“Coming between elections – Eastleigh in 2013 and the General Election in 2015 – it might be thought that 2014 would be a quiet year. Far from it.
Scotland’s referendum on independence provided the pivot. Our President, Colin Bex, spent a few days in Edinburgh before, during and after the poll and made many new media and political contacts there. The Party participated as fully as we were allowed in the media reaction to the result and the subsequent debate on an English dimension to devolution. This included multiple television and radio interviews for the President and the Secretary-General. The debate has since been narrowed down and moved on. The London parties would rather discuss English-votes-for-English-laws (devolution from the centre to the centre) and city-regions and metro-mayors (shuffling the local pack of powers, not the constitutional dynamiting of Whitehall that is actually required). We continue to be active in promoting the real alternative.
Popular and media interest has continued to grow, as charted by support on Facebook and Twitter and visits to our website and blog. Throughout the year, the President and Secretary-General made use of online petition sites such as Avaaz, 38 Degrees and Change.org to lobby for Wessex and in supporting related causes to publicise the Wessex dimension.
In addition, Colin has joined marches and has participated in demonstrations on a number of high profile issues local, European and global, including against the TTIP and climate change. He also continues to contribute to the debate about the real nature of economics and money, and the need for radical reform, as the establishment worldwide entrenches austerity in shameless collusion with those responsible for the chaos that produced it.
Upon invitation of the CAMRA and the Leader of the Official Monster Raving Loony Party, Wessex son Alan 'Howling Laud' Hope, Colin has been special guest at several promotions of a number of new 'CoALEition' Ales produced in microbreweries across the region. One brew, Hope and Glory (motto ‘Insanity prevents austerity’) has been served in the House of Commons bar. These events resulted in coverage for us in 11 different newspaper and magazine articles in Somerset, Hampshire and Surrey, and we were featured in 6 of the photos used by these publications.
In November, Colin attended the Annual Conference of Mebyon Kernow – The Party for Cornwall at Truro once again, and links with other regionalists have been cultivated, in England and across a turbulent Europe.
In broader terms than just party politics, 2014 was a great year for Wessex. Following the removal in 2012 of legal constraints on flying the Wessex Wyvern, the region’s cultural association, Wessex Society, persuaded a third of the county and unitary councils in Wessex to fly the flag for St Ealdhelm’s Day (25th May). It was also unfurled by our Secretary-General, David Robins, for BBC West during their discussion programme on devolution that aired on 5th November. Our appeal to the mainstream was boosted when historian Tom Holland coined the term ‘progressive heptarchism’. This describes the imaginative approach we take to regional names and areas, in contrast to the bureaucratic compass-points still favoured by the London parties.”
The Party’s Annual General Assembly is being held today in Weston-super-Mare. Key decisions are expected to be taken on our participation in the General Election, which could see unprecedented interest in parties such as ours offering a radical decentralist alternative to the self-obsessed Westminster charade.