Agrarianism is Something Britain Lacks but Desperately Needs | Matthew Murphy

Outside of the very brief Luddite & Leveller movements of the 1800s and 1600s, the ideology of Agrarianism was generally missed in the British Isles. To be honest, it wouldn’t surprise me if most people didn’t even know what Agrarianism as an ideology is. What does this mean? Put simply, Agrarianism typically promotes subsistence agriculture, smallholdings and the rights & sustainability of small farmers against the wealthy in society. The Levellers and Luddites historically fit into this ideology simply because Britain at the time was an agricultural and industrialising country respectively, and had Britain been a fully industrialised nation at the time they likely would’ve more resembled socialists than Agrarians, as seen by the Chartist movement of the 1830s & 1840s. As someone who lives in the rural countryside, I may understand this better than city folk, but if you really want to ‘get it’ I highly recommend the show “Clarkson’s Farm”.

As of current, most people that would otherwise fall under a hypothetical Agrarian Party currently vote for the Conservative Party, mostly because any credible opposition manages to represent them even less than the Tories do. However, the Conservative Party still does not recognise the working class countryside person. Over the past ten or so years, the Conservative Party has reneged on pretty much all their actual conservative policies, and have very much adopted a rather detestable, liberal metropolitan stance on economics and social policy. The Tories now are the party of London. There isn’t, however, any other party for would-be Agrarians to put their weight behind; Labour’s socialist policies benefit urban workers but not rural farmers and the Liberal Democrats are just as economically liberal as the Tories.

One of the main ways the Conservative Party has maintained its hegemony of the past decade is the fact that there simply isn’t a credible dissident right political party. UKIP got close but it was ultimately a single issue party, which saw its death after the Brexit Referendum. Reform UK has killed itself by trying to fight the Tories on a low-tax platform. Any other dissident right party not mentioned are such jokes it’s hardly worth mentioning. However, could our answer lie in Agrarianism? Could an Agrarian Party, which looks out solely for the countryside people, to represent farmers in the House of Commons against big business liberals be our answer? I think it could be. The Conservative Party draws their truth strength from the rural countryside, yet they are increasingly becoming metropolitan London liberals in ideology. This undoubtedly is alienating many of this rural cleavage, yet they have no real alternative to vote for.

Historically, in the other nations of Europe, Agrarian Parties have never formed governments- but they do have a tendency to be the kingmakers of coalitions and have significant influence on politics in those countries. For a recent example, the Swedish Centre Party, which is their Agrarian Party, provided vital confidence in the Second Löfven Cabinet from 2019 to 2021, and influenced policy. However, there are countless examples from across the 20th century and most of the 19th century, such as in Serbia (later Yugoslavia) and Bulgaria. I believe, with significant support and finance, an Agrarian Party in the U.K. could influence policy of any government and provide enough of an electoral threat to the Conservatives in particular that we would see a far more socially conservative government due to the withdrawal of conservative rural support for the Conservative Party.

A future of this country that sees Revolutionary Conservatism brought to the limelight need not be built entirely out of Agrarianism, but I do think Revolutionary Conservatives should at least pay a lot of heed to the core principals of Agrarianism. We should look to the Agrarian parties of Europe for good examples of where to start.

Photo Credit.

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