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20 September 2014


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David Habakkuk

'How would England be divided into regions?'

In general, the answer is: with great difficulty, in that it is not exactly easy to split England up into 'regions' which share any sense of common identity. Does anyone seriously think that Manchester and Liverpool share some common 'north western' regional identity? And how far do great cities like these share an identity with the countryside surrounding them?

A moot point, I think.

There is moreover, an obvious problem, relating to the position of London.

The fact that nearly a third of the population of greater London were born outside Britain is, clearly, a reflection of dotty immigration policies pursued in particular by recent Labour governments.

(On the figures, see http://www.standard.co.uk/news/onethird-of-londoners-born-outside-britain-7185769.html .)

However, there is a distinct London identity. And one of the things that brings inhabitants of the capital together is clearly a growing sense that their part of the country subsidises the rest, and that this ought to stop.

Moreover, while the attempt to make London 'multi-cultural' has clearly been pushed too far, the cosmopolitanism does have real roots. This is, emphatically, not a matter of 'English' versus others.

One can, very easily, be an Irish Londoner, or an Indian Londoner – and London has, for generations, been a place where Jewish immigrants, who felt no reason to feel nostalgic for the ghettos of Eastern Europe, thankfully surrendered the burdens of their heritage.

William R. Cumming

Actually the Scottish vote IMO will hasten the decline and fall of the UK!

The UK had one of the greatest runs in world history and now time to exit off-stage.

The exact ethnicity, demographics, and sources of wealth of those who are citizens and residents of the UK are State Secrets.

Belgrava District real estate in London indicates another financial collapse for Britain on the way.


Col. Lang,
I had to chuckle at several of your thoughts, such as "he/she/it," like we are on auto-pilot; on knowing "too much history" for your own good you must be waxing ironic in ways that most folks who have never heard of your blog would miss; and finally on the "White House" as a "bunker," I had the greatest laugh of all. I first encountered the term about 60 years ago reading and or hearing about it in regard to war and then in regard to Hitler.

By way of further background, my wife did some volunteer teaching in China in 1986-87. Her students were all products of the Cultural Revolution who were self-taught then selected to teach English based on their abilities. One of her "minders" became a friend, and we have kept in touch. We met her in Denmark in 1997 where she had a scholarship. She marveled that the Royal Palace was far more accessible than any seat of power in China in the day. "Poof" went an illusion! Her daughter is doing an IB diploma and is looking to study abroad.

Duncan Kinder

Yorkshire, Cornwall, Manchesterand other regions likewise have devolution movements:

"The Divided Kingdom: who else wants to break away from the UK?"

Particularly since the 2008 collapse, a rift has grown between London, or more precisely its financial district, which has prospered, and the rest of the country, which has not. ( How the City of London has prospered is a fascinating question. Amongst other things, it is awash with Russian oligarch money - which explains why the sanctions have not worked. )

Dating to Anglo-Saxon times, England has numerous regional variations. Chaucer, in one of his Canterbury Tales, mocks a northern accent; while George Bernard Shaw famously said 'No Englishman can open his mouth without causing another to hate or despise him." Although analytically a bit off, note that the relationship between the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, on the one hand, and their various constituent colleges, on the other, is essentially a federation.

Piotr, Poland

Funny curiosity:-)
Igor Borysov, expert from Russian State Institute on Suffrage:

"Scottish referendum didn't meet the standards", because "votes were counted in too big rooms" (Sic!)and "no one controlled where ballot boxes came from"
Oh those Russians :-)


In reply to Piotr, Poland 20 September 2014 at 04:49 PM

Oh those one trick pony Russophobic Poles who'll drag their hatred into every topic no matter how far fetched or contorted. Not realising as they do so that all they're doing is making the rest of us ever more determined to drop Poland like a hot potatoe the moment their venom and warmongering looks like succeeding. You recently objected to being called a coward. How does hate filled bigot and warmonger grab you?


Duncan Kinder

Manchester Devolution: Council bosses in negotiations with Treasury after Scottish referendum result

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Manchester Devolution: Council bosses in negotiations with Treasury after Scottish referendum result


Greater Manchester’s leaders are already locked in negotiations with the Treasury after devolution for the region took a giant stride forward in the wake of the Scottish Referendum Result

Greater Manchester’s leaders are already locked in negotiations with the Treasury after devolution for the region took a giant stride forward in the wake of the Scottish referendum result.

