When I was a little girl I sat on the swing in my parents garden and composed a letter to Margaret Thatcher. In it I laid out my solutions to end the Falklands War and stop unemployment.
I had worked out that these were the major issues of the day from watching the 6 O’clock News, which was almost a religious ritual in my parents house as we were forced to maintain absolute silence during it. In return for my advice, I wished Mrs Thatcher to give me the British Isles, which I would then turn into a nature reserve.
I don’t think I had worked out the finer details of my scheme or where the population would go but I was sure these things could be cleared up over a debate or two. I wrote my letter and my dad suggested I post it to Chequers, as it was the summer holidays and he thought that was where she would be. Unsurprisingly, Mrs Thatcher never replied.
Today, thirty something years later, I am at it again. Writing to a member of the House of Lords who I met earlier in the year to ask for a meeting with Michael Gove so I can discuss reform of Environmental Stewardship and the Agricultural Bill.
This time I have formulated my ideas based on years of working with farmers and stewardship in North Kent and am not asking to be given the country in return…. or maybe I am. Agricultural land makes up about 77% of the British Isles and if that 77% worked not only to grow food but to contribute to clean water, healthy soils, public access and increased biodiversity then maybe I could get the countrywide nature reserve I desired all those years ago.
Still, I am laughing at myself, as I send it, at my belief that I have the answer and those in power should listen. I am still, in many ways, that little girl on the swing and I still stand back and cheer her on.