Tory plans to support rural communities contain little that is new.
Policies such as allowing parents to run schools or giving planning powers to local councils have been well-rehearsed.
What the Conservative green paper does is to set out how these proposals would supposedly affect rural areas.
So, we are told that the days of village schools closing would come to an end, as rules forcing them to shut if they had too many empty places were scrapped. And the green belt would be saved, as regional quangos would be stripped of the authority to order local councils to build more houses.
But it’s good to see politicians taking an interest in rural communities.
In particular, just as Labour might sometimes be accused of taking voters in the inner cities for granted, so the Conservatives need to avoid the trap of assuming they have the countryside sewn up.
The reality is that there are a great many marginal seats in rural areas, not least in the West Midlands.
Conservatives gained seats such as Shrewsbury in the last election, and will be hoping to do well in Staffordshire by the time the next one comes around.
Labour should see the Tory paper as a challenge, and an opportunity to demonstrate that it too is committed to serving the shires as much as the big towns and cities.
The Government has some way to go, after Labour MPs voted to ban fox-hunting despite warnings that the animals suffered far more from being shot or poisoned. Nobody denied that their numbers had to be controlled, but Labour MPs seemed to care less about helping the animals than about hurting the people involved.
In the next election, all major parties must place their commitment to Britain’s oft-neglected rural communities at the heart of their campaigns.