Tony Blair would do well to remember the legacy that John Smith left him on this issue. On many occasions he denounced the Conservative government for putting the interests of a small number of wealthy landowners above the majority of British people by denying them access to the countryside. He also passionately believed that the de facto access to mountain, moor and heath enjoyed by the Scots should be shared with everyone but realised this would never be achieved through voluntary agreements.
John Smith never lived to see the day when a right to roam would be enshrined in legislation. However his views on the subject are still echoed by many in the Cabinet and particularly resonate with the grass roots of the parliamentary Labour Party. If Tony Blair truly wants to "govern on behalf of all the people" he should not use his influence to block legislation but become its champion. In this way he would be delivering on a key pledge Labour made in Opposition and leaving a fitting tribute to the life of John Smith.
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