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The white hell of Britain’s racist, colonial countryside


EVERY now and again an academic report lands that hits the nail on the head*.

Britain’s countryside is a ‘racist, colonial’ white space where people of colour are often framed as ‘out of place’, the Daily Mail ran in its pages on Thursday. The Telegraph and other publications ran the same.

These days it’s tricky passing a hedgerow without a racist in a white hood popping out from behind it and threatening you with a burning cross. Dare venture into a countryside pub and there’s only gammon on the menu with Imperial stout behind the bar. British farmers’ children spend their hours nailing golliwogs to stakes and cattle bare their naked arse cheeks at every passing ethnic.

One wonders what the solution is to the vicious racism so endemic in the British countryside?

How do those few rural liberals stop the blue rinses at village bridge drives from referring to our Prime Minister as ‘the shopkeeper’? Why is Bronn Wennili hill in Cornwall still known as Brown Willy? Why do all signposts to Mecca cruelly divert Muslim visitors back into town to bingo halls? Why do Lords of the Manor make a point of displaying their punkhawallahs in their drawing room windows so they can be seen from country footpaths?

Fortunately, all is not lost. There are some clever university people with ‘ologies’ on the case.

The ‘Hate Studies Unit’ at the University of Leicester has launched an investigation into Britain’s dreadful dose of ‘rural racism’. Rural folk should look up to these armchair geniuses with their profound understanding of rural attitudes. If only forgotten rural white children could get places on the degree courses such institutions offer, the world would be a much better place – they might learn how to put three affordable meals a day on Britons’ plates while managing to keep farms afloat despite incompetent government agricultural policies and being squeezed by supermarkets.  

So who was behind this most illuminating report?

The Wildlife and Countryside Link, a group with 80 members including the WWF, the RSPCA and the National Trust. Their report is a response to a call for evidence on the links between racism and climate change. All of us yokels must have filled in their clever questionnaires and got quizzed by these boffins, right? So, is this report brimming over with undeniable truth and insight?

Charities directly supporting the report include the League Against Cruel Sports and the Countryside Charity, formerly called the Council for Preservation of Rural England. Sages from the Froglife and the Bat Conservation Trust also support the report, submitted to the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Race and Community, chaired by the highly respected Labour MP Clive Lewis.

As they say in rural parts, ‘What a load of old bollocks’.

The comments on the Daily Mail are well worth a gander. Sample: ‘Whoever came up with this needs certifying!’

If those from ethnic minorities want to get out to the countryside, get on a train or bus. You’ll be made more than welcome. You’ll be hard pressed to find a rural town in the UK without a resident ethnic minority population in any case. But one word of warning to visitors: out here in the countryside you’ll still find common sense, which you may not be so used to in Britain’s towns and cities whence this stinker of a report was emitted. Oh, and keep your dog on a lead (especially now until the end of spring during lambing) and remember to close the gate!

* Article may contain sarcasm.

This article appeared in Country Squire Magazine on February 8, 2024, and is republished by kind permission

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Dominic Wightman
Dominic Wightman
Dominic Wightman is Editor of Country Squire Magazine.

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