Country Standard Charter

Tony Gosling tony at
Wed Dec 5 20:08:54 GMT 2012

Just came a cross a real life leaflet on this
Seems to be put together by Communist Party 
people, they are saying, join a political party 
to try and get people engaged in local politics behind these aims.
Charter looks constructive and sensible, the sort 
of thing likely to bring like minded people together.

Country Standard Charter
1. Work to convene a rural convention, involving 
communities, councils, unions and rural focussed 
organisations such as Woodcraft, Ramblers and the 
CPRE to develop a vision for rural living.
2. Create a ‘Rebuild Rural Britain bank working 
with the Coop bank and credit unions - to supply 
funds to councils and those creating jobs and 
services through coops in rural areas.
3. Turn DEFRA into a ministry for the promotion 
and organization of quality rural living and 
employment, with a focus on environment.
4. DEFRA should coordinate an emergency programme 
of job creation aimed at youth.
5. DEFRA to work with Departments for Transport 
and Employment, to establish public rural bus services.
6. Yes to a legally enforcable living wage for 
every rural worker - support for an Agricultural Wages Board.
7. Councils to be allowed to raise funds to build 
and provide affordable rural housing to rent and buy.
8. Promote coops as a model for small farms, 
animal and crop production, construction, food 
processing, rural tourism and retailing. Coops to 
be given preference in the allocation of council contracts.
9. Access for all to high-speed rural broadband.
10. Provide proper resourcing for the Gangmasters 
Licensing Authority to enforce the law against cowboy employers.
11. Support the development of allotments, and 
urban gardens and food production.
12. Re establish national sovereignty over 
decision making in farming, fishing and rural affairs.
13. Extend greater decision making in rural 
affairs to the Scottish Parliament and Wales 
Assembly. Support the establishment of a parliament for Cornwall.

Why fighting County elections is crucial By Grace Brookman and Phil Katz UNITE
Growing anger in rural communities against the 
ConDem coalition government throws a challenge to 
the Left to reengage with rural communities and 
to prove that it is capable of offering 
leadership and hope. The Country Standard will play a key part in the process.
For many Labour and progressives living in rural 
areas the Coalition Government’s vicious 
onslaught will have come as little or no surprise.
However, many rural Tory voters will have been 
doubly shocked. First, at their Government’s 
willingness to inflict cuts which have disproportionately affected rural areas.
Second, at the lack of effectiveness of the vast 
majority of Conservative members of parliament 
and councillors. Each has systematically failed 
to speak up for their constituents.
Liberal Democrat voters are reeling from one 
broken election pledge after another. In some 
shires, Liberal Democrats saw themselves as a 
genuine opposition to Conservative indifference 
and dictat. Indeed, in recent elections, many 
Labour voters have voted Lib Dem in rural areas 
to try to keep the Tories out. At Country 
Standard we believe this no longer is an option. 
It was swept away in an orange counterrevolution, 
which saw the Lib Dems hitched to the slash and burn Tory wagon.

