Bates writes of four satisfying years as chairman of his Parish Council, and at the same time reflects on the poor state of rural government: "a combination of carelessness and somnolent indifference to what can be and ought to be done, or a combination of grandiose ideas and a serious misconception of everything fundamental to rural life. Yet they are run like this in England to-day; and they are run too on the equally questionable combinations of bigotry and jealousy, pecksniffing and back-biting, bureaucratic jiggery-pokery, and plain, dumb slackness of heart." What might be a parochial article with little relevance to today is rightly ended with a reflection that "in this stagnant rural apathy...may be seen the workings of the same dry rot that contributed to the fall of France and may still, even after victory [in the World War], bring the roof of English democracy tottering about our ears." Bates wrote regularly about rural concerns, including government, in his Country Life essays. In Life and Letters To-day (London, January 1941, xxviii, 41, pp. 198-204).