Features

Welcome to Miliband country: how Labour would wreck rural life

2 May 2015

9:00 AM

2 May 2015

9:00 AM

Imagine rural England five years into a Labour government led by Ed Miliband, and propped up by the SNP and perhaps also the Greens. If you can’t imagine, let me paint the picture for you using policies from their election manifestos and only a small amount of artistic licence.

The biggest house-building programme in history is well under way, with a million new houses mainly being built in rural areas. Several ‘garden cities’ have sprung up in Surrey, Sussex and Kent, though in truth the gardens are the size of postage stamps. No matter, because having a big garden is a liability since right to roam was extended so that ramblers can walk across your lawn.

Oh, and if you’re thinking of walking a dog, think again. The killing of any animal outdoors, whether intentional or accidental, is deemed to be ‘reckless hunting’. Consequently, most dog owners simply cannot risk letting their dog off the lead in case it catches a squirrel, the penalty for which is a prison sentence. Shooting estates have all but disappeared. The ones in Scotland were the first to go, because of SNP land reforms. But soon most gamekeepers in Britain were being prosecuted for ‘wildlife crime’ after government inspectors found they were killing rats, foxes, mink, magpies, crows and grey squirrels. Now there’s no shooting, songbirds are dwindling in numbers as predators run amok. The rural economy is £2 billion down.

Dairy farming is at an all-time low as more and more farmers throw in the towel in the face of the growing threat of TB to their herds from badgers, after Labour ended the badger cull. Consequently, most milk is imported from Holland and Belgium.

After pressure from the Greens, horse-racing has been subjected to so many new rules that an increasing number of courses find it financially unviable to continue. Three-day eventing is in turmoil because use of the whip — even to tap a horse’s neck — has been banned from all equestrian sports, along with over-vigorous kicking of the legs. Horses now regularly hesitate before fences, catapulting riders over the top.

Cages, dog crates and animal hutches are banned. The RSPCA have been given powers to raid homes without a warrant if abuse is suspected. ‘Abuse’ can mean a dizzying variety of offences, including not cleaning a dog’s teeth.

New targets for ‘zero carbon homes’ mean that country cottages must pay a levy to continue to use open fires and log-burners. Four-by-fours are subject to an emissions tax, so a lot of poorer families cannot get about when it snows. Tractors have to pay a congestion charge.

All rural businesses and public services must abide by the terms of Labour’s National Adaptation Programme, under which everything they do must take account of climate change, with mandatory reporting every year on how they have acted to reduce carbon emissions. Sadly, many village shops and schools can’t cope with the red tape and go under.


The Environment Secretary, Natalie Bennett of the Green party, has established a commission to examine how vegetarianism might be promoted by the NHS and in schools. Extra welfare payments are on offer for families who choose to go meat-free.

However, while most Britons are prevented from harming so much as a hair on the head of any animal, Islamic slaughterhouses continue to be licensed to kill animals by slitting their throats. Pickets outside halal butchers are a common sight as people demand the government end the hypocrisy of animal welfare laws that exempt Muslims.

As crime soars in urban areas, hundreds of hours of parliamentary time are devoted to devising dozens of new laws aimed at sleepy rural communities. Health and safety regulations proliferate. Ed Miliband faces calls to intervene after the Queen is issued with an on-the-spot fine for riding without a hat at Sandringham. A full-blown constitutional crisis erupts after Zara Phillips is given a three-year prison sentence for yanking too hard on the reins as her horse tackles a water jump at Badminton. A few weeks later, riots break out when police raid the All England jumping course at Hickstead after a tipoff that one of the competitors is wearing spurs. Members of the Pony Club march on Parliament Square demanding civil rights.

Fine, so now I’m getting carried away. The last four items are pure fiction. I’m extrapolating a little — but not much. The rest of this nightmare vision has at least some basis in fact. Everything about Labour’s rural manifesto screams that it is planning a return to the class warfare and divisiveness of its past, setting town against country in order to rule. Look at what its shadow environment secretary, Maria Eagle, said in February about the party’s plans to tackle ‘wildlife crime’.

The next Labour government will undertake an independent review to ‘reduce animal cruelty on shooting estates’ — which assumes that cruelty on shooting estates is a fact. Gun licences will become more expensive, presumably to make shooting unviable. The processing fee for a shotgun license has already increased from £50 to £79.50 and while their figures are hazy, it is thought Labour wants it to be £196. Other lines of attack proposed by shadow ministers include restricting driven grouse shooting and a ban on lead shot.

Ms Eagle said her party would ‘defend’ the ban on hunting with hounds. What this means remains unclear. Labour is under pressure from the League Against Cruel Sports to strengthen the ban, creating a new offence of ‘reckless hunting’ which would penalise anyone whose dog hunts a mammal accidentally. That would also make it an offence to lay a drag trail anywhere where wild mammals might be found — in other words, anywhere. And the league wants a six-month mandatory prison sentence for offences under the Hunting Act.

Hunting and shooting are, of course, the thin end of wedge. The suspicion has to be that the left wants to get stuck into racing, too, and anything else that ‘toffs’ do on horseback. Moreover, if Labour has to rely on Green party support, the price the Greens might extract could easily be the adoption of their own barmy policies. Leader Natalie Bennett has said she wants ‘a complete review of all horse and dog racing’, and an end to the Grand National. Her manifesto outlines a ban on rabbit hutches, a national code of conduct for anglers and a ban on certain types of fishing hook.

