A campaign has been launched for the north of England to become a breakaway state.
A petition by the Raise The North group calls for people from the region to band together and seek independence.
It is also urging David Cameron to ‘submit to the will of the northern people’.
The separation moves comes after an earlier petition called for the north to join with an independent Scotland.
The #TakeUsWithYouScotland hashtag soon flooded Twitter. More than 40,000 people have now signed the call-to-arms.
The latest petition, posted with the #RaiseTheNorth hashtag, reads:
“There is growing consensus that the north of England should join Scotland.
“Northern England should not ask to leave one governor, only to take on another. For as long as the south has ruled, we have been subjugated and marginalised.
“But the answer is not to allow ourselves to be ruled from Scotland. The Scots may help, but they can’t do it for us.
“It’s time that the people of the north stood as one against Westminster and said ‘no more’.”
Signatory Valerie Quigley wrote:
“It is time for the north of England to get their say. They have suffered from the same democratic deficit as Scotland for many years.
“North England self-government would benefit the area and could make good neighbours and agreements cross-border with Scotland.”
On the back of the Scottish independence referendum there have been growing calls for English devolution.
Places like Greater Manchester will soon have its own directly elected mayor; control of its entire £6bn NHS budget, a national first; and greater control over housing, transport and skills.
But the Raise The North group wants more, with the whole of the north of England breaking away and gaining independence.
At the last general election the North East was one of the few areas in England where support for the Labour party, which fought against Mr Cameron’s Tory government, actually went up.
With the highest unemployment rate in the country and many people either working in the under threat public sector or relying on benefits to boost poor salaries, there have been fears the region is missing out on what has been described as the economic upturn in the country.
Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 19 May 2015
> Sure sign that there’s an election just over the horizon – out they come, offering bribes like the sleazy fixers they are…
A former Tory candidate in the North East is leading calls for the party to increase the minimum wage – to give it a chance of winning seats in Labour heartlands.
The campaign urging Chancellor George Osborne to increase the minimum wage has been launched by Renewal, a campaign group dedicated to broadening the appeal of the Conservative Party and giving it a chance of winning seats in regions such as the North East where the party has very few MPs.
Mr Osborne yesterday hinted that a rise from the current £6.31 an hour to £7 was indeed in the offing.
Renewal director David Skelton finished a distant second when he stood for the Labourstronghold of North Durham in the 2010 general election.
Renewal has launched a review called “Renewing Capitalism”, which will look at new ways to create a competitive economic environment in which the consumer and the low-paid are protected, competition is cherished and anti-competitive, monopolistic behaviour is cracked down on.
It will also explore ideas to create wealth in parts of the country that have been struggling to share in prosperity since the 1980s – notably deindustrialised towns in northern England.
> Yeah… might have been better if the Tories hadn’t wrecked the north in the first place perhaps ? Might be good if they weren’t cutting funding left, right & centre.
Renewal is also considering ways of changing the face of the Conservative Party by bringing in more working class MPs, including by introducing bursaries to help people on lower incomes stand for election.
> This is a wind-up, isn’t it ? Its certainly not the Conservative party.
Mr Skelton, who was born and grew up in Consett, County Durham, said:
“The Conservative Party needs to come to terms with the fact that many people, particularly the low paid, don’t think that capitalism is working for them.
“We need to do more to show that capitalism can work for everybody in every part of the country. Being pro-market isn’t the same as being pro-big business.
“Where there are instances of abuse – in either the public or the private sector – Conservatives should come down hard to protect the consumer.”
> I think we know perfectly well what capitalism is likely to do for – and do to – us.
The review could be seen as a response to Labour leader Ed Miliband’s focus on the cost of living and attack on “predatory” capitalism. Labour is arguing that the benefits of economic recovery are not being shared by most people – and is highlighting the fact workers in the North East on average are paid £1,300 a year less than they were in 2010, once inflation is taken into account.
Some Conservatives argue that putting up the minimum wage, currently £6.31 an hour for over-21s, would help ensure that working people enjoy an increase in their standard of living as the economy improves.
> Yes, but it doesn’t create new jobs, so those in work earn a few more pennies, but the high unemployment continues, and those on benefits will continue to be the scapegoats for a situation they had no hand in.
Speaking recently, Hexham MP Guy Opperman said: “I am a well known exponent of the voluntary living wage and am very keen for an enhancement of the minimum wage now that the economic conditions are beginning to ease.
“There is an ongoing campaign to see if the Chancellor is able to make such a change when we get to the Budget in March.”
Recommendations about minimum wage rate are made by the Low Pay Commission, an independent body set up by the Government.
Mr Osborne has said he will not increase the minimum wage if it will lead to job losses but there is speculation he could announce a simultaneous cut in taxes paid by employers such as National Insurance, allowing them to pay staff more while staying in profit.
> The cut in NI contributions makes sense in the light of current policy, which seems intent on making it impossible for anyone to actually claim benefits anyway.
Source – Newcastle Journal, 17 Jan 2014