News and Events
Members of the Acting Witan met in Cotes Heath, Staffordshire and discussed:
Twinning: that Mercia should consider twinning with other regions, for example Abruzzo, in Italy, or Murcia (in Spain) was suggested as being particularly apt!
Correspondence with UK Key Political Agents: The Acting Witan has had correspondence with key political agents of the UK regarding the independence referendum in Scotland. The argument was put that, as Scotland had voluntarily joined the UK whilst the English regions had become part of the Norman/British Empire through being conquered in the eleventh century, there was an overwhelming case for a referendum for independence in Mercia (and the other English regions). The Acting Witan is persisting in pressing the officials on this issue.
Mercia Day Correspondence with Stoke-on-Trent City Council: The Acting Witan has had a positive response from Stoke-on-Trent City Council regarding the celebration of a Mercia Day. This is being pursued.
Independent Mercia Facebook Group: The Acting Witan has created an official Facebook page.
The Confederation for Regional England and the English Federalist Alliance: A number of posts on the English Federalist Alliance Facebook page had recently been discussing setting up a federation of English regionalist groups, which might or might not include the member organisations of the Confederation for Regional England, of which the Mercia Movement and the Wessex Society (with which the Mercia Movement is strongly affiliated) are members.
Mercia Rising: The formation of a new organisation, Mercia Rising, with its primary aim of a Mercian Assembly, was reported.
Members of the Acting Witan travelled to Burford, in Oxfordshire, on 18 May to take part in the annual Levellers’ Day event in commemoration of the valiant efforts of our forerunners in the late 1640s to restore the rights of the Anglo-Saxon peoples in England. The event is held in Burford because three Leveller soldiers (Cornet James Thompson, Corporal Perkins and Private John Church) were executed there, on the orders of the Parliamentarian army commander, Oliver Cromwell, and buried in the churchyard of St John the Baptist, on 17 May 1649, following the Banbury Mutiny. The highpoint of the day was the march around the town, during which the green and gold Mercian banner was displayed. Afterwards, the members of the Acting Witan registered more citizens of Mercia and sold copies of the region’s constitution and The Mercia Manifesto. Also, some useful contacts were made.
at the Levellers’ Day commemoration in Burford, Oxfordshire, on 18 May 2013.
OBITUARY – RICHARD HUNT – a founder member of the Mercian Constitutional Convention
Richard Hunt was very passionate about his views, most especially on economics, and was a battle-hardened campaigner of many decades. He was a maverick and an original thinker and I very much admired him for that. No matter what the odds of opposition, he would never waver from his fundamental beliefs and principles and he had immense strength of character. Over time, I heard considerable criticism of him, but I think he was a very good man, with a rare honesty.
Richard’s pinnacle, of course, was his book, To End Poverty, which was published in 1997 and turned conventional economics thinking on its head, not least with his idea that the core starves the periphery, which is clearly profound and true. Although his history in places in the book leaves something to be desired, especially his knowledge of the Anglo-Saxon period, the fundamental principles of his economics are right in my opinion. Had he been able to write and publish To End Poverty a century earlier, there would have been a very good chance that his book would have sold hundreds of thousands of copies instead of the paltry few that the modern public, with its much greater surplus wealth, bought. Such is the indictment of the age in which we live, mindlessly racing to the abyss.
Richard was a founder member of the Mercian Constitutional Convention in 2001 and the Acting Witan of Mercia in 2003 and was at least as much a team player in both organisations as anyone else. He was a regular attendee at the meetings of the Constitutional Convention (2001-2003) and played an important part in the creation of the Constitution of Mercia, most particularly in Article 8 on The Economy and Trade. He attended meetings of the Acting Witan despite a deterioration in his health and it was very sad when he no longer felt able to come, although he remained a member until his death. Although I kept in touch with him through Christmas cards and occasional phone calls, his frustration at not being able to communicate with me properly during the latter became sadly very apparent.
One of the main strands of Richard’s legacy is, of course, his book, the wise words of which still ring out loudly to anyone who reads it. The other key gift that he has left for us is the magazine he founded – Alternative Green. It is a tribute to his originality and the persuasiveness of his arguments that the production of his magazine has survived his death. Such a triumph is a rare one indeed. Richard has left us, but his messages live on.
