Countryside Culture Wars


I love the English countryside and have done from a very young age. Even as a tiny tot the ramshackle mud-heap of a farm yard, or the smell of muck-spreading, or the racket of a twilit rookery, or the gentle patchwork of fields and hedges stretching to a misty distance, were to me signals of my proper habitat, my rural home, the place I loved best of all. Of course, as one grows older one sees the countryside differently, and acknowledges the problems it faces. One will never stop loving it but one has to be a realist. Because the countryside is, in many ways, something of a shadow of what it once was.

Yes, the farms and lanes are still there, and the farmer still tills the land. But the wider range of countryside characters and craftsmen, and the villagers who lived and worked in the countryside and knew no other life, these have, in many places, disappeared. The farm hands, the smiths and farriers, the hedgers and wallers, the lengthsmen, the poachers, the gypsies up the lanes, you have to search harder to find them now. Small holdings have become homes for commuters and villages are adjuncts of towns. And to be brutally honest, the old countryside will not be coming back; and the only way to preserve our rural scene is to work with what cards we’ve been dealt. There is no Plan B.

So: rewilding, diversification, tourism, and the rest, these have to be accepted. In fact, we should do more than merely accept them; in my view, we should absorb them. Mould them to our ways. Make them part of our rural scene. Convert their followers to our view of things. Make the townies and the greens and the foragers see the point of farming, hunting and a commitment to rural life. Purloin their supposed love of nature and turn it to a love of the English countryside. Run with the conservationist logic and convert them to the conservationist argument for hunting and shooting. That’s my dream, anyway. (Always remember, a conservationist is a conservative waiting to happen.)

I was musing on these things when a thought occurred about the Culture War, that internecine struggle between the identitarian woke and us sane folk which dominates so much of our lives these days.

The thought was this. Our national culture is just like the countryside: it’s been gradually altered in highly regrettable ways and, let’s face it, there’s now no going back. In fact our nicely settled English ways, based on compromise, mutual tolerance and a kind of understated neighbourliness, have been disrupted and undermined with us hardly noticing it. And that, I’m sorry to say, is that. It’s game over. The old dispensation, the classically liberal common law-based world view that once made our land renowned for order and cooperation, is now dead. A busted flush. A drained corpse. Because the woke lunacies, the race and gender-based madnesses, can’t be made to just go away. They can’t be uninvented. They are here to stay, at least for the foreseeable. We might as well accept that.

But as with the countryside, we should do more than just accept the changes, more than just give in to wokeness; on the contrary, we should absorb it. After all, if there’s no going back to what we once had, if there’s no point in banging on about how we support the ancien regime, classical liberalism, the status quo ante, because what we once had is now dead, then so be it. Let’s accept and literally absorb wokeness. Let’s purloin its salient features, mould them to our ways, and make them harmless.

Take intersectionality, for example. As, you’ll know, intersectional thinking puts everyone onto a barmy medal table of oppression, and awards you points in a Victimhood Olympics, points you can use to browbeat all your supposed oppressors with. Fine, let’s run with that intersectional logic. Let’s make it ours. After all, as Jordan Peterson said, it doesn’t go far enough. Sure, race, gender, sexuality and the rest are important in one’s life; but so are affability, versatility, height, health, parental occupation, ability to work collaboratively and a thousand other things. Fine. Replace THEIR intersectionality with OUR version which is much more realistic and easily accepted.

We should insist on all these harmless, non-identitarian categories being included in the great allocation of victimhood. Eventually, everyone will be in an oppressed group of one. How marvellous. We’ll have invented a similar concept to intersectionality, only better. OUR intersectionality, superseding all previous models. And then instead of tribes, we’ll have individuals. What a turn-around! The crazy Marxists’ crazy philosophy will end up giving the world what the Marxists hate most of all: individuals.

You think I’m joking? I may have a knockabout tone but I’m deadly serious.

Oh, and give our new-found commitment to the individual a name. Call it universalism. That’s my choice, universalism, incorporating universalist intersectionality. You heard it here first ….

Keer Lonsdale is a teacher, writer and countryman based in the north of England. He loves the rural life, fishing for trout and following a pack of hounds. As a small-‘c’ conservative, campaigning against the excesses of the intersectional Left and their divisive agendas takes up an ever-growing percentage of his time. As a teacher, Keer has seen first-hand how mad ideas can flourish in the state sector. But he is a confident believer in the innate common sense of both the kids he teaches and the wider British public.