01:17PM, Wednesday 06 October 2021
Stoke Poges memorial gardens
The village of Stoke Poges got a surprise mention during Boris Johnson’s speech at the Conservative conference this morning.
The South Bucks village was used an example of ‘levelling up’ with the Prime Minister stating it was one of the country’s ‘richest villages’, according to a survey from the Daily Telegraph published in 2011.
He said: “We have one of the most imbalanced and lopsided economies of all the richer countries. It’s not just that we have a gap between the South East and London and the rest of the country. There are aching gaps in the counties themselves.
“There is no reason why the inhabitants of one part of the country should be geographically fated to be poorer than others or why people should feel they have to move away from their loved ones and communities to reach their potential.”
He referenced a poem written in 1751 by Thomas Gray, Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard.
“Where was he standing when he chewed his pensive quill?
“He was standing in Stoke Poges.
“My friends there may be underprivileged parts in our country but Stoke Poges is not now among them.”
“Since Gray elegised Buckinghamshire has levelled up to be one of the most productive regions in the whole of Europe.
“Stoke Poges may of course still have it’s problems but they are overwhelmingly caused by the sheer lust of other people to live in or near Stoke Poges.
"Overcrowded trains, endless commutes, too little time with the kids, the constant anxiety that you are immemorial view of chalk download is going to be desecrated by ugly new homes. And that is why levelling up works for the whole country.”
He said levelling up would help take the pressure of parts of the South East and offer ‘hope and opportunity’ to the areas felt left behind.
Conservative MP for Beaconsfield and South Bucks Joy Morrissey tweeted after saying she ‘loved’ the Prime Ministers shout out to the area.
She tweeted: “The PM taking about protecting places like Stoke Poges from over-development. Glad to hear my incessant lobbying on the issue has got through.”
Some on social media were sceptical that what happened in Stoke Poges could be achieved in other places.
One user tweeted: “What about levelling up the Britwell estate next to Stoke Poges then?”
Labour MP Jess Phillips tweeted: “if you were raped in Stoke Poges you’d still have to wait four years for a trial and your rapist would likely get away with it.”