BY BEN EAGLE It was certainly a shock to see Michael Gove reinstated to the Cabinet, especially in his new role leading Defra. Rarely does the department receive such a ‘big hitter’, usually being seen (frustratingly) as a relative backwater from which lower profile ministers can rise through the political ranks. Gove is a controversial, outspoken character and his appointment has ruffled feathers in the … Continue reading Giving Gove a Chance
BY BEN EAGLE ‘’And did those feet in ancient time, Walk upon England’s mountains green…’’ The feet in Blake’s reference above were of a somewhat holier order than you and me, but the words of a New Jerusalem have suddenly taken on new relevance in recent days, following George Monbiot’s radical tweet encouraging us all to get off the footpath and start trespassing. Monbiot … Continue reading Trespassing in England’s Green and Pleasant Land
BY BEN EAGLE They say that politics today is utterly unpredictable. However, unless I am very much mistaken, it’s looking increasingly likely that President May with her ‘hard’ Brexit Tory henchmen will be returned to Downing Street next month with quite a hefty majority of yes men and women on the green benches in the Commons, willing to pass Mrs May’s every wish. There will … Continue reading The Tory Manifesto: What’s in it for the Countryside?
BY BEN EAGLE For anyone who reads my blog it’s probably clear that I’m not overly happy with the direction our country has been going in recent years. The drive to ‘let the market decide’ has, I believe, gone too far and we have forgotten the benefits that collective support can bring, instead opting for some sort of inward-focused, individualistic journey through life. Don’t get … Continue reading Corbyn: Credit Where Credit’s Due
BY BEN EAGLE With the Tories sky high in the polls and Labour in disarray, it could be said that the overall result of this election is easier to predict than any other in living memory. Despite living in an age in which the unexpected often becomes reality, as all the pundits now say, it seems highly unlikely that the Conservatives won’t stretch their majority, … Continue reading The Devil is in the Detail
BY BEN EAGLE Over the last month we have had a heap of children’s toys, a fridge, a huge pile of old papers and clothes, a car full of tyres and a snake of plastic piping dumped on our farm in north Essex. Not only is it a blot on the landscape but it’s an environmental hazard, to both people and wildlife. As it currently … Continue reading The Great British Flytipping Crisis
BY BEN EAGLE Once a niche idea, universal basic income is now being taken seriously as an answer to many of the problems faced by the modern world. In essence, it would involve paying everyone a fixed amount each year, whilst removing most benefits, to enable us all to live a better quality of life and sustain the consumption of products in the light of … Continue reading Universal Basic Income a Farm Subsidy Solution?
BY BEN EAGLE For the Oxford Farming Conference’s annual debate this year family farming was put under the spotlight. The motion suggested that the biggest threat to the family farm is the family farm itself and, perhaps surprisingly, attendees voted in favour of the motion by 182 to 157. Had the debate been held down the road at the Oxford Real Farming Conference I suspect … Continue reading What Future for Britain’s Family Farms?
BY BEN EAGLE In 2007 Granta published Robert Macfarlane’s The Wild Places, a beautifully evocative exploration of remote spots across the British Isles. Macfarlane is one of my favourite nature writers and he is a genius so far as storytelling goes. When I read his work I am transported away from present reality in all the ways that one should be when it comes to … Continue reading Why the Wildness Obsession?
BY BEN EAGLE Everyone has an agenda. Our personal actions and choices are led by it and everything we do leads towards achieving it. Unless we purposefully establish what our agenda is, we may be completely unaware of it. However, we follow it regardless, knowingly or unknowingly. It was shaped by our upbringing, the people we have met, the ideas we have been exposed to, … Continue reading Let’s Work Towards a Countryside Consensus