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Wave of secession: Crimea, Venice, Catalunia & UK shires

 
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TonyGosling
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2014 12:07 am    Post subject: Wave of secession: Crimea, Venice, Catalunia & UK shires Reply with quote

Venice Referendum Aims To See City And Region Secede From Italy

The Huffington Post Canada | Posted: 03/17/2014 11:32 am EDT | Updated: 03/17/2014 11:59 am EDT

Another region of the world wants independence.

The area around Venice, in northern Italy, is holding an online referendum this week on whether or not to separate from the rest of the country.

Polls suggest two-thirds of the four million voters in Venice and the surrounding area, which encompasses the cities of Treviso, Vincenza and Verona, support secession, the U.K.'s The Week reports.

The Italian media hasn't been paying much attention to the referendum, which is not legally binding, but some voters say if a majority vote yes, they will start withholding taxes and pay them to the local authorities instead, a movement spokesman told the Daily Telegraph.

Supporters of separation want to see the creation of a state called the 'Republic of Veneto'. Their dissatisfaction stems from a broad sentiment that the wealthier northern region doesn't benefit enough from the tax revenue it provides and that a disproportionate amount of that money is wasted by Rome and the poorer south.

While the desire for independence may come as a surprise to many non-Italians, Venice has been a separate state for far longer than it has been part of Italy. It was its own autonomous region for more than a thousand years until 1797, when Napoleon conquered the area and it subsequently became part of Austria. Venice joined Italy in 1866.

But Venetians aren't the only ones in Europe interested in secession. Scotland will hold its own referendum in September on leaving the U.K., and the Spanish region of Catalonia is planning a vote for Nov. 9, although Spain's government has pledged to stop it from happening.

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/03/17/venice-referendum_n_4978877.ht ml

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Whitehall_Bin_Men
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2014 4:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Venice voted FOR independence by a majority of around 90%
A large part of the NATO zone bluster about democracy in Crimea is TO DRIVE THE VERY THOUGHT FROM OUR MINDS - it could herald a new wave of secession thoughts and votes across the Goldman Sachs loan sharked EU
http://news.antiwar.com/2014/03/23/italy-splitting-venice-votes-for-se cession-is-sardinia-next/

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TonyGosling
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2014 12:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cornwall is celebrating after being granted minority status - but what of other English counties' claims to independence?

From Berkshire to Yorkshire, our writers go back to their roots...
Thursday 24 April 2014
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/cornwall-is-celebrating -after-being-granted-minority-status--but-what-of-other-english-counti es-claims-to-independence-9284240.html

By Gillian Orr

Berkshire, or the Royal County of Berkshire as we all go around calling it, is one of the oldest in the country. Not only was it the scene of many historic battles in the Civil War but, due to Eton College being located here, it means just about every Prime Minister and royal of note has stolen their first kisses and taken their earliest sips of cider in our distinguished county. But if people think Berkshire is just a place for snobs and toffs, don’t forget we are also responsible for glorious Slough, the setting for The Office. And therein lies Berkshire’s beauty. What other county can boast having such varying landmarks as Wernham Hogg Paper Company and Windsor Castle nestled within its quarters?

BUCKINGHAMSHIRE
By Lisa Markwell
Bucks should not be seen as the decorative buckle on the commuter belt, oh no. It may be home to the picturesque Chiltern Hills and have the odd bend of the Thames within its boundaries, but within it is a threatened species. It deserves minority status to protect the very important and at-risk residents of a proper home county: the gin’n’Jag set. The numbers of these creatures, who rise before dawn and hit the M40 in their company cars, to toil at management consulting all day before coming home for a stiff drink and a glance at the Telegraph crossword, are dwindling. But it is they who keep Buckinghamshire’s wine bars in business, the golf clubs ticking over, and the personal trainers (who Mrs G’n’J utilises between school drop off and teeth-whitening sessions) busy. We want them to keep going for ever, like Bucks’ other attractions – Bekonscot, the model village that has barely changed since it opened in 1929 – and the grammar schools that still proliferate. We can’t expect Pinewood Studios to be our only calling card (although, in fairness, it is more glamorous than the other residents the county accommodates – Noel Gallagher and Jamiroquai among others). And apologies if we are now sounding needy, but our minority status is only cemented by being the county that nearly, but not quite, includes such luminary addresses as Silverstone, Bletchley, Windsor… I could go on. Even Slough (of “Come Friendly Bombs” fame) is just over the border.

CAMBRIDGESHIRE
By Chloe Hamilton
When you think about it, Cambridgeshire already has minority status. We have our own sport (apparently they punt in Oxford, too, but at the wrong end of the boat), our own language (A keeping room? Anyone? Yep, that’s right, it’s a fancy word for living room) and even our very own, very glamorous Duke and Duchess. To hell with leeks, soda bread, haggis and pasties, our national food is the delectable Fitzbillies Chelsea bun or, for the very brave, boiled sausages in milk. We also make most of our money selling cheap tat to tourists, like any good principality should. If minority status was granted, our head of state, some library eccentric, would ride around town on his bike admonishing students for not wearing their gowns, and enforce incongruous laws such as holding May Balls in June rather than May. In fact, I think the government should go right ahead and make Cambridgeshire the country it quite clearly is. Anything to get one up on The Other Place.

CHESHIRE
By Alistair Dawber
There isn’t much support in Chester, Warrington, Knutsford and Crewe for the Peoples’ Popular Front for the Liberation of Cheshire (PPFLC), but perhaps there should be. Much like Scotland argues in the context of its oil, there’s so much money swimming around (footballers in the north of the county, farmers in the south) that Cheshire must surely be better off keeping its cash rather than transferring it elsewhere. It has its own mining industry (salt – or at least it used to), and huge revenues could be generated by taxing all the trains that come up the West Coast Mainline and to on to various places from Crewe station. Don’t be surprised if support for the PPFLC soars in the years to come.

CUMBRIA
By Chris Blackhurst
If any county is deserving of separate status it is Cumbria. Britain’s loveliest and prettiest, home of Beatrix Potter, John Ruskin and William Wordsworth, Cumbria is closer to heaven than it is to London. With the fells, lakes, and tarns of the Lake District at its core, Cumbria has no issue with identity. Bounded by the sea on one side and the majestic Eden Valley on the other it has its own dialect, cuisine, ales, customs, sports and wildlife. All it is lacking is independent governance. Where would you rather be, in the smog shuffling along in the crowds at Chelsea Flower show, or breathing in the clean, pure air at the Grasmere Sports, watching the fell running, Cumberland Wrestling and hound-trailing? Likewise, would you prefer the view from Westminster Bridge or Tarn Hows? The latter, every time.

DERBYSHIRE
By Will Gore
Picture this… Gaining independence will be only the first battle for Derbyshire; then will come the internal debate about the future of Derby itself. City-dwellers there may resent the county’s name change to Peakland and the retention of government in tourist-friendly Matlock. But when civil order reasserts itself, Peakland will become a powerhouse – its industrial heartland in the south; glorious hills and productive pasture to the north. Oatcakes and Bakewell tart will feed hungry mouths at the end of hard-working days; wells will be dressed in thanks for the county’s liberation. And should governments of little Lancashire or yapping Yorkshire, jealous of Peakland’s wonders, send their armies they will be met by sturdy uplanders atop the Dark Peak, their guns loaded with local lead. This is our dream: get out of the trough; climb the peak.