The MEN can reveal talks on sweeping new powers and funding are underway

Details are expected to be announced in the Autumn Statement, but one insider said the shock of the Scottish ballot - which all three main parties had been terrified of losing - could strengthen their hand to get more.

While the details of the deal, still to be agreed, remain under wraps, the M.E.N. understands town hall leaders are pushing for control over welfare and health budgets, which account for a vast swathe of our public spending. They also want the ability to keep far more of the taxes raised locally."


Well, I'm of Cornish descent.
My grandfather left Zennor when he was 16 - the choices being the mines, the Army or America.
He was NOT fond of the English, describing himself as Cornish.
When we visited Cornwall in 2001, there was a very visible "Cornishness"
I wonder if Cornwall is ready to become a federated "state?"


My heart goes out to the people of the mighty British Empire who conquered the world and then allowed the world to separate themselves from that Empire. Now my fellow commenters are quibbling about creating a separate federated state due the diverseness of individuals in common areas. Pick any State here in the old territory and you will also have the same problem but that group of many cultured people now have a new identity that most are proud of and support to make them all better people. Give it a shot you might like it.
Fortunately with an early Saturday night the two shows I care to view (Good Brit Humor) were displaced by Mr. Burns rendition of his version of FDR and surrounding history. Good thing Rick Perry is not into this movie making stuff as we then would provided mandatory viewing a f his non evolutionary theory. I believe Mr. Burns has done his country proud something I cannot say for Mr. Perry.
Oh, when it comes to Football the only difference between our countries is that the Americans do not take to the field for the weekend slugfest.
The Queen, one I always stand for in awe.

Duncan Kinder

Campaigners for Cornish devolution determined to win more powers for Cornwall


"Cornish party Mebyon Kernow is fighting for the creation of a National Assembly for Cornwall.

Its leader, Councillor Dick Cole, challenged David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband to support the creation of an Assembly and called for a "mature" debate on the future of the UK.

He said: "Mebyon Kernow wishes to repeat its call for a mature, respectful and wide-ranging debate about the future of the whole of the UK, all its constituent parts and how they are governed - with Cornwall at the heart of that debate.

"The people of Scotland did not vote for independence, but the No vote was underpinned by promises of additional powers for the Scottish Parliament from David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg."


David Habakkuk: "one of the things that brings inhabitants of the capital together is clearly a growing sense that their part of the country subsidises the rest, and that this ought to stop."
- Yes, but unfortunately this growing sense is nonsensical. London and the Home Counties are doing well economically simply because they have been the near-exclusive beneficiaries of UK economic policy since 1979. Since then, Britain has sold off to foreign interests almost the entirety of its productive industry and mining capacity. Unsurprisingly, this process resulted in the simulatenous impoverishment of those that manufacture and extract - in the North, Wales, and Scotland- and enrichment of those that broker the sell-offs - banks, accounting and law firms, corporate HQs, etc. At the same time, as you mention, the idiotic New Labour immigration policy opened the doors to any European, Russian, Chinese, Arab, etc with some money to take advantage of the "London Dream," and do so tax-free and without any requirement of assimilating. These "Londoners" are not the Asian or Irish Londoners of the past. Whether by design or by accident, all this has been championed and enabled by the MPs and the media, all of whom live in London, identify with London, and are tied to the continuing consolidation of wealth and power in London.

Personally, I love London as a city. Who doesn't! But I find London today to be a grotesque place, full of overpaid mediocrities who feel aggrieved at "flyover" Britain yet produce little for the benefit of their own country. I much prefer spending time in or working with people in Manchester, Bristol, or Birmingham - or Glasgow or Dundee.

My feeling is if Londoners and the Home Counties are really so aggrieved, maybe it's them who should secede from the UK? I think that would make everyone happy.


"but today the media are criticising them for not having killed this man."

Because in their eyes what they see is a George Zimmerman trying to kill their boy child pharaoh sitting on his much deserved imperial throne where he holds his Nobel peace prize orbe in one hand and his golden sceptre tipped with the Purple Assed Mandrill of Peace on the other.

Regarding how England could be divided into regions, they could, perhaps, reenact the Battle of Epping Forest, this time with all England regional blackcap barons and their gangs, and see how the score was settle at the comming of the morning goo.



Col Lang,

I don't think federalism in the UK is realistic. However, a more "localized" UK would work well.