Labour also appears susceptible to the increasingly intemperate RSPCA. The fear is that the charity will talk Miliband into ever stricter controls, just as it lobbied the last Labour government for the Animal Welfare Act 2006 to include the dangerously broad offence of ‘failing an animal’s needs’, a clause which has fuelled myriad unjust prosecutions of elderly and infirm pet–owners. The joke I made earlier about not cleaning a dog’s teeth actually happened, by the way: a couple called Frank and Hazel Hill had the book thrown at them recently when the RSPCA took them to court for letting -tartar build up on their dachshund’s gnashers.

My prediction about dairy farmers is hardly hysterical. The latest figures show that almost 500 have packed up in the past year, with despair over TB the major factor. Imagine what they will do when Labour leaves them with no disease control at all.

On right to roam, the Labour manifesto outlines a desire to ‘bring nature closer to people by making public access to green spaces a priority’. Those will be the green spaces left over when they’ve finished putting up buildings, presumably. They want 200,000 new homes a year, twice the current number.

On climate change, they promise a mountain of red tape: ‘We will provide half a million personalised home energy reports a year.’ Ye gods. The National Adaptation Policy is fact too, sadly. A pledge that ‘There will be no moratorium on onshore wind under a Labour government’ is enough to put the wind up anyone who doesn’t want a turbine in every field. Labour, it says, ‘remains committed to zero carbon homes as set out by the Zero Carbon Hub’. Yes, well, whatever that is, I bet it doesn’t have any good news for people living in thatched cottages.

The problem is, the closest this lot have come to the countryside is Hampstead Heath. When it comes to country pursuits they think dogging is as valid as jogging, for all one can tell. The left has no clue about the realities of rural existence and persists with useless ideology. They think they can prevent all creatures suffering, and kick the bejesus out of farmers, while still having meat and milk on the shelves of the trendy organic supermarkets they like to frequent.

What of a mansion tax’s effect on the countryside? How many elderly widows in rambling farmhouses will have to sell up? To look at it from another angle, how many London families will descend on rural areas when they face a demand for £25,000 a year for their four-bed semi in Streatham?

One can easily foresee a situation in which the demand for family homes in the commuter belt becomes so urgent that even Labour’s house-building can’t accommodate all the desperate urbanites selling up in the capital to escape.

Except that an escape to the country won’t be what it used to be, will it?

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Show comments
  • Fraser Bailey

    I don’t think you’re getting ‘carried away’ at all Melissa. It all seems very plausible to me.

  • fenlandfox

    trouble is,I can imagine most of the legislation joked about here being implemented by the Tories.most politicians ignore the rural vote and seem to favour grandstanding to the welfare and greens lobbies.
    Not to forget of course that agriculture is an area where the government has given full control to the EU and does little more than gold plate edicts from the commission.
    A plague on all their houses!

    • Peter Stroud

      The countryside has little to worry about if Cameron wins, because he is a country boy at heart. Furthermore, most rural areas are represented by Tories. However, Miliband has absolutely no idea about the countryside, neither have the majority of his MPs. I just cannot imagine the Labour leader in Wellies and a keeper’s tweed suit. He would look more ridiculous than usual.

      • Malcolm Stevas

        Hah! Cameron a country boy who cares? Pull the other one.

        • Peter Stroud

          He’s hunted with hounds, shot, fished and stalked deer. Furthermore, he has lived a country life and knows about rural problems. Miliband? Would not know what the country lifestyle is if it bit his bottom. The man is a townie through and through, as are the vast majority of his MPs.

          • Malcolm Stevas

            His personal sporting record makes it even worse: what’s alright for him is not alright for many other country people (and others) constrained severely by policies/laws either sponsored or not opposed by the Conservatives, to do with guns, knives, farming, “animal rights”, agricultural policy, planning, transport infrastructure, broadband provision… I’ve met and corresponded with Conservative MPs who have agreed with me – or at least pretended to – that personally they do not support this or that illiberal, restrictive measure, but confess that they toe the Party line and obey the Whips when it comes to voting.
            Sorry, but Cameron is just as much a hypocrite on country matters (and political liberty in general) as most of the rest of his Party.

          • Peter Stroud

            I was just pointing out that he is a countryman. Your views on country sports don’t interest me one iota.

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            Malcolm enjoys telling others what a loyal bloody kipper he is.

          • goodsoldier

            And you imply that you are loyal to your paedophiliac constituancy. Cover-up and more cover-up to protect the three main parties. Or better yet, silence.

          • Malcolm Stevas

            So you believe Cameron’s countryside activities mean something, but you’re not interested in mine – or my views on these? It’s significant that you don’t attempt to refute what I say, merely reject it huffily as not being “on message” or some such.

          • Peter Stroud

            No, frankly I am not interested in your views on the countryside, or country sports. I am an old man but when I could walk and run I enjoyed hunting, a bit of shooting and fly fishing. Now I can only follow hounds by car. I have no interest in whether you are for or against field sports, or whether you are a townsman, or a countryman. All this exchange started because I pointed out that Cameron is a countryman at heart.

          • Malcolm Stevas

            Full marks for obdurate refusal to engage in rational discussion. I wonder if you realise how meaningless it is to assert that DC is “a countryman at heart” without addressing whatever substantive effects this might (not) have.

