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5.12.10

The wonderful chaos that is English regionalism

Clearly Cornwall's case for 'regional' devolution would be aided by similar well established and popular grass-roots regionalist movements around England.

So what exists? This post is just a short summary of the various English regionalist movements as of December 2010. The artificial government zone regionalism and the connected campaigns preferred of Labour will not be treated here. Only regions proposed by the people for the people are of interest not lines on maps drawn by technocrats in London.

Wessex: The Wessex Regionalist Party, The Wessex Society and their blog. Mention should also go to the Enchanted Lands blog from David Robins. They are long-standing campaigners who do contest elections and are generally stalwart supporters of the Cornish movement.

The Regionalist Front of Dumnonia. They insist on including Kernow and in doing so step on the toes of both the Cornish and Wessex movements.

Northumbria: Not much here except various Facebook groups and this Free Northumbria blog (no longer  in existence). As far as culture we can find the Northumbrian Language Society and Northumbriania. There seems much potential for a unified autonomist movement but little action. Perhaps Yorkshire, part of Nothumbria, speaks more to people today as a devolvable region?

Yorkshire Independence (no longer in existence) - Campaign for devolution. A new arrival from a region that I would have expected to be much louder in its demands for recognition and devolution. On a cultural level you also have the Yorkshire Ridings Society. Perhaps one advantage they have is the support of those keen on the Labour government zones. This campaign clashes with that for Northumbria therefore precluding cooperation.

Mercia: The Acting Witan of Mercia, Sovereign Mercia, The Mercian Socialist Party, The Mercian Nationalist Party and their blog. Lots of what appear abandoned websites, joke websites and phantom parties? Surely a little more unity and professionalism is need to make the case for Mercia.

Federative efforts: England Devolve is the best but seems to be suffering from a lack of interest. Then there are the following blogs which seem to emanate from the same source: Regionalist.net, Decentralise UK and the Human Scale. Is there a forum where English regionalists can come together, debate and promote their ideas? Ah yes there is -English Regional Devolution and Independence- but it seems a little quiet!

The Green Party of England and Wales are long term supporters of devolution and decentralisation their Cornish branch advocating the creation of a Cornish Assembly.

Some mention should go to Unlock Democracy. In e-mail exchanges with them I have obtained expressions of support for Cornish devolution. Equally they are committed to devolution within England. Sadly though they  are fair weather friends and would be quick to support devolution to the artificial government zones rather than the grass-roots regions.

Grass-roots English regionalism lacks visibility and sadly there doesn't seem to be much unity of action at the moment to counteract this. Is this indicative of a lack of interest in regional devolution in England? Wouldn't it be in the best interests of those grass-roots regionalists who are serious about their campaigns to come together and create a professional lobbying front with greater visibility? If not then the scene is going to remain one associated with abandoned blogs, joke websites, phantom parties and weekend activists.

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