Obscured by trees

Never mind the slash and burn of massive public spending cuts, what threatens to undo the British Conservative-Liberal coalition government is a groundswell of opposition to its plans to sell off publicly-owned forests for a few hundred million quid at most. We appear to be having another of our Diana moments.

The Economist‘s Bagehot has it nailed

“I knew the government was in real trouble on Tuesday, when the Daily Telegraph’s revered ‘Matt’ drew a front page pocket cartoon of Winnie the Pooh and Piglet locked out of a privatised Hundred Acre Woods. As a rule of thumb, when the country’s most loyally Conservative newspaper accuses a Conservative government of hurting Winnie the Pooh, things are going badly wrong.”

Employing a simple comparison with our European neighbours, Bagehot goes on to expose the soppy claim that we Brits are particularly attached to our woodlands, ancient or no. The comment is especially significant, coming as it does from a publication ideologically wedded to the idea that private = good, public = naff.

Big Society voluntarism? It’s nothing more than Big Government patrician conservatism, with ministers displaying a staggering degree of incompetence in their attempts to sell the half-baked idea to a largely townie British public which appears to be dusting off the country tweeds and reaching for the pitchforks.