DEVON
By Sophie Robehmed
Ah, Devon, you beautiful beast. Your rolling green hills, magnificent moors and stunning, jagged coastline attracts countless visitors, migrating families and retirees, far and wide. You gave birth to literary greats, such as Samuel Taylor Coleridge (Ottery St. Mary), a leader of the British Romantic movement whose most famous poem, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, is studied, again and again, by literature students worldwide, Charles Kingsley (Exeter), whose novel, Westward Ho!, led to the north Devon town with the same name – the only place name in the British Isles that contains an exclamation mark! – and Agatha Christie (Torquay), the bestselling author of all time. Your luscious landscape also inspired the likes of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Ted Hughes, Thomas Hardy, Charles Dickens, Jane Austen and Arthur Conan Doyle (that’s right, you could forget The Hound of the Baskervilles and Sherlock-cum-Benedict Cumberbatch mania without Dartmoor). You even determined a globally recognised geological era – the Devonian period. Oh, and by the way, you (probably) also introduced the world to a cream tea and the hallowed pasty (according to discovered historic documents), maybe even clotted cream and saffron cake. So stick that in your Saint Piran’s special edition pipe and smoke it, Cornwall.

DORSET
By Mark Leftly
Finally, we Bournemouthians would have our revenge. Bournemouth was the public’s choice to be awarded city status in a 2012 competition to mark the Queen’s Diamond jubilee. Instead, the trio promoted to the top rank of urban settlements were Chelmsford (really?), Perth (Australia?) and St Asaph (not even a real place). That’s quite an insult for a town that sells 2,000 ice creams a day and discovers about as many Page 3 girls (including, I should remind Archie Bland, Hampshire’s Ms Pinder) on seven miles of golden beaches. As economically dominant of Dorset as London is of the UK, secession would see Bournemouth rightfully take its place as the world’s most chain-bar strewn capital city.

COUNTY DURHAM
By Stephen Brenkley
Land of the prince bishops, it was doing home rule long before the others thought of it. The only county of England to proclaim itself as such in its name, its coalfields fuelled the industrial revolution. It has one of the world’s great universities in the county town, one of its great museums in the singular Bowes Museum at Barnard Castle, one of the forgotten treasures of the British countryside in Teesdale, a unitary authority which tries still to believe in supplying public services, and it also provided last summer’s cricket county champions, the true yardstick of any place worthy of the name county.

ESSEX
By Simon Read
Essex is not just another county in England. It’s the oldest county still in existence, dating its roots back to at least the 6th century, and it contains Britain’s oldest recorded town in Colchester, which pre-dated the Roman invasion. Yet it’s also thoroughly modern, being at the heart of the entertainment revolution that still shapes our age today. It boasts the world’s longest pleasure pier at Southend – it’s further than a mile! It was also the birthplace of pirate radio – Caroline’s earliest broadcasts in 1964 came from a boat moored off the Essex coast. Minority status? The rest of the country is in a minority compared to Essex’s historical and contemporary pre-eminence.

HAMPSHIRE
By Archie Bland
Fine, other counties have given the world cultural figures that mean more than Lucy Pinder or Craig David or Tara Palmer-Tomkinson. (Even our greatest modern icon, Matthew Le Tissier, actually comes from the Channel Islands.) Fine, we haven’t got much in the way of local cuisine. But you can keep yer Beatles and yer pasties: Hampshire has kings. When Wessex was a nation, and the Danes were knocking on the door, all of south-west England looked to Winchester for protection. You might not know much about King Alfred beyond his cake-burning, but trust me, he knocks the Windsors into a cocked hat. Royal heritage, a top-class football team, and it’s usually quite sunny: I’m suddenly wondering why we didn’t put up border controls decades ago.

HERTFORDSHIRE
By David Connett
England at its quietest was how novelist E M Forster described Hertfordshire. The unassuming characteristics of a county experienced by most of us only through the windows of the car or train passing swiftly through on their way to London or elsewhere should not be overlooked when the question of independence is raised. More fantastical schemes have been dreamed up at Leavesden’s World of Harry Potter. Herts resident Rupert Grint as head of state, anyone? We could even change the currency to Galleons. Who would argue with fellow resident Vinnie Jones in charge of security? Others may bridle at old boy George Michael as Culture minister but a toll on every car and train passing through would soon see us in clover.

KENT
By Simon O'Hagan
I always thought my home county WAS a nation. Back in the 11th century its good citizens saw off William the Conqueror as he made his way north from Hastings, earning Kent its motto of “Invicta” (unconquered). So we’ve been separate from the rest of England for nearly 1,000 years, which is about how long it feels like Gillingham Football Club have been trying to get into the Premier League. No matter. We punch above our weight in other ways: apples, hops, oil refineries, white cliffs, high-speed rail links, and archbishops of Canterbury. And we’d have Mick Jagger’s head on our stamps.

LANCASHIRE
By Chris Maume
The seat of the Industrial Revolution, the county that made Britain great. And we still have plenty of industry to keep us going today, plus great football teams and great music – and to those who protest that Liverpool and Manchester don’t count, I contend that Lancashire’s boundaries used to encompass both those cities, and as a new nation we would seek to correct the “historical mistake”, as Mr Putin would say, of allowing them to be stolen from us in the Metropolitan Reshuffle Scandal of 1971.

LEICESTERSHIRE
By Sean O'Grady
Can we conceive of a territory with the emblem of a pork pie rampant as its symbol of nationhood? Yes, indeed, the home of the Melton Mowbray delicacy (already a protected brand under European law) has much to commend itself. The county, and the great enterprising multicultural melting pot that is Leicester at its warm heart, leads the nation in so many ways. Top sports teams in every field: rugger, cricket and now a return to premiership football; fox hunting, (nowadays mercifully without the accompanying torture of an innocent wild animal); Britain’s favourite potato crisp (Walkers); and the finest Indian restaurants and chippies you could wish for. Two fine universities, picturesque ancient villages in gently undulating countryside with wonderful names (Great Dalby, Little Dalby, Frisby-on-the-Wreake, Tur Langton, Barton in the Beans), a history of settlement back to pre-Roman times, the National Space Centre, Everards ales, Pukka Pies, the biggest John Lewis in the world, Richard III, magnificent architectural heritage and our very own miniature statue of liberty completes the compelling national case. Prime Minister Gary Lineker awaits the call.

LINCOLNSHIRE
By Dan Gledhill
When asked, “where do you come from?”, there are few better conversation killers than “Lincolnshire”. Well, if that’s your attitude… Combining a rugged north and a flat-as-a-pancake south, the land of the “Yeller Belly” boasts some of the finest beaches in Britain. It is the fair county that spawned Isaac Newton, Margaret Thatcher and Abi Titmuss. Lincoln Minster was once the tallest man-made structure in the world. There’s a straight road that goes on for seven miles. How different do we have to be before our minority status is recognised?

NORFOLK
By John Clarke
Those lucky enough to come from Norfolk always had one golden rule. “We do different.” Perhaps it’s the fact that the county’s stuck out in the North Sea, battered by winds straight from Siberia in winter but blessed by miles of golden beaches that make this county not only different but seemingly isolated from the rest of the UK. Going to Norfolk is a conscious decision. It’s not on the way to anywhere else and isn’t somewhere you can just pass through. Driving up the notoriously over-used but under-developed A11 brings you to proud city of Norwich, which boasts a Norman Cathedral, a Norman Castle and premier league football team (although that status is currently under threat). Detractors may point to Alan Partridge, but he has little to do with the true Norfolk, as Dick Van Dyke does with Cockneys. Instead, think of Nelson, a Norfolk-bred national hero, or Thomas Paine, the revolutionary who helped America towards independence – and can inspire Norfolk’s own.

