by Peter M Le Mare
In reading about the the proposition that Wales will have a referendum to decide if they can raise there own taxes and the Scottish Independence referendum, it occurs to me that we have outlived this strange title of this group of Islands. It isn't even a name of the land, it is a political term.
Yes! It's full term is The United Kingdom of Great Britain, Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands. Besides the recent Parliament in Scotland and the Assembly in Wales, of course, the Channel Islands have their own parliament and somehow the Isle Of Man has been forgotten in all this.
I see no reason why Scotland should not be called a separate country and actually hope that they achieve this: I believe in decentralisation. Isn't it time we called ourselves the Federation of Great Britain. Yes a federation that includes Scotland, Wales, N Ireland, Channel Islands, Isle of Man, and Cornwall (already a separate country) and Yorkshire if it wanted to, as separate autonomous bodies, with no restrictive borders.
Oh dear! That fearful word Federation! Why it is considered by much of the press as an anathema I don't real know. I think federations are better than centralised government which is able to force it's policies on people as if we were all exactly the same or more likely to benefit the very few without the ability of the majority being able to do anything real about it. There is no real alternative in the major large parties and most people for this very reason, of their felt impotency, do not have anything to do with parliamentary politics or voting.
No! Federation isn't the magic answer to achieve true democracy but it should be better and can't, I think, be worse than what we have now. Decentralisation can lead to local elected dictatorships but they are closer to the people that matter. There are I believe ways of organisation that reflects and provides the benefits to the community without forgetting the global village. Remember that saying 'Act Locally, Think Globally'.
Cornwall, of course, is a separate country with it's own law system and provision for it's own Parliament. It is declared in a written Royal Charter still in existence and written down and signed in the mid 13 hundreds. It was never a kingdom to be United and it technically never was: I do not like to put as my address the UK (computers don't allow me to any other) but GB.
By the way the Duke was the person, though, whom the Cornish related to the Norman King of England. He was as, I understand it, what we nowadays call an Ambassador. The Law called Stannary Law still resides as a division in the Court of Truro. Why can't we get back to this type autonomy which lasted centuries and why can't Wales, N Ireland, Scotland, be separate and yet in mutually beneficial federation.
I used to think when I was young that it was important to be anti royalist. Now as I have grown older I think they are mostly an irrelevance. They have no power and they cost merely few pence a year from each us to keep them in the luxury they are accustomed to. What we need to do is dismantle the power Hierarchy, centralised government, which will always promote it's own interests rather than yours and mine. There are a few very well meaning individual MP's but they will never have much of of say and will almost always get dragged into the party politicking. Even here in Cornwall where we have a Unitary Authority (incidentally not called a county) which has been against the wishes of the people, centralised and dictatorially run by a cabinet ruled by the Leader of the Council, was last year able to throw out this leader. The ordinary council members, the full council, have become merely advisory, and this is not a model that I would support. However when the cabinet, well really the leader and a couple of other cabinet members, overruled the full council, to attempt to sell off all the social services, they were able to pass a motion of no confidence in the leader. He was along with another councillor conducted out of the chamber. A small victory for the people but still something.
Life, love, peace and freedom
Peter M Le Mare