health and community care (in 2003) ,and minister for finance and public service reform […]

    Read more →
Share with your friends










Submit