Tuesday, May 01, 2018

The Roots of Countryside Discontent Run Deep

Reverend John Russell organized some of the very first mounted fox hunts in the U.K., just as the Enclosure Movement was forcing large numbers of people off the land and into towns and cities.

This "revolution of the rich against the poor" during the early and mid-Victorian period is one of the roots of the current animus toward mounted hunts in the U.K.

As people were pushed off their historical lands, they were forced into poverty in the cities and towns. Class divisions hardened, with mounted fox hunts being seen as a very visible sign of an aristocracy that ran sheep to line their pockets with export wool, even as country people were pushed off the land to either starve or scavenge for work in almshouses.

Now, of course, the complaint is often one of gentrification; absentee urban property owners returning to "the country life" as seasonal visitors who provide few jobs even as they permanently jack up real estate prices in economically collapsing small towns.

And the red brick cottage where I was born
Is the empty shell of a holiday home
Most of the year there's no-one there
The village is dead and they don't care
Now we live on the edge of town
Haven't been back since the pub closed down
One man's family pays the price
For another man's vision of country life

No comments: