​6,000 northerners petition to join independent Scotland after English Tory victory

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron (Reuters/Peter Nicholls)
A petition set up during last year’s Scottish independence referendum, which demands the north of England be allowed to join Scotland in the event of a split, has been revived in the wake of the Tories general election victory.

The petition complains that “deliberations in Westminster are becoming increasingly irrelevant to the north of England.

Northern cities feel far greater affinity with their Scottish counterparts such as Glasgow and Edinburgh than with the ideologies of the London-centric south.”

The needs and challenges of the north cannot be understood by the endless parade of old Etonians lining the frontbenches of the House of Commons. The north of England should join the newly independent Scotland and regain control over its own destiny.

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We, the people of the north, demand that in the event that Scotland becomes independent the border between England and the New Scotland be drawn along a line that runs between the River Dee and the mouth of The Humber.

The Change.org petition even projects a new border, which goes far enough south to include Sheffield, as just one of a number of regional efforts to separate from Westminster rule.

While the northern campaign is a revitalization of an idea which emerged before the failed Scottish independence vote, some are much fresher.

On Tuesday, it was reported that a similar plan is being floated by activists in Brighton and Hove on the English south coast.

Sickened by the Tory-majority government, Brighton separatist Jason Smart told the Guardian newspaper: “I woke up the morning after the election and saw that Brighton and Hove was now just a tiny red and green island in an absolute sea of blue. I just wanted somewhere to share my grief.

The so-called People’s Republic of Brighton reportedly has a flag, passport, embryonic constitution and about 8,000 supporters.

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Aside from the long-running campaign for an independent Cornwall, in England’s southwestern extremity, campaigns for more profound regional devolution have also given rise to groups like Yorkshire First.

Blogging for the Conversation website, Pete Woodcock, head of Criminology, Politics and Sociology at University of Huddersfield, wrote: “Yorkshire is also often defined as having a distinct regional identity.

The Yorkshire identity seems to have solidified even further in the wake of the Scottish independence referendum, and the resulting plans to devolve more powers to Scotland.

He describes Yorkshire First, which contested 14 seats at the general election, as a “regionalist political party.

Although Yorkshire First had little electoral success this time around, it is a young political party finding its feet in national politics, and would have been using this election as testing ground for future campaigns.