Convener of the Acting Witan of Mercia
The Acting Witan met and discussed:
Matters Arising: The Mercian Hoard: Convener of The Acting Witan, Jeff Kent said he had been in discussion with the director of the Potteries Museum over us being involved in preparing the Mercian Hoard exhibition. However, Jeff has heard nothing more since and a statue of the Staffordshire Saxon (an oversized replica of a period warrior, incorporating numerous Hoard artefacts) was unveiled at the museum on 17 May in front of a select audience. Although, on 26 February 2010, the Acting Witan gave the museum the authority to hold the Hoard items on behalf of the citizens of Mercia, we were not invited to the event. It was agreed that Jeff will write to Keith to ask why we were not invited and to point out that the word Saxon in the statue’s title is a misnomer because Mercia was not a region of Saxon settlement. Jeff will therefore ask the museum to rename the statue the Staffordshire Angle after the actual settlers of Mercia. 2. The Website: The front page of our website has been changed to show the photo of Jeff Kent and Philip Snow claiming the Mercian Hoard at the Potteries Museum and it was agreed that it was the ideal image. 3. Shire Organisation: The proposed Derbyshire meeting was overtaken by events and therefore didn’t take place. Because of more pressing matters, it was agreed that the item will be put on our next agenda. 4. Transition Towns: Philip said that he and Ann and Mike Beirne had been trying for some time to get a local Transition Towns group up and running in Newcastle-under-Lyme, but they hadn’t succeeded and therefore he had nothing else to report on Transition Towns. It was agreed at this meeting that there appears to be potential synergy between our aims to re-create Mercia as an autonomous and sustainable bioregion and the Transition Towns network. 5. The Mercian Regional Court: Colin Bex said he is aiming to contact a constitutional lawyer about establishing the court. As a priority, Colin will investigate the practicalities of presenting writs to the current and former key UK political agents and it was agreed that we will try to find out the addresses of all of them. 6. A. P. Griffith: Jeff had not been able to find the Cornish Republican blog link to A. P. Griffith’s comments about us. Colin said he would investigate and report back. It was agreed that, unless there have been recent developments, we will let the matter drop because of the passage of time.
BBC News Website: Jeff said that he’d been contacted out of the blue by the BBC News website political reporter, Justin Parkinson, for an article the latter wanted to do on Anglo-Saxon government. The result was that Justin interviewed Jeff for about an hour and the article, ‘Is it time to get Anglo-Saxon about England’s local government?’ was published on 26 April. Jeff said that, although the article included a number of mistakes, he believed it was well balanced and that Justin had tried to represent his views fairly. As a result of the article, Jeff said he’d had a surge of E-mails from interested people.
Mercia Society: As was agreed at our last meeting, the Acting Witan supports the idea of a Mercia Society, but it is not appropriate for us to be involved in its foundation.
Street Campaigns and Leaflets: It was agreed that we will still campaign on the streets of the towns and cities of Mercia, especially registering new citizens. It was also agreed that Nigel will be asked to develop a promotional leaflet, with a view to it being put on our website, and submit it to a future meeting.
Video/Facebook/Promotion: Philip suggested that we should have a promotional video on You Tube to show people the way forward. He said he has the essential equipment to produce such a video. It was agreed that we can make several, especially one of the key aspects of what we stand for and are trying to achieve. It was also agreed that, for our next meeting, we will come up with ideas of what should be included.
On 26th April the BBC in London published an article on their website entitled “Is it time to get Anglo-Saxon about England’s local government?” It was written by Political Reporter at BBC News, Justin Parkinson who, having read the Acting Witan of Mercia’s website, phoned the Acting Witan’s Convener Jeff Kent to research an “Anglo-Saxon” approach to localism and civic engagement, a topic on the current Government’s ‘to do’ list. In his article Parkinson quoted sections from “The Mercia Manifesto” and quoted Jeff Kent verbatim extensively. Read the article here. The article was widely read and provided a link to the Acting Witan website which, over the next two days, showed more than 5000 extra page views than the average day. It has long been expected by the Acting Witan that, in the light of growing disgruntlement with the top-down U.K. Government, the holistic principles of the Anglo-Saxon historical model would become more widely appreciated. It will be heartening to see the further interest that the BBC article will undoubtedly generate.
The Acting Witan met and discussed:
Matters Arising: 1. The Mercian Hoard: It was agreed that Jeff will E-mail the Potteries Museum to express our continuing interest in being involved in the Hoard exhibition and the Mercian Trail. 2. The Website: Colin will investigate giving the website a facelift. 3. Shire Organisation: It was agreed to discuss this and the proposed meeting in Derby at our next meeting. 4. Transition Towns: Jeff said that Anglo-Saxon London provides a historical model for a Transition City, having been a series of relatively self-sufficient linked villages. Philip said he’ll give an update on Transition Towns at our next meeting. 5. The Mercian Regional Court: Jeff put forward an idea he’d discussed with Philip in order to take the initiative forward. Colin will ask an academic friend for advice on how to contact a constitutional lawyer. It was agreed that we will check the Constitution of Mercia to investigate the Articles that the key UK political agents have broken and that we will research Anglo-Saxon, and especially Mercian, law and legal procedures so that they can be adopted where possible by the Regional Court. Also, Colin will investigate the practicalities of presenting writs to the key UK political agents. It was also agreed that Jeff will write to the new key UK political agents, of the Conservative-Liberal Democrats coalition government, asking them to cease their anti-Mercian activities and to meet us for discussions on the transition of Mercia to de facto independence.