NORTHUMBERLAND
By Joseph Charlton
Northumberland has always been an exceptional county. We boasted a Kingdom from 654 to 954AD, our forebears include Sting, Bryan Ferry and the Venerable Bede, and we’re no stranger to “status” awards here, either – having last year been granted “dark sky status” for the county’s exceptionally dark nights and starry skies. That bright firmament illuminates a world of wonder and spectacle underneath: rolling, heather-clad hills, two football clubs both alike in hatred for one another, and a set of the fairer sex given to a perfunctory dress-code at best, whatever the season. Minority status is clearly the next logical step for a county of such singular disposition. Besides, if Parliament doesn’t recognise our rights soon, they’ll have to compete with an independent Scotland for our affections, and who says Alex Salmond couldn’t turn out to be the annexing type? Joseph Charlton

NORTHAMPTONSHIRE
By Richard Askwith
Northamptonshire has no need of independence. Splayed across the centre of both England and (pretty much) the UK, we’re used to rubbing along happily with people from all parts. Then again, if you all want to secede from us, we’ll manage fine on our own. We’re relatively prosperous, uncrowded, rural but not chocolate-boxy, unpretentious, well-connected (by road, rail and canal), proficient in several sports, with small, slightly sleepy towns and a cultural heritage that spans the social strata, from the super-posh Spencers to John Clare, poet of the peasantry. I suppose it might be tempting, in an every-county-for-itself free-for-all, to invade Lincolnshire; but I suspect we’d think better of it. Access to the sea isn’t all it’s cracked up to be in an age of rising sea-levels. And, with everything we need in our own county, why go looking for trouble?

NOTTINGHAM
By Alex Lawson
Nottinghamshire is the county upon which Britain’s cultural pillars have been built – pubs and football. Nottingham’s natural parliament is Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, a public house dating back to 1189and widely recognised as Britain’s oldest watering hole. On the pitch, Notts County, formed in 1862, proudly boast their status as the world’s oldest professional league club while neighbours across the river Nottingham Forest have two European Cups to their name. Nottinghamshire also has a natural leader to adorn its fledgling flag. Robin Hood, the philanthropic founder of a conscientious economy, is a global hero inspiring men to wear green tights, tourists to brave Sherwood Forest and Bryan Adams to dominate the charts.

RUTLAND
By Sean O'Grady
Small can be beautiful and here we have a miniature nation state that can trace an almost continuous heritage of administrative independence since 1159, (barring a Crimea-style annexation by Leicestershire between 1974 and 1994), making it far older than many upstarts such as San Marino or Monaco – these latter demonstrating how things could work out for our own Lilliput. Oakham and Uppingham pass for metropolises, both charming market towns. Economic viability derives from its fine farmland, nice pubs and of course Rutland Water, an extremely valuable man-made resource. Eric Idle would be the patron saint of the new state, having pioneered the idea of nationhood through the invention of Rutland Weekend Television in the 1970s, compete with the pop group the Ruttles, who stand easy comparison with their more successful Liverpudlian rivals. First prime minister could easily be diminutive government minister and local MP, Alan Duncan, truly a small fish in a small pond. As the county motto says, “much in little”.

SHROPSHIRE
By Alex Johnson
Bigger, better, older, cleverer, Shropshire is the county that doesn’t shout loudest but quietly paves the way for the rest to follow. World’s first skyscraper? That’ll be Ditherington flax mill near Shrewsbury. Birthplace of the modern Olympics? Welcome to Much Wenlock. Home to the first British parliament? Not London, but Acton Burnell. Birthplace of the Industrial Revolution? Lovely Ironbridge. Looking for proper nobility? The real King Arthur didn’t come from down south, but ruled a huge kingdom from his base in Wroxeter. Not only that, but the people are nice too.

SOMERSET
By Chris Hewett
The Somerset Separationists hold regular meetings beneath a soggy hayrick on the outskirts of Nempnett Thrubwell, fortified by hunks of finest mature Cheddar, washed down by pints of foaming Butcombe. Here, we recite from the gospel of Fawlty Towers (John Cleese was born in Weston-super-Mare) while re-enacting the glorious battles of the English Civil War, during which the county distinguished itself with a right-thinking commitment to the Roundhead cause (unlike the forelock-tugging Cornish, it is only fair and reasonable to point out). John Pym, defender of parliament, co-author of the Grand Remonstrance, moving spirit behind the Solemn League and Covenant and leader of the early attacks on Charles I, was a local man. Our claim to nationhood rests on the following indisputable facts: we brew better than London, we party better than London, especially in Glastonbury; we play proper football – that is to say, rugby union – and we build grander dwellings, particularly in Bath. Oh yes, one other thing: the first king of all England was crowned on the site of Bath Abbey. Not that we like kings very much.

SURREY
By Matthew Champion
The county that gave the world cricket and provided the backdrop for Kazakhstan’s greatest cycling triumph is no longer the rustic backwater our London cousins may like to think. So our council seat may not even be in Surrey, and sites of historical interest such as Hampton Court and the Coronation Stone might technically be in London. Granted, our literary history is chequered; Ford Prefect actually turned out to be a Betelgeusian and not from Guildford – our largest and in fact only town – and H G Wells was so inspired by the north Surrey countryside he dedicated an entire book in the shape of The War Of The Worlds to its obliteration. Guildford itself is in jeopardy of being subsumed into the menacing-sounding Greater London Built-Up Area, with the expansion of the boroughs-upon-Thames of Richmond and Kingston an ever-present threat. This is what the Saxon-stronghold of Surrey represents, nothing less than the UK’s bulwark against the London behemoth. The only way to correct the north-south divide is to prevent the capital’s southward creep. Make Surrey the figurehead of the Home Counties Splinter Republic and watch the country’s London-centric economy rebalance.

STAFFORDSHIRE
By John Lichfield
Staffordshire has more claims to minority, separate status than almost any county. Are we the Midlands or the North? Neither, we are Staffordshire, the cultural watershed of England. We have not just one incomprehensible form of speech but two, mutually incomprehensible lingoes : North Staffs and Black Country. We produced the finest ever English footballer: Stanley Matthews. We are linked to Cornwall through china. That is, of course, pottery china, not the People’s Republic. Where would all that Cornish clay go if it didn’t go to the Potteries to be made into dinner plates and toilets?

SUFFOLK
By Rachael Allum
The great nation of Suffolk? Certainly has a ring to it, but given the lack of motorways in the county, our complete disregard of the English language and the population’s general penchant for inbreeding, it would seem we’re already functioning as an independent state. With illustrious national foodstuffs such as Branston Pickle, Bird’s custard and the fine ales produced by Greene King in such high demand globally, our economy is booming. And who needs footballing success when you have a town full of diddy people on horseback achieving sporting brilliance? Yes the houses are painted pink and there’s a general odour of sugar beet that hangs in the air, but unless you own a tractor you can’t leave anyway.

SUSSEX
By Simon Calder
When the “Europe of 100 flags” finally arrives, dissolving national frontiers in favour of natural partitions, the six martlets of Sussex will flutter proudly on the county standard. Sussex has always been a land apart. It is segregated from London’s suburban sprawl by the North Downs, yet – thanks to 75 miles of splendid shoreline – open to foreign cultures (as William the Conqueror found to his advantage). To the east, the boundary with Kent is blurred by the mysterious wilderness of Romney Marsh, while the western edge is punctuated by the city of Chichester and the glories of Goodwood. Global connectivity is ensured by the world’s busiest single-runway airport, at Gatwick. However, since the Sussex resorts of Eastbourne and Bognor are habitually the sunniest places in Britain, and exotic Brighton (pictured above) is the most Continental city in the UK, there seems little reason to stray beyond the ancient kingdom of the South Saxons.

