The anti-globalist, anti-nationalist pushback against nothing | Nina Skinner
To conservatives from across the UK, the shires represent the ideal for which we aim, in our politics, to spread across the UK. As a stark opposite to the faceless estates that we in cities live among, the shires represent a remnant of a past, idealised Britain. They represent a place where people are free to roam on one another’s land in a quasi-communitarian fashion, where doors are left unlocked, dinner party invites are extended, and there is not a pronoun badge in your postcode. However, anyone who has, from the city, fought against the prevalent culture in defence of queen, country, and family, will venture to the shires only to find that they are quite unwelcome.
Particularly in places commutable to London such as Kent and Maidenhead, there is some truth in suggesting that there has been a takeover by those who believe that they desire a country lifestyle, only to find that they have little idea what that entails. In stark contrast to the expectation that arrivals from London harbour of housewarming parties and country fetes, they will arrive only to find that the locals have gone to great lengths to prevent their arrival.
This brings me on to the most material manifestation of anti-nationalism to be allowed in the UK: local purchase orders. This is a bargaining tool used by local authorities to prevent the sale of newly built houses (in the unlikely event that such things may actually exist) to those who have no ‘local connections’. To gain planning permission, developers will have to compromise with councils and agree to only sell the houses (or a certain percentage of them) to those already in the area, or with a provable connection to it.
It would not surprise me to learn that this inspired the Economic Crime Bill, which regulates the purchase of property in the UK by foreign investors. While the former is a legitimate measure to protect our national security from fraudulent investment and corruption, the latter in effect places a hard border where there has never been one before. While the former protects the security of our economy and the integrity of our democracy, the latter protects the descendants of farmers living on their inherited land away from those whose labour gives that land its value.
However, while I find it easy to demonise those who deep down, I seek to emulate, I have to admit that they are not on to nothing. Country folk are those who I believe embody the deepest patriotism. Per head, you see far more flags out on jubilee weekend in Canterbury than in London, Bristol, or Birmingham. They share the same sense of loss as those in the urban north and midlands which led them to vote for Brexit. Having been disempowered by global capitalism, it is natural for them not to want to share their communities with those who have benefitted the most from it. Add to this the alarming increase in rates of rural crime which go un-investigated by police, often costing farmers hundreds of thousands in added security measures to keep their equipment and livestock safe from gypsies who are known and prevalent thieves targeting rural areas with limited surveillance.