Alice Miles has had a piece published in today's Times, entitled "Don't blame second-home owners for all rural ills".
She starts off with a fairly uncontroversial reflection on a consultation exercise in her village regarding a proposal for some affordable housing, noting that 90% of respondents had rejected all of the options. So far, so worthy. And then the wheels not so much fall off as sprout Boadiccea-like spikes...
Whilst she acknowledges that second-home owners are usually blamed for the unavailability of affordable homes, and admits that, in some holiday areas, there are too many, her real fire is turned on what I might effectively describe as 'permanent villagers'.
In the sort of blanket attack that indicates that Alice has her village home on the market, she asserts, "As a rule, rural people work far less hard than city people and pay less tax. Their quality of life is high, compared to the city dweller on his hamster wheel.". Gosh, Alice, don't beat about the bush, tell your neighbours how you really feel, why don't you? She goes on, "The relative laziness is accompanied by lack of imagination and a poverty of ambition.".
I've got to say that, if I was one of Alice's neighbours, it would be time for the pitchforks and flaming torches, as she clearly has no respect for her community, and is happy to tar them all with the same brush that journalists too lazy to actually seek out the truth use so freely. Oh, sorry Alice, that's a lazy generalisation, isn't it? You don't mind though, do you?
The reason that rural dwellers pay less tax is... trumpet fanfare... because they earn less (duh!) - excluding of course those city people with their second homes who invest their money so as to avoid paying levels of tax of which they disapprove. And yet their quality of life is higher. Might that be because they live a less consumer-oriented lifestyle, with less pressure to buy all of that 'stuff' that advertisers think we must have?
I don't know, if truth be told, although Ros has referred to issues of rural isolation and poverty that she encountered as a district and county councillor. However, perhaps if Alice did her own consultation exercise, she might discover that the truth, as it usually is, is rather more multi-faceted...