There is a huge divide in Britain. It’s not north versus south which is a biggy but as there is no real dividing line between the two with the midlands muddying the boundaries its hard to define where the wall should be built.
No the big dividing line in Britain is town versus country. Town people don’t understand country people and country people are suspicious of the townsfolk. Britain is very much a green and pleasant land. The most visible way of seeing the rolling countryside and hedgerows is to fly into England from the continent. The change in landscape from Europe to Britain is extraordinarily marked when you cross the channel by air. The countryside is a cultivated place where poor people called farmers try to make food with ever diminishing incomes. The countryside is not to be confused with the country which politicians keep referring to. The country is the nation. But if you say ‘the nation’ when you are talking about the country, you sound like an American. The phrase ‘the nation’ is only used for inspirational or statistical purposes.You sing a national anthem, you flee a country.
The countryside is what politicians drive through on their way to party conferences at seaside resorts, Why are they always at the seaside? Politicians and townspeople do not understand that the countryside only looks so pleasant because it is cultivated. It is cultivated by farmers, farmers will only continue to cultivate the land as long as they can make a living out of doing so. This will not continue for much longer in its current method.
Country people are easily identified in Britain as they all wear green or brown or tweed. It’s actually a uniform I believe. Go to any gathering of country folk wearing bright colours and you will immediately identify yourself as a townie and attract suspicion. The people mostly seen in the countryside in bright coloured clothing or Cagoules as we call their rainwear are ramblers. Ramblers come from the towns with an amazing array of hiking gear to walk along country footpaths. Bearing in mind England is mostly flat or mildly undulating the hiking kit that ramblers carry or wear is actually astonishing. They have better boots than Hillary wore to knock off Everest. Many carry not one but two ski poles to steady their progress.The Ramblers walk along country lanes looking at the ground or their orienteering quality compasses and maps. They do not admire the view, I do not understand why they do what they do. It does not appear to be fun.
Back to the country folk’s uniform of green & brown though, it helps you blend in when you move about the countryside but quite what the country folk are hiding from I am unsure. It’s the members of the wildlife community that should be doing the hiding. Townsfolk like the countryside because it is full of fluffy bunnies and handsome Foxes, cute Badgers and Hedgehogs. To country people any animal that isn’t food is a pest. The elaborate pursuit of the pest is part of country tradition and the townsfolk don’t like the country people chasing the wildlife, especially not on horseback while wearing a bright red coat.
Townspeople do not know what goes on beyond the hedgerow on the side of the nations highways and roads. Townspeople think that the poor people who grow the country’s food, the farmers, have large flocks of lovely pets. They do not understand that farm animals are produce rather than pets. The farmers will all be dead soon though and quite who will grow the food then remains to be seen. New Zealanders will probably be re-engaged to grow food to send to Britain. The reason the farmers will all be dead soon is that as of 2012 the average age of the British farmer is 60. That is not sustainable and no young person with any sense will go into farming in the future until the way farmers are paid is changed. That is unlikely to happen in my lifetime.
Interestingly many ‘country people’ in Britain don’t even live in a field, they live in villages surrounded by fields. To we Kiwis if you live in any sort of urban environment you are a townie. Townies are soft, country people are tough. That has been a given all my life as I was a proper country boy. I grew up in a house in a field or a paddock as we call them in New Zealand. We went to town to buy groceries, go the murder house, learn woodwork once a month with the townie kids and in later years go to secondary school. We would learn that townie kids were weird because they didn’t play war, gaff eels, shoot possums or rub sheep pooh in girls hair to get their attention. They couldn’t drive a tractor or ride a motorbike, they played rugby with boots on instead of in bare feet. I always felt sorry for townie kids until I grew up and noticed girls then I realised that the townie boys had access to girls on a weekend whereas I would be fencing, drafting, dipping, ‘feeding out’ and shooting possums and rabbits. Having access to girls would have been better.
Back to Britain though, the divide is the sophisticates of the town who didn’t use sheep pooh to get a girls attention versus the pragmatism of the country. The poor people of the countryside, the farmers, work to feed the townspeople (who make up the vast majority of the population) and keep the area surrounding the town looking nice. While the townspeople drive past the scenic farmland and locally grown meals on their way to Tesco to buy food flown in from all corners of the globe to the detriment of their country folk. Just a little bit of practical thinking by the townsfolk who run the government might resolve some of this issue. In New Zealand, farmers mostly make a good living and lots of food for entire countries. They are not subsidised. In Britain the farms are subsidised and the government pays enormous sums to prop up the farming industry, but most farmers are as poor as church mice. In many cases it costs more to produce food than the farmers get paid for it, milk for example. This is not sustainable. Can I suggest the people in charge of farming in Britain have a chat to the people in charge of farming in New Zealand. maybe exchange a few ideas, just a thought.