For a number of years Roger Scruton has contributed a weekly article to the Financial Times on country matters. Always beautifully written, one of these pieces (Vegetables) won the 2002 prize from The Queen's English Society for the best piece of prose writing of the year. These are not sentimental bucolic rambles. Scruton's prose is devoid of sentimentality and soggy nostalgia. Whatever he writes about, he always writes with serious purpose. He speaks up for the country dweller who sees his or her world eroded by the wishy-washy liberal commands of Blairite dogooders who sit on their backsides in North West London pontificating about the needs of country people. Nature being red in tooth and claw is something that these people only know about from sitting in a classroom. Farming issues are equally important in this book. The devastations of the foot and mouth crisis showed graphically how great is the divide between town and country dwellers. And when the fate of people in the countryside is decided by bureaucrats in Brussels and Strasbourg, their feeling of alienation is even greater. These are the causes that Professor Scruton espouses and he has become their most intelligent, articulate and clear-thinking advocate.
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