Sacked Environment Secretary Owen Paterson was the darling of the CLA Game Fair at Blenheim Palace today. A steady trickle of well wishers queued, as if at a wake, to shake the right-winger’s hand. Even Nigel Farage publicly endorsed O-Patz, and was almost upstaged by the grey man.

Country folk are sharpening their pitchforks in support of their displaced defender. ‘He’s the only one of them that actually got it’ lamented one attendee. ‘Bring back the badger slotter’, added another.

Paterson is, in rural eyes, a tough act for his replacement Liz Truss to follow, and she has her work cut out to earn the respect of countrysiders. ‘I have to say I immediately mistrust this Miss Truss,’ one fair-goer said. Truss’s case was not helped by her cancelling a planned visit to the show today in order to attend Cabinet in London; though she is due to don her tweed and wellies to attend on Sunday.

Tags: Countryside, Rural England