Conspiracy in the shires

David Cox gives many convincing reasons why our county councils are being pathetically slow at reopening footpaths after foot-and-mouth ("Keep out! By order of the squirearchy", 14 May). He doesn't mention electoral conspiracy, but I suspect that this is also a major factor.

Conservative county councillors, who dominate the shires, must hope that the government will get the flak for this inaction. But it is clearly Tory dithering, obstinacy and prevarication that are to blame.

Brian Hughes
Leckhampton, Gloucestershire

This article first appeared in the 21 May 2001 issue of the New Statesman, A spin too far