WARWICKSHIRE
By Felicity Morse
Warwickshire gave birth to the nation’s Greatest Briton: Shakespeare. Perhaps if we’d had our own independence we wouldn’t have had our brilliant bard poached by the smoky stages of the capital and could have kept our shire’s bucolic identity. It’s not just Stratford that makes Warwickshire wonderful though. Coventry weathered the great war with the type of morale exclusive to Midlander. And then there’s Lady Godiva, the city noblewoman who rode through the streets naked to stop the oppressive taxation of the people. Would Boris do the same today?

WILTSHIRE
By Richard Hall
As far as its people are concerned, Wiltshire is already a country. We have a healthy distrust of outsiders, our own flag (a bustard against a green and white striped background) and a dialect that is incomprehensible to anyone outside of our borders. We have a national monument in Stonehenge (pictured above), a national religion in cider and a national football team in Swindon Town. Ah, come to think of it, perhaps we are better together. Richard Hall

YORKSHIRE
By Paul Bignell
Where to begin with Yorkshire’s claim to nationhood? Us Yorkshire folk have known it’s the best county for years, but had it confirmed to us only last October when Lonely Planet declared it as the Best Place in Europe and the Third Best Region in the world. Yes, I accept all the clichés – the great fish and chips in Whitby; the rugged beauty of the north York moors; the gravy sandwiches no one ever eats; the desolate Wolds of Hockney’s paintings. But let’s look to the future: cities such as Leeds and Sheffield which have been reinventing themselves quietly over the past decade. Bradford has become the world’s first Unesco City of Film and there’s a new state-of-the-art gallery in Wakefield. Add the cosy, plentiful pubs in York, the tea rooms of Harrogate the quirkiness of Hebden Bridge. Oh and there’s something about a cycling event this year.

AND… MERSEYSIDE?
By Katy Guest
With the best city (Liverpool), the most glamorous beach (Formby), the finest views of Wales, the two most mighty cathedrals and possibly, just possibly the greatest football team in England once again, Merseyside already has everything it needs to stand alone as a nation - even though apparently it’s not even a county. It even has the best jokes. “Why did the Scouse chicken cross the road softly? Because he couldn’t walk hardly.” Should it need to, Merseyside could revive the Albert Dock for imports and exports, and bring in tourists straight off the boat from New York to marvel at Penny Lane, Strawberry Fields… and Bidston Hill. (Lancashire can keep the 4,000 holes.) Merseyside even has its own national anthem, inspired by the stalls of ye olde Birkenhead market: “We three kings of Hamilton Square/ Selling knickers 2p a pair/ They’re fantastic, no elastic/ That’s why our bums are bare.”

BUT WHAT ABOUT... MIDDLESEX?
By Rob Hastings
We’ve heard plenty of reasons for London declaring self-rule: its huge population, its self-supporting economy, and its strong cultural identity. But for us Londoners living north of the Thames, making the capital independent just isn’t good enough. Travel south of the river, and we might as well be in a different land - where you have to walk miles for the Tube, and life seems strangely cut off from the hustle and bustle of the metropolis. So let’s wave goodbye to south London and draw a national boundary along the River Thames instead - reinstating the ancient county of Middlesex and making it an independent country. These days, Middlesex exists purely as a cricket team and a postal district for the likes of my family living out in Enfield. But historically, its borders included the seat of government in Westminster, the economic powerhouse of the City, and almost all the most famous sights of the capital. The old Middlesex Guildhall is now home to the Supreme Court – the highest judicial body in the land. So while some people might dismiss Middlesex as the county that doesn’t really exist, I’d argue that it has a better chance of surviving as an independent nation than any other shire in Britain. And if you won’t accept it as a county, that would effectively leave me stateless. Please don’t force me to take it to the European Court of Human Rights.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/cornwall-is-celebrating -after-being-granted-minority-status--but-what-of-other-english-counti es-claims-to-independence-9284240.html

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2014 1:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cornwall is celebrating after being granted minority status - but what of other English counties' claims to independence?

From Berkshire to Yorkshire, our writers go back to their roots...
Thursday 24 April 2014
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/cornwall-is-celebrating -after-being-granted-minority-status--but-what-of-other-english-counti es-claims-to-independence-9284240.html

By Gillian Orr

Berkshire, or the Royal County of Berkshire as we all go around calling it, is one of the oldest in the country. Not only was it the scene of many historic battles in the Civil War but, due to Eton College being located here, it means just about every Prime Minister and royal of note has stolen their first kisses and taken their earliest sips of cider in our distinguished county. But if people think Berkshire is just a place for snobs and toffs, don’t forget we are also responsible for glorious Slough, the setting for The Office. And therein lies Berkshire’s beauty. What other county can boast having such varying landmarks as Wernham Hogg Paper Company and Windsor Castle nestled within its quarters?

BUCKINGHAMSHIRE
By Lisa Markwell
Bucks should not be seen as the decorative buckle on the commuter belt, oh no. It may be home to the picturesque Chiltern Hills and have the odd bend of the Thames within its boundaries, but within it is a threatened species. It deserves minority status to protect the very important and at-risk residents of a proper home county: the gin’n’Jag set. The numbers of these creatures, who rise before dawn and hit the M40 in their company cars, to toil at management consulting all day before coming home for a stiff drink and a glance at the Telegraph crossword, are dwindling. But it is they who keep Buckinghamshire’s wine bars in business, the golf clubs ticking over, and the personal trainers (who Mrs G’n’J utilises between school drop off and teeth-whitening sessions) busy. We want them to keep going for ever, like Bucks’ other attractions – Bekonscot, the model village that has barely changed since it opened in 1929 – and the grammar schools that still proliferate. We can’t expect Pinewood Studios to be our only calling card (although, in fairness, it is more glamorous than the other residents the county accommodates – Noel Gallagher and Jamiroquai among others). And apologies if we are now sounding needy, but our minority status is only cemented by being the county that nearly, but not quite, includes such luminary addresses as Silverstone, Bletchley, Windsor… I could go on. Even Slough (of “Come Friendly Bombs” fame) is just over the border.

CAMBRIDGESHIRE
By Chloe Hamilton
When you think about it, Cambridgeshire already has minority status. We have our own sport (apparently they punt in Oxford, too, but at the wrong end of the boat), our own language (A keeping room? Anyone? Yep, that’s right, it’s a fancy word for living room) and even our very own, very glamorous Duke and Duchess. To hell with leeks, soda bread, haggis and pasties, our national food is the delectable Fitzbillies Chelsea bun or, for the very brave, boiled sausages in milk. We also make most of our money selling cheap tat to tourists, like any good principality should. If minority status was granted, our head of state, some library eccentric, would ride around town on his bike admonishing students for not wearing their gowns, and enforce incongruous laws such as holding May Balls in June rather than May. In fact, I think the government should go right ahead and make Cambridgeshire the country it quite clearly is. Anything to get one up on The Other Place.

CHESHIRE
By Alistair Dawber
There isn’t much support in Chester, Warrington, Knutsford and Crewe for the Peoples’ Popular Front for the Liberation of Cheshire (PPFLC), but perhaps there should be. Much like Scotland argues in the context of its oil, there’s so much money swimming around (footballers in the north of the county, farmers in the south) that Cheshire must surely be better off keeping its cash rather than transferring it elsewhere. It has its own mining industry (salt – or at least it used to), and huge revenues could be generated by taxing all the trains that come up the West Coast Mainline and to on to various places from Crewe station. Don’t be surprised if support for the PPFLC soars in the years to come.