          • Peter Stroud

            God, I bet you are the pub bore. Give it a rest, it is really unimportant. I’ll vote Tory. You clearly won’t.

          • goodsoldier

            And you sound like a smug gastro–pub bore in the countryside.

          • goodsoldier

            He is also a sheep at heart. Sheeple vote for sheep.

          • RS

            Vote blue go Green.

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            Boris loves to massacre huge numbers of little grouse, more than even he and the Aga Khan can eat.

          • Conway

            I agree with you about Miliband, but Cameron’s understanding of the countryside is limited to hobnobbing with large landowners to get their votes and encouraging windmills so people like his father in law get massive subsidies.

          • goodsoldier

            Cameron, Miliband and Clegg are scared of mice.

      • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

        Virtually none of Wales and none of Scotland or N Ireland have Tory MPs

        • jonkle

          Wales have 8 Tory MP’s in Westminster and 14 seats in the Welsh Assembly. “Virtually none” is a bit wide of the mark.

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            Not for long.

    • goodsoldier

      That’s why so many of us are voting UKIP. We agree with Roger Scruton.

  • cartimandua

    What is left out is that water shortages will become commonplace because land is not “empty” when it isn’t covered in concrete. It lets water into the aquifers on which millions rely. Most of the overcrowded south and south east uses aquifers and water is already short.
    We already import 40% of our food. One wonders how much food insecurity of supply and safety politicians are able to tolerate.
    Wars weather disasters strikes and lots of people in those big urban areas will starve and then riot.

  • Precambrian

    Perhaps when Labour make a big enough mess of the country all the opportunists will clear off and we can get back what will be left of it.

    Not that the Tories do a better job.

  • Gary Hills

    In protecting wildlife from deliberate cruelty of blood sport Labour will be 100% spot on and the vast bulk of the population want them to. So that puts pay to your paranoid thinking making out you and hunters know better then everyone else.

    But the utter rubbish of class war is the age of rallying call of the deluded and weak thinker. The only time it is ever said and used is by those with money, never by those who you claim seek it. It does not exist and it is stupid to bring it up.

    Animal cruelty is wrong on every level, it deserves punishment by prison because nobody regardless of wealth or status has any rights to inflict cruelty on a living creature for fun. Labour are also right to see a need for more housing because society needs homes. As long as they are places with care then there fear rural people have is overblown.

    There is too much silliness in this article to waste time picking it to pieces, but Ill say this whatever Labour do, it will be Labour. Not the SNP, not the Greens, Labour will be setting out its own direction and other parties will not be involved.You make far too much assumption that the SNP are on the same page as Labour and you fail to take note that Labour has ruled out any deals with them. Perhaps you should read up more on what is said instead of just making assumption.

    Labour can win this election and that is best for people and best for wildlife.

    • Precambrian

      If you oppose animal cruelty, lets see you start with the battery chickens that are killed by their tens of millions to provide cheap meat for tory and labour voters alike.

      But you won’t. Because the claims of “animal cruelty” are just cowardly class war masquerading as caring about wildlife.

      • jonkle

        What it boils down to is they don’t like toffs on horses. It’s a class war thing. They’ll want to ban hunting scented rags too, because it involves toffs on horses having fun, and it’s a symbolic thing. It will be interesting to see what they do about the sport of fishing, and council flat residents keeping exotic wild animals in cages as “pets”, not to mention the importation of bush meat etc to suit the diverse tastes of our multicultural society.

        • Gary Hills

          Nope its not class war, it its animal welfare and that is the reality. Try reading up on what animal welfare campaigns say. It has nothing to do with wealth. That is just a lame excuse by those who support hunting hide behind to make out their the victims. When its the animals that are always the ones who suffer do to man’s cruelty.

          • Anonymous

            Campaigns such as those run by the LACS to ban trail hunting (as they stated on Countryfile) where no animals are harmed?

            Or maybe those endorsed by Joe Duckworth who wouldn’t want a law prohibiting cruelty to a wild animal because “The problem with that suggestion is that someone would actually have to be cruel to the animal before they could be charged with any offence.”

            Are those the attitudes of campaigners whose real concern is animal welfare?

            Let alone Dennis Skinner’s “This is nothing to do with animal welfare. This is for the miners”

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            It is both a class war and a general scorn for the bloodlust of the toffs.

          • cartimandua

            The anti hunting law has left foxes to be shot by inexpert shots and to take days to die or to die slowly of hunger and disease.
            Mange is now a national problem for foxes and an agonizing death.

          • fearnot

            not to mention dogs being poisoned by fox bait.

          • Tom M

            I remember reading a report in the Telegraph following the foxhunting ban written by some Labour minister or his aid who admitted that the ban was indeed class driven and said that the “nobs on the hill” were next. Referring to those minor landed gentry that appear to run local communities in a manner not quite in keeping with Socialist views.

          • jonkle

            Hunting with dogs has been illegal since 2005.
            However the killing of animals by halal slaughter is quite legal.
            Do you approve of halal slaughter ?
            And do you approve of the sport of fishing ?

      • George Holliday

        Absolute rubbish. In case you didnt know, battery farms are illegal in the UK, though we do import meat and eggs from Europe where the law is flouted. So despite obvious problems (a lack of CCTV in slaughterhouses, which needs to be addressed) we are doing far better than most other places. Most livestock in this country are not confined 24 hours a day.