Tories breaking AWB
The one ministry passed over by the Liberal 
Democrats and therefore run totally by 
Conservative ministers is DEFRA the ministry 
dealing with rural affairs. Liberals who once 
championed minimum wage setting through the 
Agricultural Wages Board are saddled with backing 
a Tory attempt to break up the AWB and across the 
board reduce protective legislation for rural 
workers and services for rural communities. 
That’s a reason why many who in the past voted 
Lib Dem will now vote Labour in the all important 
County Council elections next year.
The elections are important for a number of 
reasons. So important that the Country Standard 
Editorial Collective decided to make it a major 
theme for this issue. The Conservatives want to 
do more than cut housing, public services and jobs.
They want to cut the very means of delivering 
public services in rural communities – the 
councils themselves. That is why the CS calls on 
all progressive forces; Labour, Green, Communists 
and those Liberal Democrats disgusted at their 
own party’s performance, to campaign and take as 
many seats as possible. In this way the people 
will be better protected from the Government and 
the ruling class strategy can be frustrated.
In these elections the open fascist vote will 
collapse. And it will be a much-reduced force at 
the 2014 election to the Euro parliament. But 
this vote, much of it cast by ordinary working 
people will go somewhere and there is the danger 
that the probanker UKIP peddling its fantastical 
myths about migrant workers might fill the void. 
UKIP oppose the Common Agricultural Policy and 
the Common Fisheries Policy. But are they against 
austerity? In this issue on page 6, CS – for the 
first time on the left – start to analyse what UKIP really stand for.
Today, 1 in 6 rural inhabitants live in poverty. 
On average rural workers are paid £4,000 a year 
less than their work colleagues in urban towns 
and cities. The Agricultural Wages Board which 
sets the rate of pay for agricultural workers and 
benchmarks for other rural jobs is threatened 
with abolition. Affordable housing is all but 
nonexistent, fuel poverty is endemic and the 
necessity to have a car means high petrol/diesel 
prices have a devastating impact on the lives and 
environment in rural communities. There is in 
some areas, a collapse of bus and postal 
services. Youth unemployment may not be on the 
catastrophic scale of Spain or Greece, Italy or 
Portugal, but it is surely bad enough for Britain.

Gather all the forces
Step forward the tens of thousands of community 
and environmental activists, trade union 
representatives, pensioner campaigners and 
political activists who keep our rural 
communities ticking. We need to gather all the 
forces – even those active at the base of the 
Countryside Alliance, which once promised to 
represent rural people but was hijacked at the 
top by the class force that has wreaked havoc in our rural areas.
How much stronger would this force be if it could 
link-up with strong honest voices found in local 
parish council meetings, in the columns of local 
newspapers and on community radio, with diverse 
faith, women and youth groups. If you read our 
feature on rural broadband (page 8) some might 
even be encouraged to use social networks.
We cannot just fight against the cuts – we need 
to offer vision and support to rural communities. 
Councillors could start by supporting the 
principle of offering small or matching “Bread & 
Roses” Grants to local villages and towns to help 
organise community cultural events from painting 
and writing to food production. It could include 
the funding of a new pitch, or kit for the village football or rugby team.
Clear issues run through rural deprivation. But 
to be against what the government do is not 
enough. The Country Standard has had a 
progressive vision for rural Britain that has run 
like a thread of steel through its pages since it 
first appeared in 1935. There have been good and 
bad times, war and peace covered in our pages. 
Our CS activists became standard bearers of rural 
and food trade unionism. There has been days of 
hope too. It is tempting to think that, with a 
severe economic crisis and cuts everywhere, now 
is not the time to advance a set of affirmative 
and progress demands. We do not agree. We urge 
you to read our Charter on page 3.
So we throw our hat into the ring yet again. The 
Charter is not prescriptive, how can it be in 
such a culturally and politically diverse set of 
communities. Rather we hope the Charter will 
enthuse the young and embolden the veterans, 
influence political party policy and give shape 
even to the voting preferences of independent 
councillors. If you are not yet in a union or 
political party we ask you to consider joining 
one. Do not hold back, put yourself forward for 
local office. Rural communities need to survive 
and thrive – you can play your part to make this 
happen. We hope you sign up to the Charter in 
total. If you do not, do not recede in to 
inactivity, take the bits of it you agree with and start campaigning!
+44 (0)7786 952037
Twitter: @TonyGosling
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"Capitalism is institutionalised bribery."

"The maintenance of secrets acts like a psychic 
poison which alienates the possessor from the community" Carl Jung

Fear not therefore: for there is nothing covered 
that shall not be revealed; and nothing hid that 
shall not be made known. What I tell you in 
darkness, that speak ye in the light and what ye 
hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. Matthew 10:26-27

Die Pride and Envie; Flesh, take the poor's advice.
Covetousnesse be gon: Come, Truth and Love arise.
Patience take the Crown; throw Anger out of dores:
Cast out Hypocrisie and Lust, which follows whores:
Then England sit in rest; Thy sorrows will have end;
Thy Sons will live in peace, and each will be a friend.  
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