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The British countryside is painted either as a rustic idyll or a boring surrogate for the enjoyment of city life, depending on your taste. For me it was always the latter. I was born and raised in Somerset, and from about as early as I can remember I desired to get away.

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This was normally relayed to me in regards to having kids: “you won’t wish to bring kids up in the city”. And in general, financial outcomes do tend to be much better for those living in backwoods than for those living in cities. 15% of households in backwoods live in relative hardship, for example, compared to 22% in metropolitan areas.

Yet one of the lessons from the Brexit referendum was the level to which stats can belie truth. The pre-referendum duration now seems like ancient history, but Britain in the first half of 2016 was stated to be on the ‘road to recovery’ after a long recession. News broadcasts were filled with good cheer about the ‘record number of individuals’ in work, and so on.

Certainly, a striking phenomenon in the after-effects of the referendum was the wave of liberal journalists voyaging to the north of England in a way reminiscent of 1930s depression-era writing finding, in fact, that many of their fellow compatriots were leading unhappy and unfulfilling lives. If anyone had troubled to look, they would have seen this had held true all along.</p

Engish Village

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This attitude is years out of date, if it was ever precise in the first place. A 2017 joint report by the City Government Association and Public Health England keeps in mind that “within even the most wealthy [rural] areas, there can be genuine challenge, deprivation, ill health and inequalities”, in specific due to seasonal work and bad access to services.

In Scotland practically a quarter of post workplaces have closed considering that 2002. Rural communities experience poorer access to even allegedly universal services: while 98% of the metropolitan population live within four kilometres of a GP surgical treatment, the figure is 80 per cent for those living in backwoods. Additionally, simply 55% of rural households live within 8 kilometres of a healthcare facility, compared to 97% of metropolitan households.

Yet in backwoods broadband is often patchy throughout the time it’s taken to compose this post my Somerset broadband has dropped off twice, for 10 minutes at a time. According to Ofcom, rural broadband speeds been available in at around 13.7 Mbps, which is more than 3 times slower than metropolitan areas.

Portrait of an English Village

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Web access is simply one aspect in determining the chances offered to individuals. Opportunity also correlates with a university education. In the town I grew up in, unless a position in the family service waited for once you finished school, to get a well-paying job you needed to leave. When young individuals choose to spend their most efficient years in other places it accelerates the decrease of rural economies.

Individuals aged 45 years and above now make up over half of those living in backwoods in metropolitan areas it is more detailed to 40%. Much of these older citizens depend upon public transport, which has suffered serious cuts in backwoods recently due to the unprofitability of isolated services.

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Last year Somerset County Council announced it would be ditching Saturday Park and Ride services in Taunton, and Webberbus, one of Somerset’s biggest bus operators, collapsed entirely in 2016, leading to the disappearance of 24 services throughout the county. Services like these are a lifeline for the senior, who depend on local buses to check out shops and access services without them they’re separated.

For something, specific kinds of drugs especially cannabis were much more widespread in the corner of Somerset I grew up in than when I relocated to Nottingham in my early twenties, a city that was allegedly the ‘gun crime capital’ of the UK. Additionally, recently there have been reports of drug gangs significantly targeting rural communities to enhance profits.

Possibly since there is less to do in the countryside, especially in winter, the usage of leisure drugs has a more apparent appeal. The West Country smokes more cannabis than anywhere else in the UK. Marijuana growers also appear to prefer rural to metropolitan areas, with 55,166 plant seizures in the north west in 2017 compared to 19,397 in London.

The air is less polluted than in the city. Criminal activity rates are lower. And while the sense of local community fetishised by outsiders may be exaggerated, in lots of areas, for much better or even worse (you know everybody, but everybody understands you), it does exist. Yet this picturesque view of cleaner, more secure countryside communities overlooks a darker side.

Educational attainment amongst disadvantaged kids is far even worse in rural and coastal areas London districts dominate the Social Mobility Commission’s list of schools in which poorer students accomplish the finest outcomes. And for those without a university education, London life at least offers the remote possibility of an internship to get a foot in the door at a business.

English landscape image

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In typical with the country’s ‘left’ towns, already precious little interest has been displayed in checking out the deprivations of the British countryside. Switch on a tv and rural life is illustrated as a reasonable and tranquil Eden green fields and attractive country lanes enclosed by hedges and songbirds where one can hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, and take a trip to a nearby retail park on the weekend, to paraphrase Marx.

Rural communities have their own share of social issues; the idea of the ‘struggling’ inner city versus ‘our green and enjoyable land’ is hopelessly old-fashioned. I should know like lots of young individuals I made the reverse journey to the one normally illustrated in popular culture: I ran away to London to get away.