        Britain has some of the best animal welfare legislation in the world and it hasn’t compromised our producers. Your “class war” argument is nonsense- I’m no Labourite, but a large number of us are sick to death of the tories waging a war on wildlife whenever it seems to be an inconvenience to their short-term economic interests. Badgers are a classic example.

        The reality is that a lot of us are opposed to things like the badger cull because it simply is cruel and won’t work- countless research papers prove this. We object to our tax money being spent killing thousands of healthy animals for little noticeable gain (and if you think otherwise, go and read the ISG report, IEP report, and associated papers including Donnelly et al, 2010, Books-Pollock et al 2014, Moustakas & Evans 2015).

        • Precambrian

          If you think that “enriched cages” are something other than battery with good PR, you are mistaken.

          The class warriors target a couple of hundred foxes and ignore the millions of chickens – their bias is obvious,

          Hunting is not badger-baiting, bear-pits or cock fights. The fox when caught is killed in moments, not given a slow death in a bloody fight.

          As for the badger cull – different issue. Its not hunting, and the solution to BTB is found more in:
          * not moving animals around the country and
          * not overloading their numbers on a farm (again related to the “battery” issue with chickens).
          A cull has its place, but its no solution in itself.

          • Conway

            Not moving animals round the country has been made considerably more difficult to achieve since a lot of small abattoirs closed.

      • Gary Hills

        Is that meant to be your excuse to gloss over vile blood sport. The issues of chickens? Well I am vegetarian so I do not eat any meat. My advice to anyone who wants to see less suffering of chickens is easy, do not eat them.

        And as for the class war rubbish, I have no issues at all all with wealth. I know rich people and those with little I do not judge people based on wealth but it is clear you do. These lame excuses are only ever raised by those who hunt or support blood sport. Class war does not exist, its just a heading that has no meaning.

        The only thing people want to see happen with those who are wealthy is that they pay their fair share of tax, which is the law so hardly a war is it. You clearly do not understand or have much contact with society to come out with such excuses. If you hunt or kill wildlife for fun then you are cruel and supporting it is no better either way it is wrong.

        The writer of this article is out of touch with reality and is paranoid. They clearly have no connection with Labour people or what the party does. It is not anything like its assumed and its nothing but a negative spin that achieves nothing.

        • fearnot

          you are the one out of touch.. if we don’t have chickens there will be NO chickens..or maybe just chickens as pets.. oh wait chickens need to eat insects.. can’t have that.. dogs and cats.. they have to go as well.. after all they eat meat. stupid vegans

      • Tom M

        I’m nearly with you there Precambrian. I think that those who go on about “animal cruelty” just don’t like the idea of anything, anywhere killing an animal ever (such as in the wild).
        Try asking them what is the difference between David Attenborough trekking around Africa with a film crew to watch an antelope being chased and killed by a cheetah or somesuch and the local hunt going off with dogs (whose natural bent is the same as the cheetah’s). They inevitably come up with some nonsense such as (and this is a genuine response I’ve had to the question) “….. and the fox didn’t even have a chance to beg for it’s life”.
        They well realise the obvious flaws in their argument so turn it slightly to complain about organising an event, for example, as opposed to the killing the fox or some other oblique reference to people on horses rampaging through the fields.
        And before anybody else replies with some remark about me foxhuting I can asure them I never have and never have sat on a horse either. I just think their arguments aren’t honest.

        • Precambrian

          I too do not hunt (horses and I have this agreement – I don’t try to ride them and in return they stop trying to use me as a chew toy).

          My main objections to the anti hunt crowd are that they are hypocrites and zealots. Hypocrites in that they are making class war but hiding it behind animal welfare (hence them not commenting on the cheap chicken that people wolf down each week). Zealots in that their views come from their emotions and not from reasonable coexistence; they are not looking for peaceful and harmonious society…they are looking to impose their views at all costs, hence the idiots who released mink into hampshire a few years ago and devastated the water vole populace.

          • Conway

            The thing I have noticed about the anti-hunt crowd is that when they start to lose the argument (because they don’t have a logical one, just an emotive one) they rapidly descend into abuse.

        • Conway

          I thought it was hypocrisy of the first order when the Bbc, in the run up to the hunting ban, prefaced every shot on the news of the huntsman and hounds, followed by the field, trotting along a road with the warning “some people might find this distressing” when wildlife documentaries showing a pack of wild dogs pulling down its quarry were screened without any mention that it might be distressing at all!

      • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

        Grouse murderers pay upwards of £30,000 a day for the unparalleled joy of blasting away with shotguns at 200 tiny little game birds. But then, it’s a good old British tradition going back all of 140 years.

        • Malcolm Stevas

          Actually it’s simply a minor offshoot of hunting, an activity which humans have practiced since the dawn of humanity. But perhaps you’re not human.

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            In order to eat , not to schmooze hedge fund deals. Plus who eats 200 little grouse ( I suppose Boris could and that Nicholas Soames).
            Some minor offshoot that occupies over 200, 10,000 acre moors and involves hundreds of millions of shooting fees to retain its exclusivity for the toffs. It costs about £175 to kill just two little birds.

          • Tom M

            I remember when I criticised Elton John for spending a ridiculous sum on flowers for somebody I was told sharply by my other half “if that’s what he wants to spend his money on that’s his affair not yours”. She was right.

