Friday, January 25, 2013

New Wessex, New World

Our attention was recently drawn to a couple of very interesting links.

The first link is to a blog that asks of Mebyon Kernow why it has a view on anything more than the internal affairs of Cornwall:

“…the MK manifesto is littered with ‘policies’ relating to national and global issues over which the party will never have any influence. It starts with MK’s ‘mission statement’: ‘Mebyon Kernow is a modern and progressive political party, campaigning for a better deal for Cornwall and a fairer, more equitable World.’ It was all looking good right up to those last six words. I’m sure many of us share their desire for a ‘fairer, more equitable World’ but in that quest, wouldn’t you be better off supporting organisations like Oxfam or the UNHCR? They are probably in a better position to deliver it than Mebyon Kernow.”

It’s a fair question and one that we too need to ask ourselves from time to time.

Strategically, there are two sound answers to the question. One is that a party whose long-term aims include having its own MPs at Westminster must be willing to engage with the full range of political issues, regardless of how much influence it currently wields. Or else lose votes to other parties that are willing. The other is that in a globalised world we must be alert to the indirect consequences that globalisation has for us, even as we do our bit to put globalisation into reverse. Another, tactical answer is that nationalist and regionalist parties have deliberately emphasised their outward-looking stance in order to refute allegations of chauvinism, isolationism and racism. Unionists and centralists fling such mud routinely, even though it would stick far more readily to themselves.

We believe that Wessex has the right to as much self-government as it wishes. We don’t think that would ever extend to independence but it’s not for us to say what future generations may think. As regionalists we’re comfortable with the idea that some wider decisions may best be made collectively, so long as we believe that it’s in our interests for this to be so. It’s not the case then that Wessex – or Cornwall for that matter – can only have a political movement that debates dog bins and bus shelters, and little more. Our voice has been silenced too long for us to allow others simply to assume that they have the right to speak on our behalf in the UK, the EU, or the UN. It’s our job to speak up for ourselves on every issue and to relate it back to our core beliefs.

Can the Wessex tail wag the world dog? Obviously not, but we can align ourselves with wider causes that benefit us, that help spread the values of political, economic and cultural decentralisation.

One such is the idea of the optimised, steady-state economy, which we have mentioned before, and which is the subject of the second link. The table there is a real call to action for those dissatisfied with the status quo. We need to take the crisis element out of economics, because – don’t panic – as everyone from Orwell in Nineteen Eighty-Four to Klein in The Shock Doctrine has indicated, the engineering of perpetual crisis is how social control is maintained.

Ultimately, however, we must not lose sight of our primary goal. It is very easy to be taken in by those who insist that everyone, everywhere, has to sink their particularisms in a unified campaign to topple the global power elite. And do we get our particularisms back afterwards? Not if history is any guide.

So there’s a balance to be struck between putting Wessex first and acknowledging the impact the wider context has. Between minding our own business (as much as possible) and showing solidarity (where we can be sure our understanding and empathy really are well-directed). Thinking globally, acting locally, but above all planning (and organising) regionally. Wessex: 95% of the effort, all the other causes: 5%. That sounds about right. But we do need to add that spice to life, if only to have the tools with which to paint a picture of a better Wessex than the one we inhabit today.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Give Fair Play A Chance

The Electoral Commission could be a small, well-managed organisation that looks after that tiny number of things that may, perhaps, best be done centrally if we're to have something approaching democratic elections. An organisation that lets local administrators get on with their jobs and doesn't try to micro-manage processes that constitutionally don't belong to it.

Instead, it's a bloated bureaucracy that cost £86 million to run in 2011/12. That’s a 258.3% increase on the previous year. The Commission is chaired by a career mischief-maker, Jenny Watson, paid £100,000 for a three-day week.

We’ve already expressed our concerns about the Commission’s management, and others have done likewise. This month we had another chance to do so. The Commission, obviously worried by the justifiable criticisms assailing it, has launched a review of electoral fraud and invited our comments. Here’s what we told Mark Williams, the Commission's Electoral Policy Manager:

“Dear Mr Williams

I refer to Jenny Watson's letter dated 11 December 2012. Her fourth paragraph states that ‘We are currently monitoring activity in advance of the November 2012 Police and Crime Commissioner elections’. The closing sentence states that the letter was approved by the Chair, so the mismatch of dates does call into question her competence.

The Wessex Regionalist Party is pleased to have been consulted by the Commission on the subject of electoral fraud. We offer the following comments:

1. We note the evidence quoted that public trust in the fairness of elections is poor. The Commission's published 'Vision' includes the statement that ‘people should be able to trust the way our elections and our political finance system work’. This, however, is a subjective aim. It reduces to a matter of public opinion, namely that the process is trustworthy, what should be an objective basis for that trust. Significantly, no figure is given for the breadth or depth of trust that needs to exist for the Commission to be able to say that it has achieved its aim. The Commission is not interested in getting at the truth, only in tricking us into believing that there is nothing to worry about. The accuracy of an electoral process should not be a subjective matter. The process is either accurate or it is not. Allowance for any degree of inaccuracy is inexcusable.