CUMBRIA
By Chris Blackhurst
If any county is deserving of separate status it is Cumbria. Britain’s loveliest and prettiest, home of Beatrix Potter, John Ruskin and William Wordsworth, Cumbria is closer to heaven than it is to London. With the fells, lakes, and tarns of the Lake District at its core, Cumbria has no issue with identity. Bounded by the sea on one side and the majestic Eden Valley on the other it has its own dialect, cuisine, ales, customs, sports and wildlife. All it is lacking is independent governance. Where would you rather be, in the smog shuffling along in the crowds at Chelsea Flower show, or breathing in the clean, pure air at the Grasmere Sports, watching the fell running, Cumberland Wrestling and hound-trailing? Likewise, would you prefer the view from Westminster Bridge or Tarn Hows? The latter, every time.

DERBYSHIRE
By Will Gore
Picture this… Gaining independence will be only the first battle for Derbyshire; then will come the internal debate about the future of Derby itself. City-dwellers there may resent the county’s name change to Peakland and the retention of government in tourist-friendly Matlock. But when civil order reasserts itself, Peakland will become a powerhouse – its industrial heartland in the south; glorious hills and productive pasture to the north. Oatcakes and Bakewell tart will feed hungry mouths at the end of hard-working days; wells will be dressed in thanks for the county’s liberation. And should governments of little Lancashire or yapping Yorkshire, jealous of Peakland’s wonders, send their armies they will be met by sturdy uplanders atop the Dark Peak, their guns loaded with local lead. This is our dream: get out of the trough; climb the peak.

DEVON
By Sophie Robehmed
Ah, Devon, you beautiful beast. Your rolling green hills, magnificent moors and stunning, jagged coastline attracts countless visitors, migrating families and retirees, far and wide. You gave birth to literary greats, such as Samuel Taylor Coleridge (Ottery St. Mary), a leader of the British Romantic movement whose most famous poem, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, is studied, again and again, by literature students worldwide, Charles Kingsley (Exeter), whose novel, Westward Ho!, led to the north Devon town with the same name – the only place name in the British Isles that contains an exclamation mark! – and Agatha Christie (Torquay), the bestselling author of all time. Your luscious landscape also inspired the likes of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Ted Hughes, Thomas Hardy, Charles Dickens, Jane Austen and Arthur Conan Doyle (that’s right, you could forget The Hound of the Baskervilles and Sherlock-cum-Benedict Cumberbatch mania without Dartmoor). You even determined a globally recognised geological era – the Devonian period. Oh, and by the way, you (probably) also introduced the world to a cream tea and the hallowed pasty (according to discovered historic documents), maybe even clotted cream and saffron cake. So stick that in your Saint Piran’s special edition pipe and smoke it, Cornwall.

DORSET
By Mark Leftly
Finally, we Bournemouthians would have our revenge. Bournemouth was the public’s choice to be awarded city status in a 2012 competition to mark the Queen’s Diamond jubilee. Instead, the trio promoted to the top rank of urban settlements were Chelmsford (really?), Perth (Australia?) and St Asaph (not even a real place). That’s quite an insult for a town that sells 2,000 ice creams a day and discovers about as many Page 3 girls (including, I should remind Archie Bland, Hampshire’s Ms Pinder) on seven miles of golden beaches. As economically dominant of Dorset as London is of the UK, secession would see Bournemouth rightfully take its place as the world’s most chain-bar strewn capital city.

COUNTY DURHAM
By Stephen Brenkley
Land of the prince bishops, it was doing home rule long before the others thought of it. The only county of England to proclaim itself as such in its name, its coalfields fuelled the industrial revolution. It has one of the world’s great universities in the county town, one of its great museums in the singular Bowes Museum at Barnard Castle, one of the forgotten treasures of the British countryside in Teesdale, a unitary authority which tries still to believe in supplying public services, and it also provided last summer’s cricket county champions, the true yardstick of any place worthy of the name county.

ESSEX
By Simon Read
Essex is not just another county in England. It’s the oldest county still in existence, dating its roots back to at least the 6th century, and it contains Britain’s oldest recorded town in Colchester, which pre-dated the Roman invasion. Yet it’s also thoroughly modern, being at the heart of the entertainment revolution that still shapes our age today. It boasts the world’s longest pleasure pier at Southend – it’s further than a mile! It was also the birthplace of pirate radio – Caroline’s earliest broadcasts in 1964 came from a boat moored off the Essex coast. Minority status? The rest of the country is in a minority compared to Essex’s historical and contemporary pre-eminence.

HAMPSHIRE
By Archie Bland
Fine, other counties have given the world cultural figures that mean more than Lucy Pinder or Craig David or Tara Palmer-Tomkinson. (Even our greatest modern icon, Matthew Le Tissier, actually comes from the Channel Islands.) Fine, we haven’t got much in the way of local cuisine. But you can keep yer Beatles and yer pasties: Hampshire has kings. When Wessex was a nation, and the Danes were knocking on the door, all of south-west England looked to Winchester for protection. You might not know much about King Alfred beyond his cake-burning, but trust me, he knocks the Windsors into a cocked hat. Royal heritage, a top-class football team, and it’s usually quite sunny: I’m suddenly wondering why we didn’t put up border controls decades ago.

HERTFORDSHIRE
By David Connett
England at its quietest was how novelist E M Forster described Hertfordshire. The unassuming characteristics of a county experienced by most of us only through the windows of the car or train passing swiftly through on their way to London or elsewhere should not be overlooked when the question of independence is raised. More fantastical schemes have been dreamed up at Leavesden’s World of Harry Potter. Herts resident Rupert Grint as head of state, anyone? We could even change the currency to Galleons. Who would argue with fellow resident Vinnie Jones in charge of security? Others may bridle at old boy George Michael as Culture minister but a toll on every car and train passing through would soon see us in clover.

KENT
By Simon O'Hagan
I always thought my home county WAS a nation. Back in the 11th century its good citizens saw off William the Conqueror as he made his way north from Hastings, earning Kent its motto of “Invicta” (unconquered). So we’ve been separate from the rest of England for nearly 1,000 years, which is about how long it feels like Gillingham Football Club have been trying to get into the Premier League. No matter. We punch above our weight in other ways: apples, hops, oil refineries, white cliffs, high-speed rail links, and archbishops of Canterbury. And we’d have Mick Jagger’s head on our stamps.

LANCASHIRE
By Chris Maume
The seat of the Industrial Revolution, the county that made Britain great. And we still have plenty of industry to keep us going today, plus great football teams and great music – and to those who protest that Liverpool and Manchester don’t count, I contend that Lancashire’s boundaries used to encompass both those cities, and as a new nation we would seek to correct the “historical mistake”, as Mr Putin would say, of allowing them to be stolen from us in the Metropolitan Reshuffle Scandal of 1971.

LEICESTERSHIRE
By Sean O'Grady
Can we conceive of a territory with the emblem of a pork pie rampant as its symbol of nationhood? Yes, indeed, the home of the Melton Mowbray delicacy (already a protected brand under European law) has much to commend itself. The county, and the great enterprising multicultural melting pot that is Leicester at its warm heart, leads the nation in so many ways. Top sports teams in every field: rugger, cricket and now a return to premiership football; fox hunting, (nowadays mercifully without the accompanying torture of an innocent wild animal); Britain’s favourite potato crisp (Walkers); and the finest Indian restaurants and chippies you could wish for. Two fine universities, picturesque ancient villages in gently undulating countryside with wonderful names (Great Dalby, Little Dalby, Frisby-on-the-Wreake, Tur Langton, Barton in the Beans), a history of settlement back to pre-Roman times, the National Space Centre, Everards ales, Pukka Pies, the biggest John Lewis in the world, Richard III, magnificent architectural heritage and our very own miniature statue of liberty completes the compelling national case. Prime Minister Gary Lineker awaits the call.