          • CommonSense Matters

            Did your other half sell him the flowers? Or is she an exorbitantly priced florist? Oysters used to be peasant food. You were right to be critical because the price of vanity is something we should always have healthy criticism of even if it cannot be outlawed. Good moral debate is lost without it.

    • Malcolm Stevas

      Infantile garbage. Like the Party you support, you know nothing and care nothing about political liberty or rural culture.

      • Gary Hills

        Killing wildlife for fun is not a culture its just a pathetic excuses to commit acts of cruelty. That is not the rural way of life and 80% of all rural people are opposed to such needless animal suffering.

        You cannot hide wildlife cruelty by hiding it behind outdated views no longer waned.

        • Malcolm Stevas

          Your every little rant underscores your immaturity and gross misconceptions: pursuing the creatures of the wild is one of the most fundamental human activities. The continued freedom to do so is an expression of political liberty – not that your sort cares about such abstract concepts…
          No surprise that you practice vegetarianism, a neurosis of the enfeebled.

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            My God, Malcolm you’ve surpassed your usual level of crass insensibility with the “fundamental human activities” line. You seem intent on pushing a ridiculous line in libertarianism like some old hippy. Of course we know about the country Malcy, we bloody live there and have done all our lives. It is twits like you that ruin it for us ,with your fake traditions and your vile bloodlusts.

          • Malcolm Stevas

            Wonderful stuff, fully up to standard – yours, that is. Hippies are libertarian? What a curious fantasy! You come across as being rather long in the tooth so you really ought to know better.
            If you think hnting, shooting and fishing are “fake traditions” you know even less about humanity than I thought, and your reference to “vile bloodlusts” is simply amusing, albeit at a Christmas cracker level.

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            Hunting and shooting are fake traditions.Fishing is not.

        • RoryC

          Could you tell me where you got the impressive 80% statistic from? I’m fascinated because it sounds fairly ridiculous, especially in the wake of reports over the support of the fox hunting ban declining. Also, as a vegetarian, would you not say you have a slightly biased view when analysing this situation? I’m guessing your an Animal Rights activist?

          • Clued-Up

            National opinion survey produced by a reputable national polling company. It’s been widely reported in the press – I’m surprised you don’t know about it.

          • Conway

            I’ve seen the questions they asked. I’m not surprised they got the answer they did.

        • Tom M

          You would have to explain why fox huting is any more cruel than David Attenborough filming a cheetah killing an antelope in the wild (see my post above) or do you think that the cheetah should be banned as well?
          I usually get some response to this such as the-cheetah-is-doing-this-for-food. Which is slightly funny when you think in the antelope’s last moments he is saying “well it is all in a good cause then I’m supporting the cheetah’s family” as opposed to the fox who is saying ‘I’m dying here because somebody wants an afternoon out on his horse”.

          It is all just too daft for words.

    • Molly NooNar

      Labour didn’t produce a single white paper on the natural environment in 13 years of government. For 3 consecutive terms you ignored it! At least the Greens and SNP can hold your feet to the fire this time.

      • Gary Hills

        That is a rubbish. Labour did plenty for wildlife and animal welfare and is set to do far more.

        http://www.foxinparliament.com/labour-and-animals/

        • Malcolm Stevas

          Labour wouldn’t know wildlife if it bit them on the arse, and don’t give a stuff about “animal welfare” – the Party represents Guardian readers, public employees (excluding the armed forces), teachers, and the great unwashed/unemployed + benefits scroungers. It’s an urban outfit. The countryside is like an alien planet to such as Miliband.

    • Anonymous

      If the goal is to protect wildlife from cruelty, why does the law that claims to do this make no mention of cruelty?
      Don’t you think it would be far better to have a blanket ban on cruelty to wild animals (something against which they have minimal legal protection)?

    • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

      Grouse shooting is a ridiculously expensive sport indulged by ridiculous people. It is land hungry even beyond what golf clubs demand. They will pay upwards of £25 million for 20,000 acres of prime bird killing zones ,where they meet the foreign multi millionaires who line their pockets. Meanwhile we are told there is pressure on space because of too many immigrants. Absurd.

  • Malus Pudor

    1984 doesn’t seem too far away…

    • Precambrian

      More likely it will be Brave New World than 1984…

    • Mr Creosote

      Animal Farm …. the pigs are already in the farmhouse ordering the champagne!

  • Ken

    A few good points but generally an alarmist rant`with some cheap jibes unworthy of this magazine. The Tories have not been great protectors of rural England – look at the hideous housing sprawls tacked on to historic towns and villages, the superstores, wind farms…. Rather a silly piece by a writer who makes a point of hysterics.

    • explain this

      The LibDems want at least ten new “garden cities”. God help us.

      • JoeCro

        People need homes. A large wave of housebuilding will stimulate the economy and increase employment.

        • James Jones

          “People need homes”

          The problem is that those whose houses are increasing in ‘value’ every year by an amount equal to their gross salary don’t want the astonishing subsidy to end. They will vote to keep it going forever.

          • Vera

            Rubbish. Houses that are increasing hugely in value are where people want to live because they are where the work is, ie cities. No point in building homes where no one wants to live.

        • explain this

          The density of ‘garden cities’ is medieval by today’s standards. People have no imagination and then look to NY in awe. How odd is that.

        • Conway

          Well of course they need homes – we increase the population by 300,000 people a year, year on year. What could possibly go wrong?

