David Cameron has made a strong and timely speech about the British countryside. I am glad that he has done so, I have quite a few friends who are from farming families and they feel totally screwed over by this government.
Clearly fox hunting is a high profile rural issue but it is the tip of the iceberg, from the handling of foot and mouth, the farce of the Rural Payments Agency, gold-plating of EU regulations, closure of rural post offices and cuts rural health provision the countryside feels at best ignored and at worst vilified by Labour.
Labour have treated the countryside very badly, as I said here, but the Conservatives have recently been painted as increasingly urban and many in the countryside have been worried that a Conservative government wouldn’t be any better. Today’s speech was a good opportunity to restate the Conservatives support for the country without detracting from the important work that needs to be done in cities.
By the way, buying veg from greenhouses in the UK is no harder than buying greens flown in from Africa and Asia, just look at the packaging. Buying British not only helps UK farmers but it helps the environment (by reducing food miles) and farmers in the developing nations who get put under huge financial pressure from the supermarket buyers. Good news all round.