Sunday, June 3

The countryside’s immigration problem

With no little irony, Stewart Dakers complains that immigrants are ruining his rural idyll. Not the dusky lads from Somalia and Bangladesh you understand, but white flight from big cities. This is not gentrification, he says, but social cleansing on a grand scale – coarsening our once-gentle town, and predicts it won’t end well. I guess the Brexit debate must have passed him by, or maybe he’s late to the party? I recall when we made our initial forays into the rural hinterland (Dorset) some 15 years ago, the local pub was full of young Stewart Dakers types who’d inherited their parents homes and – rather than offering the properties to their neighbours at a ‘realistic’ price – had sold to incoming Londoners for what each considered a ridiculous sum of money. There was lots of punching the air, rounds of celebratory drinks…all they could think of was getting the hell out of Dodge and pursuing a career in some distant sunny land. The once-gentle town could go hang.

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