How can Labour become the party of the countryside again?

As a Labour candidate in a rural county council ward, I can see merit in this – despite my reservations about the Fabians.

The most worrying obstruction to Labour in the countryside that I have met in my conversations with residents, though, is a belief that the party wants to nationalise farms and farming land – a policy of which This Writer had previously known nothing.

Labour has no intention of privatising farmland – and hasn’t had any such plan for decades.

Other concerns include Brexit, yes – but many farmers voted for it. I find it hard to reconcile that fact with their concerns now it is being triggered.

Other matters are easier territory – education, transport and public services in rural areas are all of huge concern as people in rural areas are expected to put up with less, even though they pay more, as the article states.

This is fertile territory for a Labour candidate – especially at a time when the Conservative Government is cutting funding to devolved administrations and, thereby, to councils.

To be a national party which can win in the country at large, Labour must develop a richer understanding of the lives of people in our small towns, villages and hamlets. To that end, the Fabian Society is today launching a project to explore Labour’s relationship with rural areas in England and Wales. The project will look at rural attitudes to Labour and political priorities in rural areas and explore what a Labour approach to the countryside might look like – both in terms of a policy offer and a political narrative that resonates with the instincts of rural life.

The government has promised to match the EU’s common agricultural policy payments until 2020. But beyond that lies uncertainty and the prospect of losing tariff-free access to European markets while our markets are swamped by new, cheap food imports. There is also uncertainty about the future of environmental regulations. This could be devastating not just for farmers, but for the communities and traditions which their labour sustains, and the beauty of the landscape they steward.

But agriculture is not the only thing that matters in rural communities. From housing and education to transport and the closure of local services, the things which matter in rural communities should be the natural territory of the Labour party. People in rural areas pay more for transport and get less. Incomes are on average £4,000 lower than in cities and prices often higher. Market towns, remote countryside communities and former pit villages, have all been abandoned. In all of them, getting on too often means a one-way ticket to the big cities.

To kick the process off, we’re inviting Labour members in rural seats to fill out this survey and let us know your thoughts on the reasons for Labour’s failure in rural areas.

Source: The Fabians: Labour could be the party of the countryside again – with your help | LabourList

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5 thoughts on “How can Labour become the party of the countryside again?

  1. June Knight

    Socialists, Left, Labour and many in Momentum and Solidarity and Labour councils and CLPs keep saying as a mantra and dogma how THEY HATE FARMERS, BUSINESS AND PROPERTY OWNERS, have no sympathy for them and farmers, business and property and landowners are not what they are about. And the socialist aim is to take the land, businesses and property off the owners and give it to the workers.

    Did you miss that? Or do you keep trying to forget and ignore it and hope everyone else does?


    Most armchair and pub corner socialist and anarchist would not last a week on a farm and we would all starve as they go back to their bongs and booze and books and discussion groups.

    As most women who lived in socialist cooperatives said, it just ends up with drugs and sex, the men sit around while the women have to go out to work or sell their bodies FOR THE CAUSE

    Socialists and socialism has not convinced anyone. The cry still is anti farmer, anti business and anti property owner.

    I have raiser the impact and interest on farmers, business and property – the hatred and glee in their loss and suffering is all I hear back from Labour members, Momentum and socialists

    Or have you forgotten the arrogance of Labour and Hilary Benn ordering and treating them like serfs and govt owned lackeys. Forgetting that farmers do not have to farm they can go off and do something else. Which they did rather than be bossed and bullied around like lowbred turd pickers.

    You really most be DieHard Labour to keep choosing to ignore.

    I have been trying to set up an alternative infrastructure to counteract Brexit, as that is what local NUF leader said we are missing. Farmers in EU have better infrastructure.

    But who says they do not give a shit and again go about to destroy my efforts? LABOUR AND SOCIALISTS AGAIN!!!

    You really must be blind.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Obviously I disagree with this comment. For one thing, I’m a socialist and I don’t hate farmers.

  2. Barry Davies

    Losing tariff free access to the eu is not the problem that some think, in fact if our farmers lose it then so do the eu farmers without the eu restrictions our farmers will be able to produce more and sell with less tax applied here than the eu farmers, which will lead to them actually earning more.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Of course, EU farmers will still be able to trade – tariff free – with the remaining EU countries, so they’re far less likely to be bothered.

  3. rotzeichen

    I can only believe farmers that fear a Labour government are forgetting who is in power at the moment and brought this uncertainty on them.

    Farmers anyway brought the economic pressures on to themselves under the promise of higher market prices for their produce, they consistently vote Tory and were happy to lose the Milk Marketing Board in favour of market ideology, that does not appear to be working out too well for them.

    Any farmer that can’t see the wood for the trees in the current climate and forgets the stability they had under passed Labour governments is hardly likely to vote Labour.

    Like most Tories greed was the carrot that formed their views and I don’t believe leopards can change their spots.

    Whilst a few may be convinced by logic, how many can we really expect to win over, anyway it’s not the farmers we should be concentrating on it’s the people living in the countryside suffering from Tory neglect?

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