Click to contact us or call 02476 353537

Minister in Big Society debate at The CLA Game Fair

cla logo

The Governments Big Society agenda was hotly debated today (Friday, 22 July) at The CLA Game Fair.

Defras Secretary of State Caroline Spelman, former Daily Telegraph Editor Sir Max Hastings, CLA President William Worsley and former RSPB Conservation Director and blogger Dr Mark Avery debated the topic Big Society in the Countryside Reality or Rhetoric? in the packed CLA Presidents Debate.

Mr Worsley said countryside people have practised Big Society for hundreds of years and that it is important the Governments new initiative does not hinder the good work already going on.

Referring to the Localism Bill currently going through Parliament, he said: We need to make sure it does not stifle good will and we need to make sure it is not a vehicle for the loud-mouthed Nimbys.

The CLA President said that people in rural communities knew and helped each other far more than city dwellers. He said: When it snows in my village, the three farms get out their tractors and clear the snow. When there was flooding, we also dug a relief ditch. Thats what Big Society is all about.

Mrs Spelman said that Big Society was about putting people back at the helm of their communities.

She said: We will continue to translate the rhetoric into reality. We want to be a government that turns resources into action to make Big Society happen.

Sir Max said: Big Society is almost as silly a phrase as Tony Blairs Big Tent. However, he said he was encouraged by the Governments approach to the countryside and farming, particularly its recent decision to allow a badger cull to help fight bovine TB.

Labour Party member Dr Avery said: I dont have an issue with Big Society if it means more of us having a say in local issues, but I am not sure how the closure of libraries and bus services fits into that agenda. My worry is that Big Society is a smokescreen for allowing public spending cuts.

Several panelists and audience members posing questions were supportive of the industrys Campaign for the Farmed Environment (CFE). Mr Worsley said: The Campaign is a really good example of Big Society at work and shows we can self-regulate.

  1. The CLA Game Fair, the world’s leading country sport event, is at Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire from Friday, 22 July – Sunday, 24 July 2011. For more information and to request press passes please visit:
  1. The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) has around 35,000 members. 
  1. As a membership organisation, the CLA supports landowners by advising them on how best to protect and maximise their asset: the land. We are dedicated to supporting landowners and their businesses. Our success is measured by how effectively we do that. We have a team of experts in London and a regional structure able to give local support.
  1. We have been looking after the interests of our members, as well as promoting the positive aspects of land ownership, land management and rural business activities for the past 100 years. CLA members own or manage approximately half the rural land in England and Wales, and the resulting expertise puts us in a unique position to formulate policies and lobby effectively.
  1. For more information about the CLA, visit: or follow us on Twitter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * great opportunity to promote your business to our dedicated readership of farmers, landowners, estate managers and associated agricultural professionals.
Contact us today on 02476 353537 and let's work together to drive your business forward.