Kate Hoey and the Countryside Alliance

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Thursday 23 February 2006 1.17am
I don't know how I missed the fact that Kate Hoey has been chair of the Countryside Alliance since last year.

Am I the only person who finds it strange that a Labour MP for an inner-city constituency holds this position?
Anonymous User
Thursday 23 February 2006 8.19am
The extra curricula perversions of MPs have ceased to amaze me
Thursday 23 February 2006 8.49am
She's been in the press a lot over the last couple of years, campaigning against the ban on hunting.

...if you press it, they will come.
Thursday 23 February 2006 9.18am
Is he a Labour MP? I hope she is, because it's important that Labour becomes more concerned about the countryside.
Thursday 23 February 2006 9.54am
maurits wrote:
Is he a Labour MP? I hope she is, because it's important that Labour becomes more concerned about the countryside.

I agree.
Friday 24 February 2006 8.37am
It is strange (although there's probably more foxes around here than in the countryside at this rate!), however the thing about Kate Hoey is that she stands by her own principles, and doesn't follow the flock, so if she believes an issue is worth standing up for, she doesn't sit back, she does something about it.

More info: http://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/kate_hoey/vauxhall

I should point out that I have no connection, and didn't even vote for her last time around - not because she's not good, but because the rest of the sheep in Labour are, IMHO, heading in the wrong direction.

Regards,

Loafer
Sunday 26 February 2006 7.16am
I agree with Maurits. It is an interesting appointment.

We assume that the Countryside Alliance should be run by a Colonel Mustard, but why should it. I suspect the loudest voice of the countryside is from London refugees who having made their money want to preserve the idyll they have paid so much to move to. Yet, and another surprise, Cornwall is probably the only part of Britian that post EU enlargement will continue to qualify for European structural funding. Those 'grim up north' places were not likely to be poor enough to compete with Slovakia and Latvia. (Sorry Rabbie, I should Google and get my regional knowledge up to date, but this was certainly what was assumed a couple of years back.)

The divisions between rich and poor in rural places are as steep as they are in SE1. However whilst barriers to employment in SE1 are mainly poor education, ill health, caring duties, and some pretty amazing rates of illiteracy and innummeracy (can't get spell check on IE so hope my spelling has not failed me again) rural areas suffer from poor transport, poor employment opportunities and very low rates of pay. Housing, like here is a huge problem, with a real shortage of affordable housing, and private housing at prices that few who are brought up in the area can afford. Whilst beyond the traditional Almshouses and Abbeyfields, there is little provision of supported schooling and housing in small towns and villages, and access to many of the facilities we take for granted it are far harder in rural areas.

I have been surprised to find that rural organisations campaign for more homes to be built in villages, but on reflection it makes sense. They also campaign for things like better broadband coverage which makes home working and cottage industries more viable.

Kate Hoey with her inner city background and knowledge of the system would therefore seem well suited. Even more so when you remember that she herself comes from a rural background and has consistently supported things like hunting which are important to the rural economy. Plus whichever way you vote, no one disputes she is hard working and will fight for the things she believes in. Plus, hopefully, help the Labour Party, and urban dwellers more generally, understand that social and economic issues facing the countryside are a lot more complex than is generally acknowledged.
Sunday 26 February 2006 2.05pm
maurits wrote:
Is he a Labour MP? I hope she is, because it's important that Labour becomes more concerned about the countryside.

She is.

However, The Countryside Alliance is primarily concerned with the promotion of field sports (hunting, shooting and fishing), rather than with any of the other issues that affect rural communities, such as housing, employment, services and transport. This isn't surprising given that it was formed by an alliance between The British Field Sports Society, the Countryside Business Group and the Countryside Movement.

On its website it says, “The Alliance internally organises and resources this diverse range of campaigning issues under 4 main campaigning team structures: our campaign for hunting; our campaign for shooting; our campaign for angling; and our comprehensive campaign for food, environment and rural affairs, (which shadows the whole policy formulation remit of the UK government's DEFRA).”

However, if you look at its campaigns on food, environment and rural affairs (http://www.countryside-alliance.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=blogcategory&id=0&Itemid=733) there's not much campaigning on these issues there, especially if you compare it with the Campaign to Protect Rural England's campaigns: http://www.cpre.org.uk/campaigns/index.htm

There's an interesting article on Kate Hoey and the Countryside Alliance here: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2092-1795795_1,00.html. I don't think I can quote any of it here, but paragraph 8 made me smile, albeit a little sadly.
Sunday 26 February 2006 3.32pm
I heard a representative from CPRE speak about six months ago, saying very sensible things about poverty and housing. I sort of got them confused.

Perhaps Kate can lick the Countryside Alliance into shape. Though a pretty dyed in the wool Londoner I think it is a pity that rural areas are almost another country, to be visited in the same way that you might visit the Costas. Or as a set for Midsommer Murders or the Archers.

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