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Carrot and sticks?

Good to see Niace, the adult education body, is concerning itself with the needs of people living in the sticks.

It notes that things are changing, with the countryside increasingly being used as a bolt-hole for people who find their employment in the big cities.

This gives rise to issues such as "social inclusion" and environmental protection.

It's about time the education system stepped in to stop the countryside being ruined by the effect of lots of townies, like yours truly, moving in and ruining the atmosphere.

After all, the train companies are doing their bit by making it almost impossible to commute, and the price of oil, which means you can't get your central heating topped up for less than a squillion quid and weeks' notice, all helps to stem the tide.

But Niace recognises there will always be a hard core who will stay in the countryside come what may and that these gentle folk need an education, just like everybody else.

I'm presuming the village hall around the corner from Ferret Towers wasn't large enough to house this week's Niace conference on Adult Learning in Rural Communities. Perhaps Niace felt it was more appropriate to hold the event in Sheffield, one of Britain's biggest cities.

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