Paper Presented by Nigel Bromage: It was agreed that our website will be kept up to date, with all events and Acting Witan meetings being reported. Philip suggested that we put videos of what we do on You Tube and this was agreed.
There exists a forum, which Philip set up on Yahoo.com in 2006, for people with an interest in Mercia to discuss between themselves: https://uk.groups.yahoo.com/group/mercia/
It was agreed that we support the idea of a Mercia Society, similar to the Wessex Society, although it is not appropriate for the Acting Witan to be directly involved in its foundation. It was also agreed that we will ask Nigel to elaborate on his ideas at our next meeting.
A. P. Griffith: Jeff submitted a proposed reply to Griffith’s grossly inaccurate comments about us on The Cornish Republican blog. It was agreed that Jeff will put the reply, subject to a number of agreed amendments by Colin.
The Acting Witan met and discussed: 1. The Constitution: The Constitution already allows for alterations and therefore Mercian citizens can submit proposals for changes at any time; if and when they are forthcoming, they can be debated by the Acting Witan. 2. The Mercian Hoard: The director of the Potteries Museum had been emailed and the reply was that our interest has been registered and passed on to the Mercian Trail project co-ordinator to involve us in the initiative when it gets under way. 3. The Website: The number of hits have settled down again to about thirty a day. 4. The Mercian Regional Court: we still need to get the court established, as required by and to protect the Constitution. Suggestion that a discussion forum be set up on our website, with a view to helping to involve the Mercian citizens in Mercian affairs and this may lead to volunteers for the court and wider interest. It was agreed that this will be discussed at the Acting Witan’s next meeting before being activated. 5. Shire Organisation: It was agreed to hold an experimental meeting one evening next year, perhaps in March, in Derby, with a view to getting a shire organisation set up in Derbyshire. 6. Transition Towns: Transition Towns will get to a point where they will need some form of regional organisation and it’s a growing movement, with the potential to become very large. 7. Population: what we can do to promote our population policies and challenge the Far Right’s domination of this topic. It was agreed that we will think about how to do this and will revisit it at the next meeting. But we must be careful not to divide our limited resources, at the same time, between this and the shire organisation meetings.
The Acting Witan met and discussed: 1. A recent survey of 300 people in Wolverhampton, Dudley and Birmingham: 237 of them primarily identified with England, 43 with their town, 24 (mainly young, alternative people) with Mercia and 14 (mainly the older generation) with Britain. 2. Suggestion that a Mercian equivalent to the Wessex Society is needed. 3. Suggestion that the Constitution should be reviewed from time to time. 4. Suggestion that we contact the Potteries Museum to try to get independent Mercia and the Acting Witan included in the forthcoming Mercian Trail and Hoard exhibitions. If successful with that, see if it’s possible to have a similar impact with Birmingham Museum. 5. Shire Organisations: as an experiment to see if it’s possible to get shire organisations up and running or at least get a contact or two in each shire. 6. Independent Mercia website: statistics on recent visits to the website: January 950; February 1,000; March 1,600; April 1,080; May 1,000; June 780. They seem to show the impact of the initiative to claim the Staffordshire Hoard for the people of Mercia. 6,500 of the hits were unique visits, with 258 through Google, 86 through Wessex Regionalism, 67 Wikipedia and 42 the BBC website. 7. Population: the UK is about 60% self-sufficient in food, but the percentage is dropping. The UK population is projected to be 75 million by 2030. General discussion on population and ecology. 8. Transition Towns: the national Transition Towns movement is going from strength to strength. They had been found that it was impossible to find within reasonable distance the amount of land needed to feed the town of Exeter and it could well be that the same would apply to other towns also.
The visit to The Potteries Museum by Jeff Kent (as convenor of the Acting Witan) and Philip Snow (as Acting Sheriff of Staffordshire) on Friday 26th February was extremely successful. With the full cooperation and involvement of press and media we were able to conduct our ceremonies and make the points we wished to make. Local BBC Radio Stoke interviewed Jeff twice live (24th and 26th February)and made a video of Jeff and Philip making their declarations. See here for the BBC Radio Stoke web page about the occasion, and here for a nearly full-page article (with large photo of Jeff and Philip not shown in the online article) in The Sentinel which is the main local newspaper in North Staffordshire and South Cheshire.
