Leading article: As nature intended

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Can it be that nature doesn't like naturists? It certainly seems rather cruel of the sea to erode the cliffs of Corton, near Lowestoft, forcing the closure of Britain's oldest nudist beach. But we suspect that those who prefer to enjoy the outdoors unencumbered will always find more resistance from their fellow man than the elements. Consider the recent decision by a Swiss canton to fine "boots-only" hikers. Remember the number of times the "naked rambler", Stephen Gough, saw the inside of a police cell during his epic cross-Britain trek?

Why the hostility? Some will trace it back to that business with the apple in the Garden of Eden. The tale of the emperor's new clothes helped stigmatise the concept of parading round with nothing on. But could it be a more generous social instinct at work? As the great American journalist Ed Murrow once put it: "Most truths are so naked that people feel sorry for them and cover them up."

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