SIR ROY STRONG
HANDS OFF OUR LAND: THE EDEN THAT IS THE ENGLISH COUNTRYSIDE
When I first began to read this article by Sir Roy, I was hoping that he would use his artistic critiquing skills to get to some of the forgotten issues associated with the urban sprawl and the increasing loss of the English countryside such as, population growth, sustainable food development, reducing car use, tackling unused buildings and empty liveable properties, improving the planning of cities and job distribution, and holidaying at home rather than abroad but no, no no no no no, instead what I read was a romanticism of some sorts about his personal rendition of countryside imagery that is based on HIS …no ARISTOCRATIC views. I don’t mind that he maybe from a wealthy family with roots in a classic English village, but to describe that as an all British or sorry English connection to the countryside is to ignore the last 50 years plus of immigration and a widening of the working class.
For many people today this view of the countryside is not recognised its so expensive to go there and appreciate it, that sadly many people are missing out on it. But rather that promote the countryside as a national treasure, a place for all to enjoy and to experience away from the car ridden city, smoke and high rises he talks about a lack of English identity and a loss of the war time romances and an attack on HIS (limited to the few) identity! And from the comments it has invoked the same old cynical, racist anxiety around immigration without addressing the true reasons for why we have to go down this route…COME ON ROY THIS IS THE INDEPENDENT not the Sunday times!