Tory candidate calls rural voters “straw-sucking yokels”

Heaton-Jones has tried to excuse his comments, made when he was a DJ in Wiltshire, as just something he said in order to stir things up a bit. At the time he was trying to be a shock jock. Among other comments he made, he said he was sick of whingeing farmers, and their complaints that they were being ripped off by the supermarkets. I know farming folk in Wales, and this isn’t a whinge: it’s a legitimate complaint. They are not getting a fair price for their produce and it is hurting them, and so damaging our countryside.

Heaton-Jones wrote his piece in response to a march through Wiltshire by members of the Countryside Alliance in support of fox hunting. He’s right about the stupid cruelty of the fox hunting brigade, but completely wrong about some of the real issues that may also have motivated some to join the protests.

Since they emerged in the 17th century, the Tories have always been the party of the ‘landed interest’ – the aristocracy and the large gentlemen farmers. This, however, shows the real contempt they have for rural Britain, and how low an opinion they have of its people.

This isn’t really particularly surprising, as the Tories now represent the London metropolitan elite. Nobody else really matters, and certainly not the ‘straw-sucking yokels’ outside the capital. A few years ago, the Daily Mail’s Liz Jones filled her column with bile and hate about her new home and neighbours in Exmoor. She had moved to that part of the West Country following the break-up of her marriage. The pieces she wrote tended to be long, extended laments about how unfortunate she, a proper urban sophisticate was, to be living in out in the boondocks with such uneducated peasants. The Mail loved it, but her neighbour’s didn’t: somebody fired a shotgun at her letterbox.

Heaton-Jones seems to have much the same attitude and prejudices as Jones, but possibly without the same grotesque, maudlin self-pity. His prospective constituents should give him the heave-ho on the 7th.

Pride's Purge

(not satire – it’s the Tories!)

Perhaps not quite the level of pleb – but referring to your predominantly rural electorate as “straw-sucking yokels” is perhaps not the best way to win over voters.

So it will be interesting to see if these remarkable comments by Peter Heaton-Jones  – the Tory candidate for the very rural constituency of North Devon – affect his chances for election on May 7th.

To be fair, in the same article Heaton-Jones also referred to “chinless foxhunters”, so he obviously wasn’t completely off the mark:

Conservative candidate says ‘straw-sucking yokels’ jibe was ‘not my view’

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