        • goodsoldier

          Every poor African will need a home once they enter the U.K. on an EU passport. This will be great for the economy, lines of Corbusier stasi style housing blocks loved by eurocrats and lib/lab/con for the little people.

        • RS

          Quite true. You can hardly argue these houses are not needed. Unlike HS2 and many other things the government wastes our money on.

      • Vera

        Will there be work there though? No point in building homes if they are miles away from work.

        • RS

          As long as they are not in isolated rural places, or ‘the north’ then they are being built where they are needed. People already travel 70 miles in every direction to jobs in London. By making them Garden Cities ensures they are not isolated from transport infrastructure.

    • Tom M

      Quite so Ken . There were plenty of things of genuine concern that could have been satirised in the article that would frighten the life out of me following a Labour win that weren’t mentioned at all. Poor journalistic attempt.

    • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

      Well said Ken. The toffs are destroying rural England and Wales with their second homes. Parts of Cornwall and Devon have been totally colonized by Tarquins and Jocastas, no go areas for locals. Priced out of Padstow, St Ives, Salcombe, Poole, Woolacombe, Fowey, Dartmouth, Bath….. just in my region.
      In Scotland and the North the get rich quick posh kids in the banking industry show off their toff credentials by buying up vast tracts of grouse moor, removing it from farming and from general leisure pursuits and creating huge toff prairies where they can murder little birds for fun, while the locals are told to “get off my land”.

      • RS

        There is the rest of Cornwall from which most people are not priced out of. In fact pretty much all of Cornwall except for about a dozen honeypots, some of which you have mentioned. London on the other hand…

    • John Carins

      Bang on. The Conservative controlled county and and borough councils where I live seem hell bent on ruining the countryside.

      • James Jones

        “ruining the countryside.”

        It’s not your countryside. People need homes and stuff and they have to be built somewhere. There will soon be plenty of space in Africa, perhaps you can find enough there?

        • John Carins

          The demand for homes is partly due to excessive immigration. The countryside does not need to be ruined if we had sensible immigration policies.

          • RS

            Very true, but until we leave the EU we can’t have an immigration policy, even a daft one.

        • goodsoldier

          We don’t have to go to Africa: Africa is coming to us thanks to the EU and our ‘compassionate’ lib/lab/con leaders. Of course, Dave and Sam will never see one African except in a documentary..

          • Vera

            Nor will Miliprat and Justine.

    • Al

      Bang on Ken. I hope Melissa is a hottie because I would hate to think of her relying on her journalistic skills to get on in life.

    • Trini’s dad

      Me waan dat cow.
      Cow in picture fat’n’nice ‘mon, me tell you?
      Wah you call dem cows.
      Holstein-Friesian.
      Djerman cow gut ‘mon.

  • jonkle

    The bacon buttie will be the first victim under Ed’s rule.

    • James

      Pigs are leading the migration out of here.

  • AlecM

    But LibLabCon are the same, so these EU regulations will be forced upon us then gold-plated by Common purpose apparatchiks as they create the promised slums with millions dying from fuel poverty, until they go into open revolt and start hanging politicians.

  • Malcolm Stevas

    All good knockabout stuff, and indeed I wouldn’t trust Labour/Greens on countryside matters as far as I could throw them.
    Let’s just remember that the Conservative Party is not exactly the country person’s Big Friend either, and that it has serious Nanny State form.
    – The Conservatives have been responsible for initiating all bar one of our Firearms Acts, originated through Establishment paranoia and never shown to have had any beneficial effect whatsoever on gun crime – which has increased, in parallel with ever more severe gun laws… Shooting is fundamental to country life
    – The Conservatives have presided over or tolerated highly restrictive laws about hunting, about knives, about “animal rights” and so on: pursuing the creatures of the wild is a fundamental human activity, particularly of course in the countryside.
    – Who presided over the Protection of Badgers Act 1992? The Act that protects excessively a species that is not only not threatened with extinction but so common in many areas that it’s a pest? Why, it seems to have been the Conservatives who condemned countless farmers to impotent fury as Defra fails to do anything about the badgers that have dug a sett in the middle of formerly productive fields…
    I could go on. Yes, Labour and the Greens are reckless anti-countryside maniacs whose economic illiteracy and vicious ideology threaten our liberty. But if Conservatives present themselves as liberty-loving friends of the countryside I hope their hypocrisy chokes them.

    • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

      Snob.

      • Malcolm Stevas

        Halfwit.

        • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

          It takes but half a wit to outwit a f**kwit.

      • pp22pp

        The double-barrelled name gives you away. Snobbish and stupid champagne commies.

  • Molly NooNar

    Congratulations for knocking down a straw man. After alld the Greens have ruled out any form of coalition which already invalidates the nonsense of this article. Is it my turn to imagine a society run by Tories now? Were the hunt has pitched up into urban towns with the landed gentry and their hounds chasing down poor people that claim benefits.

    • Fried Ch’i

      You do God, Molly? Great to see that.

    • Microaggressive

      “the Greens have ruled out any form of coalition”

      how cute, you believe politician promises

      • Molly NooNar

        They have specifically refused any coalition with Tories or Labour, so yes. No vague answers, no uncertainty, you know what you are voting for.

        • Microaggressive

          LOL

          What a joke

          Greens are as Marxist as Labour

          God, you are dumb

        • Vera

          So no chance of being in government. Allows them to come out with any old twaddle, and they do.