LINCOLNSHIRE
By Dan Gledhill
When asked, “where do you come from?”, there are few better conversation killers than “Lincolnshire”. Well, if that’s your attitude… Combining a rugged north and a flat-as-a-pancake south, the land of the “Yeller Belly” boasts some of the finest beaches in Britain. It is the fair county that spawned Isaac Newton, Margaret Thatcher and Abi Titmuss. Lincoln Minster was once the tallest man-made structure in the world. There’s a straight road that goes on for seven miles. How different do we have to be before our minority status is recognised?

NORFOLK
By John Clarke
Those lucky enough to come from Norfolk always had one golden rule. “We do different.” Perhaps it’s the fact that the county’s stuck out in the North Sea, battered by winds straight from Siberia in winter but blessed by miles of golden beaches that make this county not only different but seemingly isolated from the rest of the UK. Going to Norfolk is a conscious decision. It’s not on the way to anywhere else and isn’t somewhere you can just pass through. Driving up the notoriously over-used but under-developed A11 brings you to proud city of Norwich, which boasts a Norman Cathedral, a Norman Castle and premier league football team (although that status is currently under threat). Detractors may point to Alan Partridge, but he has little to do with the true Norfolk, as Dick Van Dyke does with Cockneys. Instead, think of Nelson, a Norfolk-bred national hero, or Thomas Paine, the revolutionary who helped America towards independence – and can inspire Norfolk’s own.

NORTHUMBERLAND
By Joseph Charlton
Northumberland has always been an exceptional county. We boasted a Kingdom from 654 to 954AD, our forebears include Sting, Bryan Ferry and the Venerable Bede, and we’re no stranger to “status” awards here, either – having last year been granted “dark sky status” for the county’s exceptionally dark nights and starry skies. That bright firmament illuminates a world of wonder and spectacle underneath: rolling, heather-clad hills, two football clubs both alike in hatred for one another, and a set of the fairer sex given to a perfunctory dress-code at best, whatever the season. Minority status is clearly the next logical step for a county of such singular disposition. Besides, if Parliament doesn’t recognise our rights soon, they’ll have to compete with an independent Scotland for our affections, and who says Alex Salmond couldn’t turn out to be the annexing type? Joseph Charlton

NORTHAMPTONSHIRE
By Richard Askwith
Northamptonshire has no need of independence. Splayed across the centre of both England and (pretty much) the UK, we’re used to rubbing along happily with people from all parts. Then again, if you all want to secede from us, we’ll manage fine on our own. We’re relatively prosperous, uncrowded, rural but not chocolate-boxy, unpretentious, well-connected (by road, rail and canal), proficient in several sports, with small, slightly sleepy towns and a cultural heritage that spans the social strata, from the super-posh Spencers to John Clare, poet of the peasantry. I suppose it might be tempting, in an every-county-for-itself free-for-all, to invade Lincolnshire; but I suspect we’d think better of it. Access to the sea isn’t all it’s cracked up to be in an age of rising sea-levels. And, with everything we need in our own county, why go looking for trouble?

NOTTINGHAM
By Alex Lawson
Nottinghamshire is the county upon which Britain’s cultural pillars have been built – pubs and football. Nottingham’s natural parliament is Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, a public house dating back to 1189and widely recognised as Britain’s oldest watering hole. On the pitch, Notts County, formed in 1862, proudly boast their status as the world’s oldest professional league club while neighbours across the river Nottingham Forest have two European Cups to their name. Nottinghamshire also has a natural leader to adorn its fledgling flag. Robin Hood, the philanthropic founder of a conscientious economy, is a global hero inspiring men to wear green tights, tourists to brave Sherwood Forest and Bryan Adams to dominate the charts.

RUTLAND
By Sean O'Grady
Small can be beautiful and here we have a miniature nation state that can trace an almost continuous heritage of administrative independence since 1159, (barring a Crimea-style annexation by Leicestershire between 1974 and 1994), making it far older than many upstarts such as San Marino or Monaco – these latter demonstrating how things could work out for our own Lilliput. Oakham and Uppingham pass for metropolises, both charming market towns. Economic viability derives from its fine farmland, nice pubs and of course Rutland Water, an extremely valuable man-made resource. Eric Idle would be the patron saint of the new state, having pioneered the idea of nationhood through the invention of Rutland Weekend Television in the 1970s, compete with the pop group the Ruttles, who stand easy comparison with their more successful Liverpudlian rivals. First prime minister could easily be diminutive government minister and local MP, Alan Duncan, truly a small fish in a small pond. As the county motto says, “much in little”.

SHROPSHIRE
By Alex Johnson
Bigger, better, older, cleverer, Shropshire is the county that doesn’t shout loudest but quietly paves the way for the rest to follow. World’s first skyscraper? That’ll be Ditherington flax mill near Shrewsbury. Birthplace of the modern Olympics? Welcome to Much Wenlock. Home to the first British parliament? Not London, but Acton Burnell. Birthplace of the Industrial Revolution? Lovely Ironbridge. Looking for proper nobility? The real King Arthur didn’t come from down south, but ruled a huge kingdom from his base in Wroxeter. Not only that, but the people are nice too.

SOMERSET
By Chris Hewett
The Somerset Separationists hold regular meetings beneath a soggy hayrick on the outskirts of Nempnett Thrubwell, fortified by hunks of finest mature Cheddar, washed down by pints of foaming Butcombe. Here, we recite from the gospel of Fawlty Towers (John Cleese was born in Weston-super-Mare) while re-enacting the glorious battles of the English Civil War, during which the county distinguished itself with a right-thinking commitment to the Roundhead cause (unlike the forelock-tugging Cornish, it is only fair and reasonable to point out). John Pym, defender of parliament, co-author of the Grand Remonstrance, moving spirit behind the Solemn League and Covenant and leader of the early attacks on Charles I, was a local man. Our claim to nationhood rests on the following indisputable facts: we brew better than London, we party better than London, especially in Glastonbury; we play proper football – that is to say, rugby union – and we build grander dwellings, particularly in Bath. Oh yes, one other thing: the first king of all England was crowned on the site of Bath Abbey. Not that we like kings very much.

SURREY
By Matthew Champion
The county that gave the world cricket and provided the backdrop for Kazakhstan’s greatest cycling triumph is no longer the rustic backwater our London cousins may like to think. So our council seat may not even be in Surrey, and sites of historical interest such as Hampton Court and the Coronation Stone might technically be in London. Granted, our literary history is chequered; Ford Prefect actually turned out to be a Betelgeusian and not from Guildford – our largest and in fact only town – and H G Wells was so inspired by the north Surrey countryside he dedicated an entire book in the shape of The War Of The Worlds to its obliteration. Guildford itself is in jeopardy of being subsumed into the menacing-sounding Greater London Built-Up Area, with the expansion of the boroughs-upon-Thames of Richmond and Kingston an ever-present threat. This is what the Saxon-stronghold of Surrey represents, nothing less than the UK’s bulwark against the London behemoth. The only way to correct the north-south divide is to prevent the capital’s southward creep. Make Surrey the figurehead of the Home Counties Splinter Republic and watch the country’s London-centric economy rebalance.