On the federalism question, the asymmetries are too great between England, Scotland, Wales, and NI to simply federate along national lines. England dwarfs the other countries so having a separate parliament for England would be essentially an expensive redundancy of Westminster. The "West Lothian question" is a valid one, but not easily solved within Westminster, as it would pervert the character of Parliament as the legislative body for the entire UK (one can't serve two Masters - England and the UK).

It's also not possible to just divide England up into regional units, for the reasons David Habbukuk brings up. It just won't work, and also the English in both the south and the north have been very clear that they want neither an England-only parliament nor regional assemblies.

The best alternative I think is to substantially devolve power in the UK to the council level, i.e. let local councils have control over issues of social welfare, government services, policing, schools, etc, and reserve issues of national importance (military, foreign policy, strategic economic policy, etc) to Westminster. Right now Westminster literally sets the trash collection policies for Liverpool. Such devolution to localities would be the only way I think for regional difference to be accounted for properly across Britain. Further proof that it would work is that this was actually the basic system until the 1980s, when Thatcher centralized power in London, mostly in order to break the Labour party which had tremendous political power at the local level and controlled politically many if not most councils. If this was done, there would probably have to be a switch back to "rates" (property tax) from council tax (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Community_Charge). This may also necessitate reforms in the NHS, which would likely need to devolve power within itself to the local NHS offices. It would also require some sort of agreed-upon method for allocating resources to localities that needed more funds than it could rase. The negotiations for such a formula would be brutal, but the Brits love to come up with formulas like this (Barnett formula, etc).

It's worth remembering that there was very little Scottish or Welsh nationalism before Thatcher. This was not because the Scots and the Welsh are all bleeding heart socialists who just hate Tories. It's because she radically centralized the UK and put the regions on a collision course with London. The collision is starting to happen everywhere in the UK. The Scots, because of their historical and geographic difference, were just able to manifest it through the independence campaign. It will manifest itself differently elsewhere.



Azov Battalion is still taking recruits. Go grab a rifle instead of shitting up topics.


The British couldn't get off their asses to burn out the paki trash in Rotherham that was busy raping young English girls, and the local political structure that supported them. I'd be surprised if something like home rule would appeal to them.


Centralized control of everything is on the wane. Policy and decision making at the highest level for every single thing has proven to be heavy handed and infuriating. It is happening in business also. People are just sick of it all. The Peter principle has played out. Average schmucks know they could do better than the current elites who want to dictate every aspect of human existence. It is essentially an Enough Already movement.


Tyler, I wouldn't put it quite so colorfully, but you have a point there. English society is dying, and London profits from it. I don't think something like Rotherham could happen in Scotland, though. Political correctness is not one of their flaws, to put it mildly (see Frankie Boyle, e.g.). The Scots still have their moxie and aren't afraid to use it. And looking at the election results, had it not been for retirees, they would have their own country too.

For everyone else, this is the unimaginally shameful mass rape case Tyler is referring to:

Cold War Zoomie

Hi David,

Speaking of London...while living in Bedfordshire from 1986-88, I never felt London was a separate entity from the rest of England on my frequent visits all over the city. By the mid-1990s, central London had started taking on a generic global city look and feel so I started telling friends and family to venture out of central London if they want to see the "real" England. My initial thought on my last visit to central London and the West End in 2010 was this is not the England that greeted me 24 years earlier. I stopped by one of my old haunts on a side street off Haymarket and they did not know how to pull a pint of Charles Wells Bombardier!

Here's my view of the UK regions:
1. Central & West End London;
2. East End and South London plus Essex;
3. The South and Southeast (Southampton to Dover);
4. The Southwest and West;
5. Wales;
6. All the shire counties just north of London plus the midlands (Birmingham, Coventry, Nottingham, etc.);
7. East Coast "Folks" north of London (Ipswich, Norwich, Boston, etc.);
8. Northeast Coast from Bridlington to Hartlepoole;
9. North Central (Manchester, Sheffield, Liverpool, Leeds, York, etc.)
10. Northwest Coast (Liverpool, Blackpool, Lancaster, etc.);
11. The borders and Lake District (Newcastle, Carlisle);
12. Southeastern Scotland under Edinburgh's influence;
13. North Scotland from Dundee on up;
14. Southwestern Scotland under Glasgow's influence;
15. Northern Ireland.

This list is based on my gut feeling just from living there. Come to think of it, though, my list follows my memory of the different accents I expect to hear in these places. Hmmm.


