Farmers, like most others, are sick of the negativity surrounding politics at the moment, which is why the CLA is injecting optimism into the debate with its Rural Powerhouse campaign, says CLA president Mark Bridgeman.
Some are calling it the Brexit Election, but that’s what they called the last one.
According to opinion pollster YouGov, Brexit remains the top issue for the British public, with some 68 per cent of Britons ranking it in their top three concerns.
During the same period ahead of the 2017 General Election we saw a very similar picture, with 64 per cent of the British public considering Brexit to be a top-three issue.
This gives some indication as to why the Conservatives are focusing so heavily on one slogan – Get Brexit Done.
It’s certainly pithy in a ‘Take Back Control’ kind of way.
But with polls tightening, and a sense that the Liberal Democrats are not picking up the support some expected, it remains to be seen the extent to which the country does indeed want to get Brexit done.
That said, the slogan works.
For so many of us in the landowning community, and I rather suspect far beyond it, we are sick of the uncertainty which has plagued the economy and the political sphere these past three years.
It’s understandable that many might have a ‘just get on with it’ attitude – particularly if they believe the various manifesto pledges to maintain existing funding through the next Parliament.
Perhaps we are also sick of the relentless negativity which clouds political debate.
Whichever side of the argument you are on, we can surely agree it has been a rather depressing time in British politics.
And that is why we at the CLA are so determined to put a bit of optimism back into the conversation.
During this election, we have launched our Rural Powerhouse campaign.
It is a campaign based on the belief that with the right policies, the rural economy has extraordinary potential – to create jobs and opportunities for people from all walks of life, to build successful businesses and much-needed homes, as well as to mitigate climate change and improve biodiversity.
So far, almost 100 candidates from the major parties across the country have backed the campaign.
This is likely to give us a great caucus of MPs in the next Parliament to work with.
Shortly after the next Government takes office, we will begin to roll out a series of new policy initiatives designed to unleash the potential of the rural economy.
In doing so, we can drive the message home that rural productivity is 16 per cent below the national average.
Closing the gap could be worth £43bn to the national economy. That’s a tremendous opportunity for UK PLC, and countless people across the countryside.
So, when you speak to your candidates before the General Election, remind them to back the CLA’s campaign.
Whether you want to Get Brexit Done or not, we are all united in our need for a strong countryside, something that will be made possible through the Rural Powerhouse.