My 360 mile a day commute across Britain means I can speak authoritatively about the British countryside, or at least the bit between London and Stoke-on-Trent. And there are two inescapable conclusions to be made:
First of all, the countryside is very beautiful. Second, there are lots of empty fields.
But, Britain has many conflicting features.
1. The British are, relatively, very rich.
2. We work too hard and moan too much about our minor problems
3. We don't have enough houses so those who have them are rich without really deserving it and this doesn't stop them working incredibly long hours alongside everyone else.
4. Our farmers are (a) taking all the EU cash, (b) dumping their surplus on people who don't want it, (c) killing the rainforest by growing vast amounts of soya to feed cows and (d) moaning all the time, rather like the wealthy homeowners
5. We don't eat very well
My solution to all this lies in one little animal: the chicken.
It is my proposal to fill Britain with vast amounts of free range chickens, which would feed the nation and alleviate our dependence on beef. Chickens can live in most types of land, eat anything and even live amongst cows, if you must.
When we have enough chickens, we start giving some of the fields over to houses. I'm all for the countryside, but Britain has plenty of room for more pretty, well designed little village type estates with greens and, for good measure (this is my vision) a fabulous local train network connecting them all. The farmers get the money for their land and then they'll just have to get on with it on their own, for the first time.
Other land would be given over to the continuing projects to revive our forests and wetlands, leading to part three of my cunning plan: to free the British worker from his slavery and get him out being a tourist. Walking in the fields (for nobody is scared of a chicken), trailing through the forests, spending money in the bars, teashops and patisseries of New Britain. Still, I expect, heading for their clone towns on a regular basis but I’ve lived without a Starbucks for long enough, I miss Clonetown! Flying around the world, spending their riches and earning money through happier pursuits such as running teashops, herding chickens and providing local services and trains. Hard office graft will still continue - though most of it will have gone to India, that's just the way things are - but employers will enforce proper hours, holidays and a more productive working ethos with more people employed, instead of less people overworked, and more imagination being released with regular time out of the office helping with conservation of the forests and wetlands.
Oh, and children will be bought up on free range chicken and they will be healthier. Sorted.