Some photos from the event:
Jeff Kent broadcasting live on BBC Radio Stoke
Philip Snow (left) and Jeff Kent posing for press photos inside The Potteries Museum
Jeff Kent (left) and Philip Snow posing for press photos inside The Potteries Museum
Jeff Kent and Philip Snow were featured in a BBC Radio Stoke video in which they laid claim to the Staffordshire Hoard on behalf of the people of Mercia : news.bbc.co.uk/local/stoke/hi/people_and_places/history/newsid_8539000/8539011.stm
The Acting Witan agreed the title for the day conference on Saturday 20th March in Stoke-on-Trent to be ‘Visions of Mercia’ with the sub-title ‘The Midlands after Meltdown’ (referring to the meltdown of society which is becoming increasingly evident now). A programme of times and speakers for the day was agreed. It was also agreed that the displaying of the Staffordshire Hoard at the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery in Stoke-on-Trent during February and March would enable the Acting Witan to make the point that the U.K. legal system is not legitimate, and that the U.K. Crown authority should not have assumed control of the Hoard which rightly belongs to the citizens of Mercia. Representatives of The Acting Witan will visit The Potteries Museum on Friday 26th February to conduct a ceremony for ownership of the Hoard to be passed to The Acting Witan on behalf of the citizens of Mercia. The Hoard will be placed into the safekeeping of The Potteries Museum until other arrangements can be made if necessary. Press and media releases will be issued in advance of the ceremony.
The Acting Witan agreed that more time would be needed to organise the day conference in October and it was postponed until Saturday 20th March 2010.
The Acting Witan agreed that the target for 2000 registered citizens was reached and exceeded in May 2009 when the number reached 2012. Therefore a ‘Future of the Midlands’ conference should be held as a day event on Saturday 31 October in Stoke-on-Trent. Provisional arrangements have been made to use a large meeting room at the North Staffs African Caribbean Association centre in Hanley. A number of outside speakers will be invited to talk on themes which are synergistic, e.g. Transition Towns, The Optimum Population Trust, the Green Party and Mercian Heathen Hearth.
The Acting Witan of Mercia met in Walsall on 11th January 2009
Owing to the Acting Witan’s decision that the map of Mercia should reflect the position before the UK government re-drew their regional map and changed the borders of county shires, the Acting Witan recognised that the numbers of registered citizens in the respective shires had not quite reached the target of a minimum of 50 citizens in each shire. The total number of registered citizens is now over 1800. The numbers will be made up to target over the next few months.
For that reason, and also because it was felt that there should be a pre-conference meeting of the various speakers and parties who would be involved in the conference, the date for the conference was put back to later in the year. The exact date will be announced in due course.
The Acting Witan of Mercia met in Walsall on 221st September 2008.
Register of Citizens: Jeff reported that he’d registered 73 citizens in Bedford (63 of them from Bedfordshire), 63 in Bletchley (60 of them from Buckinghamshire) and 17 in Banbury (all of them from Oxfordshire) on 30 May; 99 in Huntingdon (92 of them from Huntingdonshire) and 104 in Oakham (64 of them from Rutland) on 28 June; and 83 in Gloucester (72 of them from Gloucestershire) and 92 in Hereford (82 of them from Herefordshire) on 15 August, thereby completing his agreed shires. Also, Colin had registered 48 citizens in Newark (37 of them from Nottinghamshire, 7 Lincolnshire, 2 Derbyshire and 2 Warwickshire) on 30 May. In addition, Jeff said he’d sold 5 copies of the Constitution and 5 of The Mercia Manifesto at the Engliscan Gesidas feast at Penkridge the night before the meeting. He said 17 of the 20 shires have now got the required quota of 50 or more registered citizens, leaving Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and Middlesex to be covered by Colin as soon as possible.
Conference on the Future of the Midlands: It was felt that it was now too late to hold the conference on 1 November and get the publicity out on time. It was agreed that we will rearrange it for Saturday 28 March, either at Hanley Library (for free) or, preferably, NORSACA (for £100) in Stoke-on-Trent. Philip will sound out the rooms and make a booking. It was agreed we will invite speakers from Transition Towns, the Green Party, the Engliscan Gesidas and the Mercian Heathen Hearth. It was also agreed that Philip will MC the conference, David will speak about the Anglo-Saxon regions and the development of regionalism since and Colin and Jeff will cover the case for Mercia and our Constitution and principles. The provisionally agreed timescale is: 10.30 registration and coffee, 11-1.30 first session, 1.30-2.30 lunch and 2.30-4.30 second session, with each talk having a ½ hour slot.