  • Molly NooNar

    I notice the complete absence of any Tory rag responding to the concerns of a young conservationist that made a plea for action from the party leaders: Inspiring video.

  • pp22pp

    IMMIGRATION IS THE PROBLEM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

      Immigration is the solution you twit.

      • pp22pp

        The solution to a housing crisis? No, it isn’t you moron. You will wreck the countryside if you build all over it. How is it possible to be so stupid? I’ve come across farm animals with more intellect than you,

        • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

          I propose losing some golf courses, not the countryside.

          • cartimandua

            All land which is not built on permits water to get down into aquifers. The south relies on aquifers. Millions of people do and the minute the sun shines we become short of water.

          • Michele Keighley

            Don’t confuse the poor dears, cartimandua, I doubt they have any idea what aquifers are.

      • mohdanga

        So more people on a crowded island is the answer? In one of your previous posts you complained about city dwellers buying up houses and making them out of reach for the country dwellers….but illiterate 3rd worlders arriving by the millions is acceptable?

        • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

          So who looks after you in old age kipper?

          • cartimandua

            IF we have skills shortages (which we don’t if we trained our own people) people on short term work visas.
            There you are sorted no need at all to endlessly increase population while making life worse and everyone poorer.

          • mohdanga

            So when does the Ponzi scheme end, Mr. Mensa? All these immigrants who will supposedly look after doddering UKIP voters will grow old themselves thus requiring further immigration to an already crowded island.
            And how did British families manage to care for their elderly members before mass immigration started in the 60s and 70s? The argument that the West needs immigrants “to do the jobs that we won’t do” is rubbish and a fallacy given the high unemployment rates and huge amounts of social assistance that immigrants take.

          • RS

            Everybody should fund their own retirement through taxes, NI, savings and investments. You should ask who will fund the migrants funding your retirement in their old age? You cannot keep paying for pension liabilities by inviting in another million economic migrants. Besides which, all low paid jobs cost the country far more in public services than they being in taxes, so the last thing we should be doing is encouraging a low wage economy.

      • Conway

        If immigration is the solution, you’re asking the wrong question!

    • Doggie Roussel

      Yes, keep the Friesians out of our dairy herds….,

      • pp22pp

        More immigrants = more building,

  • Mr Creosote

    Animal Farm all over again…..

  • Gerschwin

    Coup. D’etat. Please.

  • Ebst

    If we don’t build on all the green land (honestly people, sand dunes are much more charming), where will we house all the immigrants and the children from non working families who need to have children to get more money? What is it with you country folk? Didn’t you get the memo from Blair telling you he was going to give away your green and pleasant land? Crikey, you voted for him for crying out loud so don’t complain now that the final part of the plan is in motion.

    • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

      How about we use 20% of all golf courses, or 10% of all grouse moors. That would provide housing for about 5 million folk.

      • Ebst

        Yah, absolutely. It’s the golfers and the grouse flocks that are pushing up housing prices and causing all these social problems.
        Not forgetting those ghastly football pitches.

      • pp22pp

        Five million Somalis. That should really enhance rural Britain. I would say you’re stupid, but it’s worse than that, you stuck at the age of 17.

        • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

          Most golf courses are in or near towns.

      • cartimandua

        For whom there is no food or water doctors schools transport or jobs.

  • JonBW

    Whereas, under another Cameron government the countryside will simply disappear under houses and fracking facilities.

    Agriculture will continue to decline due to our membership of the EU and the fact that the modern Conservative Party doesn’t care about it.

    The only difference will be some of the animal welfare policy won’t get implemented and there may be a free vote on hunting (which won’t overturn the ban anyway because there are too many Conservatives who support it).

    The Tories are no more the Party of the Countryside than Labour.

    • Jaria1

      Finance dictates that we should continue to allow more and more immigrants. Let those who agree with more immigration subscribe to increasing our ability to cater for these extra people. Those that have been paying into these front line services for all their lives only see the queues growing larger in front of them and now certain people are suggesting they be put down at 75. However this is already in practice as there is already a limited time allocated to spent, on the elderly by the NHS i can understand the reasons but the problem wouldnt exist if if were were not catering for the rest of the world.
      Do i recall correctly when i remember reading that only Halal food is served on airlines?

    • RS

      Luckily the modern day luddites did not prevail when someone suggested digging up coal and burning it. We might never have seen the Industrial Revolution. £bn of valuable resources under our feet and with all the technology at our disposal – ‘ooh we can’t extract that, it might be dodgy.’

      • JonBW

        Nothing to do with Luddism.

        It is a simple matter of wanting to preserve the countryside which is our heritage.

  • Mr Grumpy

    “Pickets outside halal butchers are a common sight as people demand the government end the hypocrisy of animal welfare laws that exempt Muslims.”

    I think not. That will be an Islamophobic hate crime.

  • JoeCro

    Right to buy a housing association house good, right to buy a tenant farm a family has worked for generations bad. Hopefully a large tranche of SNP MPs can push for far more equitable land ownership in Scotland and the UK.

    • explain this

      This is a key issue elsewhere too – underutilised agricultural land as the owner(s) have no interest in farming it.

      • Ebst

        More likely the EU stops them

        • Des Demona

          Doesn’t stop them. Pays them not to in order to leave fallow fields and hedges for flora and fauna regeneration.
          I wonder what Ms Kite’s position is on the billions of pounds given to UK farmers from the EU and a conservative led Brexit? I think that would be a bigger danger to her rural idyll than a Labour government.

