The Countryside

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:41 pm on 1st December 1999.

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Photo of The Earl of Caithness The Earl of Caithness Conservative 4:41 pm, 1st December 1999

My Lords, how policies are commented upon in this House is also important. At the moment, those living in the countryside feel under very severe threat. By and large, they are a resident, predominantly white, small and persecuted minority. It is one thing not to understand the problem, but it is a totally different thing not to try to tackle it and not to care. I believe that that is a charge of which this Government stand guilty.

For that reason, perhaps the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Lichfield will agree with me that, rather than the words of William Blake in "Jerusalem" that I mentioned earlier, a quote from Tennyson is more apposite. He described his parishioners as depressed people, many of whom wanted to abandon farming. In the poem "Maud" Lord Tennyson said:

"I am sick of the Hall and the hill,

I am sick of the moor and the main,

Why should I stay? Can sweeter chance ever come to me here?

O, having the nerves of motion as well as nerves of pain,

Were it not wise if I fled from the place and the pit and the fear".