Beauty. It’s a word we all use, to describe something we love. The beauty of the world around us inspires us. But it’s not a word you will find used by politicians. Indeed, they seem almost embarrassed by it, as if talking about beauty implied something weak, emotional, or even class-laden.

So today, when we want to talk about things that are beautiful, whether our landscape, Nature, or cultural heritage, we invent management-speak: ecosystem services, natural capital, biodiversity. All politicians seem to care about is the economy.

It wasn’t always like that. Ideas about beauty were ...


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