          • Conway

            If it’s a UKIP led Brexit, British farmers will get a better deal than they currently get from the EU; less red tape, simpler SFPs, no EID for sheep, able to use pesticides that they have always used, but which will, under EU regs, be banned – the list is endless.

          • Jean-Claude Cameron

            It would be good for you to maximise land use designated to subsistence farming before attempting to leave any club. The Chinese family farming model is something you might want to consider copying.

      • RS

        Not to mention underutilised golf courses in Surrey that have no public value to non-members. Unless we are going to start deporting people from the south of England those houses need to be built.

  • explain this

    More F*E*A*R ?

  • Fraziel

    More posh wealthy person whining. Do belt up.

    • JoeCro

      Cant have the oiks living in my village!

  • Ben

    This has to be one of the worst articles I’ve read. Full of scaremongering BS. Not a single link or shred of evidence for your claims.

  • rptrpt.rpt

    2001 foot and mouth. had labour minister in cab on phone saying they wanted livestock in Britain to be reduced by a third. farmers had it too easy.

  • ortac

    Reading through many of the comments, I note with a few exceptions, that it must be “Socialists Day” today.

  • Terry Field

    The point about the horrors of barbaric islam is the most potent, dangerous and damaging, but no actions are being taken to reverse the poison. Blair created the possibility for Halal slaughter by varying the animal protection legislation of the early fifties. In order to buy votes. The prostitutes are not just on street corners, they can also be found in high government posts.

  • Microaggressive

    After the coming uncivil war blood bath, hopefully those non-Muslims that come out on top will be interested in forming a country on the British Isles that is closer to Classical Liberalism

    In the meantime, I’m not looking forward to the “Children of Men” scenes the UK will produce for the world

  • FactsWillOut

    “Whom the Gods would destroy, they first make mad”.

  • Petrus Thornescu

    This was desperate.

  • cartimandua

    Urban lefties are so dim they think food and water comes from supermarkets.

    • RS

      The way Thames Water are going, it will certainly be cheaper to buy it in the Supermarket!

  • James Jones

    “The biggest house-building programme in history is well under way, with a million new houses mainly being built in rural areas.”

    Dream on.

    No British government can afford to annoy the millions of people whose homes have been boosted in ‘value’ by previous government cock-ups.

    No homes will be built to house the millions of immigrants who continue to pour over our “border” and no matter whether it is the Tories or Labour in control will continue to do so indefinitely.

  • Dewi Jones

    This article basically consists of fearmongering on the hypothetical situation of a “Labour government propped up by SNP” –
    Labour have already ruled out a deal with the SNP, whilst the SNP have said that they would not do a deal with labour whilst they still support austerity and trident, so I’m unsure what your point is?
    I definitely agree that Westminster parties generally lack empathy with the rural areas of the country, but the article conveniently avoids any dissent of the Tories, and brushes any of their actions in the last 5 years under the rug.
    The claim that the green party forced changes on horse racing is also extremely far fetched seeing as they only have one MP in parliament, hardly enough authority to bring about such a change on their own.

  • CommonSense Matters

    All this methane and not a real cow in sight.

  • Milton Friedman

    Is it possible for all of to get hold of whatever Ms Kite was being administered when she wrote this? It must be very good

  • Milton Friedman

    Just to be on the safe side I have decided to kill my dog before next Thursday as I don’t want to risk prosecution in the event of a Labour government

    • Conway

      That is often the result of interference by do-gooders. A friend of mine retired an old Shetland pony to grass. Because the pony was old, it lost weight, despite being given supplementary feed. Someone complained to the RSPCA that it was being neglected (although it wasn’t, it was just old, but not in pain) so the only remedy was to put the pony down. Then the do-gooder had the nerve to complain that this wasn’t what they wanted! What else did they expect?

  • Conway

    If the Greens have their way, there won’t be any meat on shelves at all, organic or not. You’ll have to buy direct off the halal butcher (take a translator).

    • RS

      They won’t have their way. There is more chance of Nigel Farage becoming PM than Natalie Bennett winning Holborn & St Pancras and her party with 3 MPs at most then joining the cabinet as Environment Secretary. In fact there is more chance of Nigel Farage of becoming PM than Natalie Bennett becoming an MP.

  • G B

    Actually this article would be just as relevant if it was about the Tories. Yes the Greens are mad but even without them the big 2 hate the countryside. Personally I think Melissa has watched a few Youtube videos on Agenda 21 because what she describes is apparently our future.

  • FreeKip

    On the plus side, 5 years of that and Labour may never be in power again.

  • Chingford Man

    Since the Tories are happy with 600,000 new immigrants a year, what will this mean for the countryside?

  • davidshort10

    I’m sure many people resent the powers that the RSPCA have and its general attitude. Why are they allowed to go about in uniforms expressly designed to resemble police garb?

  • Oscar Mysterious
  • Mukkinese

    Tut!

    Let’s keep the workers in the countryside afraid of the only party that would actually improve their working conditions and give them priority in buying local housing. the last thing the Tories want are farmworkers realising they would actually be better off with Labour…

  • Rockingham

    Whatever it is you were on when you wrote this article Kite, tell us about it, you were certainly flying as high as a kite.

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