Tory metropolitan elite to concrete over greenbelt
Not content with tearing the Conservative Party asunder and dividing the whole nation over same-sex marriage, it appears that the Tory metropolitan elite are intent on establishing the poverty of their cultural hinterland by concreting over England's green and pleasant land. And once it's gone, it's gone forever - as the party used to intone in the days when it used to care.
Care, that is, about what matters to its members - those who are generally disposed to conserving all that is good in the Constitution and all that is valuable in society: its institutions, traditions and mores, for the continuity and stability of the nation.
According to Planning Minister Nick Boles, "The sum of human happiness that is created by the houses that are being built is vastly greater than the economic, social and environmental value of a field that was growing wheat or rape."
It is not known how the Minister has quantified this happiness, or by what coherent and logical methodology he deduced this conclusion (if, indeed, deduction it be), but once again we see the Tory metropolitan elite riding roughshod over the primary concerns of true conservatives (small 'c' - nothing to do with party members, though millions of them used to be in days gone by).
But 'metropolitan' is merely of the metropolis, and 'elite' is simply a group set apart by some quality, qualification or virtue. His Grace has nothing at all against cities, and he would exhort everyone to rise above mediocrity and aspire to be better - in character, education and virtue. But when the modernising metropolitan elite of the body politic seems infected with money, property and industry to the detriment of community, culture and conversation, it is not unreasonable to find disparagement in both terms.
For this is not an elite which inspires to wholesome jealousy, or raises the oppressed or lifts the downtrodden out of empathy or compassion, but one which induces bitterness in its contempt for the ordinary and everyday concerns of us all. What do they think local Conservative associations have been doing for the past century if not defending the rural way of life? What do they think Conservative councillors have been doing the length and breadth of the country if not guarding the greenbelt from Labour's aggressive urbanisation of cow land and woodland?
We know that those who now lead us once sat on the same Oxford committees, were members of the same clubs, played tennis together and shared flats in Notting Hill. They were privileged from birth, and now they seem to hold us in contempt, lampooning us as 'dinosaurs', 'backwoodsmen', 'Turnip Taliban' and 'swivel-eyed loons'.
There is nothing unreasonable, mad or backward about preferring fields of bluebells and hawthorn hedges to bricks, glass, steel and concrete. Our happiness is calibrated on a different scale to that preferred by the elite: ours is English and imperial - consonant with culture and harmonised with nature. Theirs is modern and metric - alien, harsh and extrinsic.
Conservatives naturally seek to conserve, and that includes the whole of creation. We might look to the Psalmist for our founding charter: 'The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for He founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters' (Ps 24:1f). Belief in God is not a prerequisite for being conservative, but neither does conservatism repudiate such belief. Creation is good not only because God says so, but because it is. Certainly, we may debate the extent and manner of that goodness, and disagree on how best to maintain it. And we may meditate or ponder whether or not the life of man is worth more than that of a sparrow, or whether a brick dwelling brings us more happiness than a field of wheat. But this does not negate the natural Conservative instinct to conserve. And if the Conservative Party no longer conserves, it has lost its raison d'être.