STAFFORDSHIRE
By John Lichfield
Staffordshire has more claims to minority, separate status than almost any county. Are we the Midlands or the North? Neither, we are Staffordshire, the cultural watershed of England. We have not just one incomprehensible form of speech but two, mutually incomprehensible lingoes : North Staffs and Black Country. We produced the finest ever English footballer: Stanley Matthews. We are linked to Cornwall through china. That is, of course, pottery china, not the People’s Republic. Where would all that Cornish clay go if it didn’t go to the Potteries to be made into dinner plates and toilets?

SUFFOLK
By Rachael Allum
The great nation of Suffolk? Certainly has a ring to it, but given the lack of motorways in the county, our complete disregard of the English language and the population’s general penchant for inbreeding, it would seem we’re already functioning as an independent state. With illustrious national foodstuffs such as Branston Pickle, Bird’s custard and the fine ales produced by Greene King in such high demand globally, our economy is booming. And who needs footballing success when you have a town full of diddy people on horseback achieving sporting brilliance? Yes the houses are painted pink and there’s a general odour of sugar beet that hangs in the air, but unless you own a tractor you can’t leave anyway.

SUSSEX
By Simon Calder
When the “Europe of 100 flags” finally arrives, dissolving national frontiers in favour of natural partitions, the six martlets of Sussex will flutter proudly on the county standard. Sussex has always been a land apart. It is segregated from London’s suburban sprawl by the North Downs, yet – thanks to 75 miles of splendid shoreline – open to foreign cultures (as William the Conqueror found to his advantage). To the east, the boundary with Kent is blurred by the mysterious wilderness of Romney Marsh, while the western edge is punctuated by the city of Chichester and the glories of Goodwood. Global connectivity is ensured by the world’s busiest single-runway airport, at Gatwick. However, since the Sussex resorts of Eastbourne and Bognor are habitually the sunniest places in Britain, and exotic Brighton (pictured above) is the most Continental city in the UK, there seems little reason to stray beyond the ancient kingdom of the South Saxons.

WARWICKSHIRE
By Felicity Morse
Warwickshire gave birth to the nation’s Greatest Briton: Shakespeare. Perhaps if we’d had our own independence we wouldn’t have had our brilliant bard poached by the smoky stages of the capital and could have kept our shire’s bucolic identity. It’s not just Stratford that makes Warwickshire wonderful though. Coventry weathered the great war with the type of morale exclusive to Midlander. And then there’s Lady Godiva, the city noblewoman who rode through the streets naked to stop the oppressive taxation of the people. Would Boris do the same today?

WILTSHIRE
By Richard Hall
As far as its people are concerned, Wiltshire is already a country. We have a healthy distrust of outsiders, our own flag (a bustard against a green and white striped background) and a dialect that is incomprehensible to anyone outside of our borders. We have a national monument in Stonehenge (pictured above), a national religion in cider and a national football team in Swindon Town. Ah, come to think of it, perhaps we are better together. Richard Hall

YORKSHIRE
By Paul Bignell
Where to begin with Yorkshire’s claim to nationhood? Us Yorkshire folk have known it’s the best county for years, but had it confirmed to us only last October when Lonely Planet declared it as the Best Place in Europe and the Third Best Region in the world. Yes, I accept all the clichés – the great fish and chips in Whitby; the rugged beauty of the north York moors; the gravy sandwiches no one ever eats; the desolate Wolds of Hockney’s paintings. But let’s look to the future: cities such as Leeds and Sheffield which have been reinventing themselves quietly over the past decade. Bradford has become the world’s first Unesco City of Film and there’s a new state-of-the-art gallery in Wakefield. Add the cosy, plentiful pubs in York, the tea rooms of Harrogate the quirkiness of Hebden Bridge. Oh and there’s something about a cycling event this year.

AND… MERSEYSIDE?
By Katy Guest
With the best city (Liverpool), the most glamorous beach (Formby), the finest views of Wales, the two most mighty cathedrals and possibly, just possibly the greatest football team in England once again, Merseyside already has everything it needs to stand alone as a nation - even though apparently it’s not even a county. It even has the best jokes. “Why did the Scouse chicken cross the road softly? Because he couldn’t walk hardly.” Should it need to, Merseyside could revive the Albert Dock for imports and exports, and bring in tourists straight off the boat from New York to marvel at Penny Lane, Strawberry Fields… and Bidston Hill. (Lancashire can keep the 4,000 holes.) Merseyside even has its own national anthem, inspired by the stalls of ye olde Birkenhead market: “We three kings of Hamilton Square/ Selling knickers 2p a pair/ They’re fantastic, no elastic/ That’s why our bums are bare.”

BUT WHAT ABOUT... MIDDLESEX?
By Rob Hastings
We’ve heard plenty of reasons for London declaring self-rule: its huge population, its self-supporting economy, and its strong cultural identity. But for us Londoners living north of the Thames, making the capital independent just isn’t good enough. Travel south of the river, and we might as well be in a different land - where you have to walk miles for the Tube, and life seems strangely cut off from the hustle and bustle of the metropolis. So let’s wave goodbye to south London and draw a national boundary along the River Thames instead - reinstating the ancient county of Middlesex and making it an independent country. These days, Middlesex exists purely as a cricket team and a postal district for the likes of my family living out in Enfield. But historically, its borders included the seat of government in Westminster, the economic powerhouse of the City, and almost all the most famous sights of the capital. The old Middlesex Guildhall is now home to the Supreme Court – the highest judicial body in the land. So while some people might dismiss Middlesex as the county that doesn’t really exist, I’d argue that it has a better chance of surviving as an independent nation than any other shire in Britain. And if you won’t accept it as a county, that would effectively leave me stateless. Please don’t force me to take it to the European Court of Human Rights.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/cornwall-is-celebrating -after-being-granted-minority-status--but-what-of-other-english-counti es-claims-to-independence-9284240.html

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2014 2:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Northumberland can claim Bryan Ferry and the Venerable Bede? Since when were Washington and Jarrow north of the Tyne? Please don't confuse Northumbria (basically Yorkshire and Durham) with Northumberland, a modern wasteland north of the Tyne.

Quote:
two football clubs both alike in hatred for one another


Newcastle United and Newcastle United reserves perhaps?
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2017 12:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Meddling Emmanuel Macron wades into Catalonia independence row

THE French President Emmanuel Macron has waded into the increasingly tense debate over Catalonia’s independence referendum, saying he is confident Spain’s Prime Minister could defend the interests of Spain.
https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/860835/Catalonia-referendum-Emman uel-Macron-EU-serenity-Carles-Puigdemont

By JON ROGERS
PUBLISHED: 18:48, Sat, Sep 30, 2017 | UPDATED: 22:17, Sat, Sep 30, 2017

Emmanuel Macron, speaking at a press conference after an EU summit in Tallinn, Estonia, called for “serenity” on the issue which is causing huge divisions in Spain.

Catalonia has repeatedly defied orders from the central government in Madrid, saying they will go ahead with the referendum despite Madrid ruling the vote is unconstitutional and so illegal.

The French President appeared to back the central government in Madrid and the conservative administration led by the Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.

Mr Macron said: “I have confidence in his determination to defend the interests of all of Spain.”

He added he saw Spain as a “partner” of France and Mr Macron went on to praise his counterpart in Spain, saying: "He manages as well as possible Spain's internal affairs.”

Mr Macron said: "My principle is simple, we cannot give lessons between member-states.

Pro-Independence Associations called for a meeting in front of the Catalan High Court building demanding release of the 14 officials arrested yesterday during a Spanish Police operation in an attempt to stop the region's independence referendum, due to take place on October 1, which has been deemed illegal by the Spanish government in Madrid

Protesters stand next to a Spanish civil guard patrol car damaged by protesters outside the Catalan region's economy ministry building during a raid by Spanish police on government offices, in Barcelona
"Dialogue and serenity are always needed in a country's political life.”

