We have been a nation now officially since 1707. I think it is fair to say that we have also been united since then (or near then), and it is perhaps that unity that has made our country great. With the exception of France, it is interesting to note that many other countries have not been officially united for that long, and many more have not been informally united for that long either. Regionalism and states still persist in larger countries like Australia, United States, Russia and China. Italy and Germany were not united until the late 19th century. Many countries in Eastern Europe are a curious mixture of many peoples.
For this reason I think regional identity has not always been prevalent in our country. Or should I say in England. We are of course split into four, all of which have their very own strong identity. In fact living in Wales for a while I realised just how… well… ‘Welsh’, cities like Swansea and Cardiff tried to be. But I got the distinct impression that it was the government and not the people, who were more in favour of differentiating themselves from the rest of the Union. Sport, road signs, national museums and local history might be accentuated, but Wales is still very similar to England. But yet for some reason there does seem to be a belief in Wales that although full independence is not desirable, more powers need to be given to Cardiff, that local problems need to local answers and that Westminster simply seems worlds away.
The case is similar with England. The Conservative government in 2010 were constantly proposing to give more powers back to local authorities and local communities. There is still that strong belief that delegating power closer to home can help cities and communities adapt to their individual problems. Clearly we are still a very strong nation, but are we moving closer together as a nation, or are we drifting further apart?
The way to split up Great Britain has always been by its county lines. These boundaries are some of the oldest in Western Europe – stretching back to Anglo Saxons times of 600AD. Even the conquering Norman invaders refused to change them. The first change occured by government in 1974, and successive governments have changed them even more, however the original counties were still supposed to be enshrined in non-political affairs. But in 2011 the Department for Communities set up a scheme to promote traditional English counties and said that they still form an important part in our local and cultural identity. Currently there are 48 of them recognised in England. But what exactly do they mean? They are of course not as pronounced as the state lines in the US, in fact crossing the border from Shropshire into Staffordshire you are likely to be greeted by the same sort of sign as if you were crossing from Staffordshire into Shropshire. But yet I still read in the news viewpoints and even events that seem very pro-regional.
Taking all this into consideration I ask you:
- Are you proud of the region/county you come from?
- What future is there for the Counties – should more power be delegated out of Westminster? Would you ever like Counties to be officially recognised with quite a bit of power (less than Welsh Assembly level)?
- Do you like the differences between cities and counties and areas in our country or do you think it’s inevitable that just like the World is getting smaller (globalisation) our country is getting smaller to?
- What do you think of governments and bodies - like the Welsh government for instance - that are trying to preserve their independent culture, traditions and even - despite being next door to the home of the world’s most spoken language – their national tongue?
You probably didn’t know this, but recently there has been an increase in public support for counties to have their own flags. Not every county has its own flag, but most in the West and South of the country do, suggesting that the idea came from there.
County councils all have their own flags, however it is illegal for them to actually be flown without consent.
The following flags are all official and can be flown by anyone. How many can you guess??
^ ONE: Adopted 2012
^ TWO: Adopted 2005
^ THREE: Traditional but adopted 2011
^ FOUR: Adopted 2011
^ FIVE: Traditional but adopted 2008
Ce message a été modifié par ShotgunGold - 25 novembre 2012 - 10:05 .