Tag Archives: rural

Not quite “too busy killing foxes”

It’s a real pity that the same tired old tactics are sometimes still being used to fight a class war.

If you are inclined to accept without question the article Blue Foxes Red Green and Gold Star you would understandably have a very negative view of the Countryside Alliance and of hunting too. Look a little harder and a very different picture emerges.

The Alliance is attacked for ignoring rural communities during the devastating flooding over the Christmas period. Leaving the hunting issue to one side for the moment, anyone looking at the Countryside Alliance website would have been able to access key information on help for farmers and their livestock affected by the floods, links to Environmental Agency and an agricultural benevolent fund to help farmers in financial need. Social media covered these issue too. Not quite the “too busy killing foxes” image as the article would have you believe.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 17 Comments

Blue foxes, red greens and a gold star

Boxing Day saw the Countryside Alliance wrong footed. The Countryside Alliance for those not in the know is an organisation that masquerades as the champion of rural life but is in fact merely the mouthpiece for blood sports such as fox hunting and grouse shooting. It is the proverbial wolf in sheep’s clothing and on Boxing Day like many others it was caught out by the weather.

Boxing Day is fox hunting’s showpiece day and the Countryside Alliance went wild on Twitter to proclaim that a quarter of a million fox hunters and their supporters had taken to town squares and village greens across the land to celebrate what they see as the impending and inevitable demise of the Hunting Act. With Christmas card scenes of scarlet clad gents and gentesses on horseback trotting ceremoniously in a sea of hounds and polished hunting horns heralding a return to Merry England we were treated to an endless stream of romantic snaps.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 14 Comments

Charles Kennedy: Independence would “inflict huge damage” on rural Scotland

Charles Kennedy is not one for the sort of sloppy, casual scaremongering we’ve seen from both sides in the Scottish independence debate. Danny Alexander has form for it, saying, unhelpfully,  the other day that independence would be worse for Scotland than the 2008 economic crash. So when he expresses concerns about stuff, we should probably take notice.

He will be talking today about the effects of independence on rural Scotland, like the massive area he represents. He’s particularly concerned with the costs of providing the postal service.

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The biggest urban myth: the Tories have a birthright to the Shires

Countryside Alliance web shotgunChampions of the Countryside Alliance boast that it is the voice of rural Britain. I disagree. It is just one voice within rural Britain. It’s like saying that the Tories are the voice of the Home Counties and Labour is the voice of the Industrial North. That’s just lousy stereotypical language. There are many different voices within rural England.

I am forever angry that the London press, especially the right leaning press, routinely trots out stereotypes about life in our rural areas. They seem to believe that “Escape to the Country” is something authentic. It’s a reality show, no more.

One reason why rural areas get such a bad deal in public policy is that London journalists rely on urban myths about the countryside rather than trying to understand rural reality. This reality game is not without victims. The media’s glib characterisations of country life distort discussions of pressing issues like rural funding, schooling and a working landscape. And most of all, the need for jobs and decent housing in rural areas.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 4 Comments

Danny Alexander announces plans to extend rural fuel derogation

petrol pumpIn 2010, Danny Alexander made sure that there was a commitment to fair rural fuel duty in the Coalition Agreement. Last year he was able to deliver on that, securing a 5p reduction in duty for remote island areas.

Now he wants to see if that can be extended. As a first step towards that, petrol retailers are being asked to supply details of the prices they charge .The Government will then use that information as the basis s of a further application to reduce the duty in those areas.

If …

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 6 Comments

Have your say on our Rural Policy paper

It is my firm belief that local people know the area they live in best, village to village, town to town.

I have been asked to have a think about what policy changes should be made so that people in rural areas get a fairer deal and the resultant rural policy paper will be presented at Autumn Conference. Clearly, we must be realistic – none of us expects to have major services (such as hospitals) on our doorstep. However, it seems to me that there are some areas of Government policy which could reflect rural needs more effectively.

I chose …

Posted in News and Party policy and internal matters | Also tagged | 16 Comments

Charles Kennedy MP writes…How you can help save our Sleeper

The Caledonian sleeper services are a Scottish institution, a symbol of the comfort and style which was once the hallmark of the railways. They are invaluable for connecting the more remote parts of the Highlands to the UK Capital, allowing Scottish people to reach morning meetings in England and Londoners to catch the Deerstalker Express straight to the most beautiful places in the world. I’ve lost count of the number of individuals & businesses who have been in touch over the years to tell me just how important …

Posted in Op-eds and Scotland | Also tagged , and | 7 Comments
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