Saturday, 27 September 2014

The campaign for the real regions begins now!

The unionists have had their way, but one of the postive fallouts of the Scottish Independence referendum is that devolution is back on the agenda. As I'm a National Anarchist I want to see my autonomous villages - you can't get more devolved than that! But ideals aside, it's important for radical tribalists to see opportunities everywhere. Regionalists of all hues are our natural allies. I'm a National Anarchist, but not sectarian and I'm delighted to align myself with other radicals - this is not a luxury, it's essential. I want to see maximum co-operation between all decentralists as we're more likely to succeed that way. And one step toward a decentralised British state is a step closer to meaningful autonomy.

In the wake of the Scottish vote greater regional autonomy for England is now being seriously debated. This presents English regionalists (and their Welsh and Scottish counterparts) with a real chance of progress. They have to seize this chance and manage it properly.

Two criticisms of regionalism put about by centrists are 1) It's an arbitrary
carve-up into souless, bureaucratic zones - we all remember the Prescott fiasco! and 2) It will destroy Englishness and national unity. Real English regionalism is of course, based in English history and its peoples' organic, tribal roots. It's based on our parishes, hundreds, shires and Kingdoms of the Heptarchy. Regionalists need to shout this loud: "We're not 'South West', we're Wessex. We're not 'Midlands', we're Mercia. Culturally and spiritually their concepts are increasingly popular, living in the hearts of many. As a schoolkid I was enthralled by the heptarchy and the fact that Cornwall had it's own flag! These little worlds and little platoons made sense to me, and if presented in the right way today they make sense to Joe Public, not least because they provide them with a romantic sense of place, connected to their own histories.

Our elites have been talking about City States, I don't object to these. I conceed that if cities adopt radical measures they can go a long way to toward feeding themselves (yes, really!) and of course cities should run their own domestic affairs to the max and come to mutual arrangements with their periferies. We're stuck with cities! However, regionalists need to provide a radical agrarian vision as one in which people can gain real control over their lives. By shedding the trappings of technology in agrarian redoubts our regions can prove central government as an increasing irrelevance.

As to the claim that Englishness will fade - I don't buy it. Autonomy, independence, freedom - these are mainstays of the English psyche. England will still exist on the cultural, social and spiritual levels.

Now on to more practical considerations: One constant criticism of regionalism is the view that all it leads to is the creation of another layer of expensive government with more fiddling, greedy politicians. Regionalists can refute this with the following argument: The House of Commons and the Lords can be abolished. The regions could elect sovereign parliaments with full executive powers. The existing parliamentary constituencies can remain in place (no extra expense there) Elected MPs from the Cornish, Wessex, Mercian parliaments et al can then send delegates to a Council of the Isles (or a national federal body for England, Wales, Scotland, Ulster)that will meet as an when to decide issues of national and international importance, such as mutual defence. Of course, most domestic decision making could remain, rightly, at parish, district and county levels - with wider co-ordination being decided by regional parliaments. County pride is currently sky-high and rightly so. But federating the shires into our historic regions can entrench that tribal pride further. To borrow the Wessex Regionalists' maxim Big enough to cope, small enough to care. One exception to the rule is probably Yorkshire: a shire with an immense sense of self (I'm envious!), it's own growing devolution movement and big enough to stand alone. Will Yorkshire folk be happy to be part of a Greater North? That's an issue for them.

Now, on to the (big) elephant in the room: the European Union. Regionalists, in my view must unequivocally oppose the EU and advocate UK withdrawal, not to do so will make a mockery of their case. There is no way around this.