WRC: sanctioning the Russians was financial suicide for The City.


Tyler: The Polish President opined that the Russian Federation should be stripped of its UN veto.

Do the Poles never tire of being utterly wrong?


Piotr, Dubhaltach, Tyler,

I could actually understand where knee-jerk hostility of Poles to Russia comes from, having grown up seeing it from Koreans to the Japanese...

But, Dubhaltach is right: in the end, the hostility is pointless and counterproductive. While the Russian objection to the Scottish vote might seem silly, I've seen worse from American lawyers and activists in some disputed elections (both abroad and actually in US!). In the end, Russia and Russians will always be Poland's neighbors and one can't treat them as enemies forever and expect to live in peace.

Richard Armstrong


"Go grab a rifle" - no surprise there.

"instead of shitting up topics." - ironic advice given that is exactly what your post does.

Guns and unaware irony. Unexpected?

One may truly marvel.

Richard Armstrong


Your post is quite sadly but not surprisingly off topic.

Brown vs. white. Abusive use of a hateful racial term. Race, race, race! How unexpected!

Both Asian (Pakistani) and white (Native British) men committed these crimes and have been prosecuted and convicted.

As for "burn out" that's a pretty violent term and not unexpected. I will point out that members of the local governments of the area have removed from office with ignominy and governmental departments have either been reorganized or disbanded.

Facts, facts, damnable facts.

different clue

Piotr, Poland,

It is not good to be so anti-russianitic. I remember reading somewhere (wish I could remember where) that one of the things the SRA troops found in Poland after they took it were various storage sites for Zyklon B gas-crystals. The Polish Jews had been pretty much all killed off by then, so who was all that Zyklon B still being stored for? I read they estimated that there was about 26 million doses-worth of Zyklon B and that there were about 26 million Polish Poles still alive in Poland at the time of Soviet Liberation.

26 million doses. 26 million Poles. Hmmmm..
If what I read was correct and actually happened and was actually found, rather than being just a hoax; then you and every other Polish Pole living today should be grateful to Stalin and the USSR for saving you from a Nazi Holocaust of the Poles - - planned, supplied and ready to roll out.

Richard Armstrong

COL Lang,

I'd like to actually respond directly to some things you said and asked in your post.

"That is why we mouth nonsensical, dismissive inanities of that kind."

Perish the thought.

"why should the UK not become a federated state?"

I can think of no technical reason not to do so, however perhaps since any administrative division of what is a rather small (geographically) nation would mean that any map of a federated UK would have tiny "states" or administrative regions.

"What would be lost in such an evolution of form of government?"

A price would be paid by cartographers who would have more work to do.

A diminution of the power of independent parliaments might be resisted. Perhaps those parliaments might be treated as "state" governments with each "county" would also have their own their won smaller and less powerful government.

"Yesterday a madman climbed over the fence in front of the White House,"

I can't understand how that event supports a "slide toward federal government supremacy".

As for a British government being able to absorb and survive a similar incident Number 10 Downing Street was the target of an IRA mortar attack in 1991 where only the garden and exterior walls were damaged. I think that demonstrates the British governments survivability.

"How would England be divided into regions?"

One method might be to create regions according to the influence of major cities. A map showing a cartographical representation of this is shown here: http://mapsengland.blogspot.com/2014/08/maps-of-uk-cities-guides-and-flag.html. Another demonstrating a division by population is shown here: http://www.smilingglobe.com/imgEffekt/regions_map.jpg

A different method might be to divide the country into the various "kingdoms" that once existed on those islands.

Great Britain is already divided into 39 counties which might logically form the basis for dividing the nation into "states".

Proximity to larger cities, population, former kingdoms, counties. All are reasonable and logical divisions. Any idea that considers the self-identification of the population of any areas is foolish because it invites minor "Sudentenland" or "Ukranian" conflict.

Before anyone else points this out, Northern Ireland was divided from the rest of Ireland based on self-identification and an acceptance of and desire for a strong English influence. While the violence in Northern Ireland is manifest its cause is not the division itself but rather the result of centuries of ill treatment of the residents of that region by the British.

England already has a somewhat federation in that the majority of administrative power is in London with with subordinate county councils responsible for local administration. Those form a reasonable, logical and already accepted division of England itself.

London itself is a distinct region and would probably be treated as is the District of Columbia and "belong" to no administrative region.

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