2. A number of high-profile cases of electoral fraud have involved abuse of postal voting, especially among certain immigrant communities where different standards are seen to apply. The extension of postal voting beyond the traditionally accepted categories is inherently open to abuse and should be reversed. There is no justification for permitting postal voting except where the voter cannot attend a polling station during the hours of the poll for reasons of absence or certified incapacity. As well as its implications for fraud, extending choice for the voter comes at a cost for the taxpayer, who has to fund separate processes of issue and receipt for what are now large numbers of postal ballot papers. Postal voting is part of the cult of sloppiness promoted by the former Labour administration and needs to be severely curtailed.

3. Our firm belief is that the Commission is over-funded, abusing taxpayers' money arbitrarily to promote ill-considered changes to electoral law and practice. It has an organisational vested interest in constant upheaval, disguised as 'modernisation'. The least it can do to make amends is to recommend restoring the previous stance on postal voting that was so foolishly abandoned. The Victorians and their successors got electoral law right. It was tried, tested, and above all, trusted, for generations. 'Reform' has destroyed that trust.

Yours faithfully

David Robins
Wessex Regionalist Party”

London and the English

The place and the people are the subject of a recent on-line article by Professor Eric Kaufmann analysing what the 2011 Census says about national identity. It reveals wide variation in identification across England, with Englishness concentrated, perhaps paradoxically, in the Danelaw (and some additional coastal retirement zones, mainly in Wessex).  Areas around the Humber and Thames estuaries not only identify strongly as English but have supplied the English Democrats with many of their best election results.

Also evident from the first map is the outer-outer London ‘hot belt’ from Southampton and Brighton through to Peterborough and Cambridge, ‘home’ in part to a rootless population of consumers for whom any territorial identity is passé.  It's an attitude against which we continue to battle.  Professor Kaufmann’s second map illustrates the attraction of the M4 corridor for those of Celtic origin.

Wessex overall is shown to occupy a mid-position, with an English majority in all areas, Oxford and Reading aside, but neither staunchly embracing an English identity nor staunchly rejecting it.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Regrets: A Few

In Pakistan, the Supreme Court has ordered the arrest of the Prime Minister on corruption charges. Our own top politicians could do with being arrested, to face far more serious allegations of disturbing the peace of the world.

And not just the politicians. One of the questions we continue to pose is ‘do we or do we not have an environmental crisis?’ If we don’t, then it’s business as usual. If we do, then the City of London needs to be shut down at once and everyone from the Chancellor of the Exchequer to the Governor of the Bank of England should be in jail awaiting trial for ecocide.

In the midst of the fake ‘economic’ crisis we’re told to worship the wealth creators who’ll see us through. But that would be sloppy accounting, the oxymoronic ‘sustainable development’. You cannot generate additional wealth without deducting resources from nature. It’s a relentlessly double-entry system. The wealth creators are also the nature destroyers.

And they’re in charge. Non-commercial values are being systematically sidelined. One example of that has emerged from the Coalition’s efforts to dismantle the previous administration’s efforts at regional planning. We hold no brief for the Regional Strategies for the ‘South West’ and ‘South East’. Not only was the geography hopelessly wrong but the unelected regional assemblies set up by Blair to draft these plans were abolished by Brown because – can you believe it? – they took too balanced a view. Brown wanted growth über alles. None of that cuddly stuff. But in rejecting the Regional Strategies, the Coalition has done more than take a wrong turn away from a more democratic regional solution.

Just what it has done is apparent from the Strategic Environmental Assessment reports it has commissioned to investigate the consequences of abolishing the eight Regional Strategies outside London. AMEC, the consultants preparing the documentation for the ‘South West’, make plain what these consequences are. Localism is no barrier to growth, provided the right incentives (bribes like the New Homes Bonus) are in place. What is lost in scrapping the regional tier is everything else:

“A number of issues are arguably more efficiently and effectively addressed across wider areas than local authority boundaries, in particular major infrastructure provision, biodiversity planning, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and renewable energy. Whilst the duty to co-operate in principle and practice could well address a wide range of strategic issues, there is uncertainty as to how this might work in the short term, both by topic and geographically. For example, securing agreement on housing and employment levels and distribution could be easier (although not universally so) at sub-regional scales than might strategic infrastructure provision on the same or wider scale. Some issues such as renewable energy, biodiversity enhancement or landscape conservation, which typically benefit from being planned at a wider geographical scale, could be ignored or their potential not realised.”

As we feared then, the anti-regionalism of Cameron and Clegg both denies a voice to non-commercial values and hampers the process of adapting to the irreversible environmental changes that the globalists' love of money is imposing upon us all.