Saturday, 2 March 2013

We few

As I feared, the Wessex Regionalists didn't exactly cause a political earthquake in Eastleigh last Thursday. In fact they recorded their lowest ever result with Colin Bex securing 30 votes. But it's still better than 20 or 25! I had hoped in the absence of a Green candidate that Colin might have picked up more, but maybe Jim Duggan of the Peace Party did for that (he got 128 votes) But, as no doubt Mr. Bex would tell us, the WRs didn't stand for the maximum vote - they stood to get their ideas of localism, regionalism and agrarianism to a wider audience. And they did indeed garner a good amount of local and national press coverage with Colin even appearing on Newsnight sparring with Lord Ashdown! Hits to their website look like they've jumped considerably. Job done, £500 well spent. The WRs have announced they are looking to stand a candidate in each of the eight shires of Wessex at the 2015 General Election (they need to find £4k just for starters then!) All of course to boost Wessex consciousness and the Small is Beautiful idea.

Over a pint last night a friend of mine was of the opinion that the WRs are on to a loser because "There's no sense of a Wessex consciousness" and there is far, far more loyalty to the shires. Certainly true in the case of county loyalty and a good thing too as I'm sure the WRs would concur. But while I sympathised, I disagreed that the Wessex name is meaningless it is used by hundreds of businesses, it crops up a lot in the sporting world and other organisations, and yes - Thomas Hardy certainly helped!

If we are going to have a regionalist revolution let's at least base it in history and heritage. For radical nationalists and our fellow travellers the parish is paramount, but as the WRs put it themselves, regions are big enough to cope, small enough to care. And let's not have the politician's 'South-West' - the only way is Wessex!