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“What ambition do politicians have for the countryside?”

  • by JW

“We feel let down.” [Country Land and Business Association]

There have been a few sarcastic comments on local community social media about Farmer Clarkson’s own comments on the current plight of farmers. This is typical:

He shows what farmers go through but with added humour.SIDMOUTH community for the people | If a Jeremy Clarkson fan or not | Facebook

Mainstream media has picked up the same vibes: Clarkson’s Farm has revealed a rural revolt against a botched Brexit and Tory neglect

And our farmer appears to be actually agreeing with the Guardian today:

Thérèse Coffey, the environment secretary, faced tough questions and a chilly reception late last year at her first public outing. She had chosen to address countryside landowners, the Country Land and Business Association (CLA), which previously would have been one of the safest audiences. But a botched agricultural strategy that has left land managers out of pocket and trade deals that undercut UK farmers have led to widespread anger in the sector. Not to mention the scourge of second homes, cuts to public services in remote areas, and lack of connection to broadband and the National Grid.

Jonathan Roberts, the association’s director of external affairs, believes the rural vote is up for grabs. Roberts says his members feel let down by years of Tory rule: “Conservatives can often talk authoritatively on complex and nuanced rural issues – but after 13 years it’s difficult to see what ambition they have for the countryside, with MPs seemingly worried by nimbys or other groups determined to treat the countryside as a museum. Left-leaning parties might smell blood, but they won’t pick up rural votes by default. They still need to earn people’s trust. It’s no use having your photo taken with a tractor if you’re just going to get back on the train to London and forget about us. Rural voters will see through that all day long.”

Taken for granted: rural vote up for grabs if Labour can make hay | Farming | The Guardian

Even the Telegraph is sending out warning signals this evening: The Tories have abandoned farmers – and risk losing the rural vote

But Farmers’ Weekly was reporting this over a year ago: Farmer support for Conservatives on the slide, FW survey reveals – Farmers Weekly


There should be an interesting constituency campaign next year around ‘rural issues’: Simon Jupp named Conservative candidate for new Honiton and Sidmouth constituency – Devon Live and Devon MP presents Parliament bill to protect wild camping on Dartmoor – Devon Live

Not that the VGS is at all party political: but, clearly, being a rural constituency, this will be something to watch.