While the French President waded in on the issue the European Union has kept suspiciously quiet on the matter - but has admitted if Catalonia gains independence it will no longer be part of the bloc. Meanwhile, the mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, called on the European Commission to open a mediation space for the Spanish and Catalan governments to talk.

Carles Puigdemont, Catalan president, said the EU was “turning its back” on Catalonia in the face of oppression from Madrid insisting he will make an “appeal for the European community” to get involved next week.

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Trustworthy Freedom Fighter
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2017 2:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bit of decent reporting from the Independent:
‘The scale of repression over Catalonia is exposing the crisis of the Spanish state’:
http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/catalan-independence-referendum-se lf-determination-separatist-spain-government-unpopular-region-a7959286 .html

‘….Significantly, this legal overreach hasn’t been limited to Catalonia, and nor has the popular response to it. Judges in Madrid and Bilbao have ruled public debates on the Catalan question illegal. While both events eventually went ahead despite the court suspensions, the apparent attempt to use criminal law to suppress political expression recalls some of the darkest moments of Spain’s recent history.
The scale of state repression in Catalonia and its extension to the rest of Spain mark a significant shift in the ongoing dispute over the national question. The conflict is less and less about competing conceptions of democracy and increasingly about the defence of the basic rights like freedom of assembly, speech and the press…..’

‘….Is this a revolt with a national current? Undoubtedly. But there is something else going on, too. Wednesday’s rallies were not the highly organised, disciplined affairs that characterise the annual demonstrations of the independence movement. Their spirit owed something to the anti-establishment “indignados” movement that occupied the squares of Spain’s major cities in May 2011 and politicised a generation.
Protesters alternated between collective renditions of the Catalan national anthem, “Els Segadors” and the libertarian and anti-fascist chants of “the streets will always be ours” and “no passaran”. As night fell, the air was filled with the sound of people banging pots from their balconies in protest, even in neighbourhoods where support for independence is relatively low. Elsewhere in Spain, emergency solidarity protests were held in more than 20 cities, using the hashtag #CataluñaNoEstásSola, “Catalonia, you’re not alone”……’

Hopefully, Rajoy & Co. have bitten off a lot more than they can chew. This is NOT limited to Catalonia.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 4:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Madrid's Fascists strut their stuff:
'Cara al Sol y saludos fascistas en la concentración "unionista" de Madrid':
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=POd8w4WrSqM

'Cara al Sol': https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cara_al_Sol

'Spanish anti-separatists in Madrid protest with fascist arm salutes while singing far-right song':
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/catalonia-independence- referendum-polls-open-vote-protests-barcelona-madrid-police-guardia-ci vil-a7976791.html

Has anyone heard of any howls of protest from the EU, or America, or Israel, about this brazen show of Fascism in the Capital City of a European country?

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2017 3:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

#Rajoy just suspended #Catalonia's parliament http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/catalonia-referendum-in dependence-spain-parliament-suspends-court-vote-latest-news-updates-a7 984741.html
He controls courts, suspended hostile judges https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2013/02/06/spai-f06.html

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'Suppression of truth, human spirit and the holy chord of justice never works long-term. Something the suppressors never get.' David Southwell
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2017 10:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That he should be banned for investigating the sort of corruption that brought the country's indignados, or indignant ones, on to the streets in protest last year only added insult to the injury felt by some. The guilty verdict against Garzón, they pointed out, made him one of the first people to be punished in the long-running Gürtel case involving corruption in the PP regional governments of Valencia and Madrid.
The case alleges public money was siphoned off by PP politicians and crooked businessmen during, among numerous other cases, a visit to Spain by Pope Benedict. "Garzón has become the first victim of the Gürtel clan," the Garzón solidarity group, which called Thursday's protests, said.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/feb/09/spain-judge-baltasar-gar zon-suspended

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 15, 2017 4:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Spain’s internet censorship during Catalonian referendum was completely unjustified
ELECTRONIC FRONTIER FOUNDATION OCTOBER 2, 2017 8:31 PM
https://venturebeat.com/2017/10/02/spains-internet-censorship-during-c atalonian-referendum-was-completely-unjustified/

The ruthless efficiency with which the Spanish government censored the Internet ahead of the referendum on Catalonian independence foreshadowed the severity of its crackdown at polling places on October 1. We have previously written about one aspect of that censorship; the raid of the .cat top-level domain registry. But there was much more to it than that, and many of the more than 140 censored domains and Internet services continue to be blocked today.

It began with the seizure of the referendum.cat domain, the official referendum website, on September 13 by the Guardia Civil (Spanish military police), pursuant to a warrant issued by the Supreme Court of Catalonia. Over the ensuring days this order was soon extended to a number of other and unofficial mirrors of the website, such as ref1oct.cat, ref1oct.eu, which were seized if they were hosted at a .cat domain, and blocked by ISPs if they were not. (The fact that Spanish ISPs already blocked websites such as the Pirate Bay under court order enabled the blocking of additional websites to be rolled out swiftly.)

One of these subsequent censorship orders, issued on September 23, was especially notable in that it empowered the Guardia Civil to block not only a list of named websites, but also any future sites with content related to content about the referendum, publicized on any social network by a member of the Catalonian Government. This order accelerated the blocking of further websites without any further court order. These apparently included the censorship of non-partisan citizen collectives (e.g. empaperem.cat) and other non-profit organizations (assemblea.cat, webdelsi.cat, alerta.cat), and campaign websites by legal political parties (prenpartit.cat).

On Friday a separate court order was obtained requiring Google to remove a voting app from the Google Play app store. Similar to the September 23 order, the order also required Google to remove any other apps developed by the same developer. Those violating such orders by setting up mirrors, reverse proxies, or alternative domains for blocked content were summoned to court and face criminal charges. One of these activists also had his GitHub and Google accounts seized.

Needless to say, even if the blocking of electoral information pursuant to these court orders was legitimate and proportionate (we don’t believe it was), it was inevitable that the orders would result in overblocking and censorship of lawful content. An example of this was the blocking of the domain gateway.ipfs.io. This domain is the main webserver for the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS), an experimental Internet protocol for distributed storage of information. Although some information on the October 1 referendum was hosted on this distributed filesystem, this was a tiny proportion of the information that was blocked. Closer to home, on the day of the referendum itself, the Internet was shut down at polling places in an effort to prevent votes from being transmitted to returning officers.

Throughout this unrest, a group of activists sharing the Twitter account @censura1oct has been verifying the blocks from multiple ISPs, and sharing information about the technical measures used. All of the censorship measures that were put in place in the leadup to the referendum appear to remain in place today, though we don’t know for how much longer. The Spanish government no doubt hopes that its repression of political speech in Catalonia will be forgotten if the censored sites come back online quickly. We need to ensure that that isn’t the case.

With an exceptionally narrow range of exceptions, Government censorship of the Internet is prohibited by Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and by Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, both of which guarantee everyone’s right to receive and impart information and ideas regardless of frontiers. The Spanish government’s censorship of online speech during the Catalonian referendum period is so wildly disproportionate and overbroad, that its violation of these instruments seems almost beyond dispute.

This story originally appeared on the EFF’s blog.

_________________
--
'Suppression of truth, human spirit and the holy chord of justice never works long-term. Something the suppressors never get.' David Southwell
http://aangirfan.blogspot.com
http://aanirfan.blogspot.com
Martin Van Creveld: Let me quote General Moshe Dayan: "Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother."
Martin Van Creveld: I'll quote Henry Kissinger: "In campaigns like this the antiterror forces lose, because they don't win, and the rebels win by not losing."
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