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Campaigners call for Cornwall-style independence for Wessex region
If Cornwall can have it then why can’t we in Wessex? That is the question being asked in the wake of the announcement that the Cornish people will be recognised as a National Minority under European rules.
The decision recognises the south-western county’s distinctive Celtic heritage and history.
Now campaigners for greater independence for Wessex, the region that stretches from Hampshire to Devon, say that decision should have a local impact for our own historic area.
David Robins, secretary general of the Wessex Regionalist Party, said: “We are pleased that the Cornish are making progress and hope they can hold the door open for us too.
“It has implications for us.”
There should be greater protection and promotion of the Wessex dialect and local produce such as cider, Devonshire cream and the Hampshire sausage comprising venison, red wine and watercress, he added.
The Wessex brand should be used to better promote tourism too.
Mr Robins also wants to see devolution of power from London to a regional assembly, that like the Anglo-Saxon Witan would move around Wessex.
He said: “Wessex is bigger in population than Scotland and Wales and equally capable of ruling itself. It would be closer and more responsive to the people. England is too dominated by London.”
Derek Pickett is chairman of the Wessex Society, which aims to promote historical awareness of the role of kingdom in the development of England.
Mr Pickett, from Andover, said: “It would be nice to have a mini-parliament promoting Wessex ideals. After all Englishness, the culture of England, comes from Wessex.
“Cornwall is different to Wessex because it is a peninsula with its own language and racial identity.
“The Wessex Society is there to remind people who they are. But there is not the groundswell of a Wessex identity from the people as there is in Cornwall.
“England was founded by Wessex, so when you are talking about Wessex you are talking about the English, when you talk about the English you talk about Wessex.”
The society is promoting a sense of identity with a flag that it launched in 2010, depicting the Wyvern, a two-legged dragon.
It is asking local councils to fly the flag on St Ealdhelm’s Day, May 25.
Locally only the Isle of Wight has so far agreed, along with Dorset and Bournemouth.
Hampshire is currently the only county without its own flag, although the county council has one.
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