Transition Towns: Philip said he’s involved in a Wolstanton and Porthill Transition Towns steering group and they’ve met with a similar group in Leek, so that things in North Staffordshire are starting to move. He said a Transition Towns regional conference will probably be held in a year or two and that it’s important we have a presence at it because it appears that there is a great deal of synergy between our respective endeavours, especially regarding the establishment of a currency system for the Mercia region.
Website: Philip said that we are still on the front page of Google and we’d had 6,082 hits in the year to date. 5,000 of these had come from unknown sources, 341 from Google, 72 from Wikipedia: Secessionist Movements, 22 from Devolution and 15 from Not Fully Sovereign Nations.
The Acting Witan of Mercia met in Walsall on 9th March 2008.
Regarding the indictment of the UK Key Political Agents, it was agreed that this will be put on hold until we have completed our required quota of registered citizens from the twenty shires. Jeff said he is still planning to cover his four agreed shires by the end of April and Colin is still hoping to cover his five shires. It was agreed that we will revisit the position after the end of April and possibly register further citizens in two remaining shires on Mercian Independence Day.
Conference on the Future of the Midlands: It was agreed that we need to have only one big project at a time. It was agreed that the sequence should be:
1. Registering the required quota of citizens;
2. Holding the Future of the Midlands conference;
3. Getting the Mercian Regional Court established;
4. The Court meeting, with our support, and producing the writs indicting the UK key political agents;
5. Our indicting of the UK key political agents.
The Acting Witan of Mercia met in Stourbridge on 25th November 2007.
Regarding the Acting Witan’s intention to indict the UK key political agents, Jeff had sent letters on 18 May to the UK prime minister, deputy prime minister, monarch, leader of the House of Commons, leader of the House of Lords and home secretary, giving them four weeks from that date to refrain entirely from their illegal activities and to observe fully the Constitution of Mercia, otherwise they will be summoned to stand trial on a charge of crimes against the land, people and Constitution of Mercia.
Jeff reported that on 2 June we registered 97 citizens in Leicester (85 of them from Leicestershire) and 82 in Grantham (64 of them from Lincolnshire) and that he signed 180 in Tamworth on 1 September and 73 in Worcester (64 of them from Worcestershire) on 16 November. The total number of registered citizens should now be well over 1,000. It was agreed that Colin and Jeff will register the required quota of citizens (at least 50) in each of the remaining shires (Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Hertfordshire, Huntingdonshire, Middlesex and Rutland) by the end of April 2008.
Jeff reported that he had been contacted and interviewed by Ben Goldby of the Sunday Mercury, who had visited our website. The outcome was a double-page article, with full-colour illustrations, in their 14 October edition, which was a mixture of fact and fantasy. As a result of Jeff’s insistence, the fantastic elements of the article were retracted by the newspaper in its following edition, which gave us almost another whole page of publicity, with a further full-colour photo.
It was agreed that we will go ahead with the Conference on the Future of the Midlands for Saturday 22 March 2008. Entry will be free and a possible title or subtitle is The World The Right Way Up! Sue will investigate whether it will be possible for Glorishears of Brumagem to perform Morris dancing at lunchtime. Jeff will invite speakers to attend from the Aengliscan Gesidas, the Mercian Heathen Hearth and the Green Movement and will ask Woody if Devolve! can provide a speaker. The conference will be further planned at the next meeting.
Philip reported 7,269 visits to our website from 1 January to 31 October, mostly through Wikipedia, from the topics “English regionalism’’ and ‘‘Devolution’’.
The Acting Witan of Mercia met in Stourbridge on 13th May 2007. The indictment of key UK political agents was expedited. Citizens of Mercia are to be asked to apply to be speakers on the Mercia Regional Court. A concerted programme of registration of at least 50 citizens of Mercia in each of the 20 shires was drawn up.
The Acting Witan of Mercia met in Stourbridge on 14th January 2007. The proposed conference on the future of Mercia has been titled: The Future of the Midlands: A Blueprint for the Future inspired by the Past. The date for this will be Saturday 15th March 2008, venue to be decided. Another 70 people had registered as citizens of Mercia.
The Acting Witan of Mercia met at Stourbridge on 19th November 2006. It was agreed that a public Conference on the Future of Mercia should be held as soon as possible. More people had registered as citizens of Mercia. A Mercian Regional Court will be established as soon as possible. Key UK political agents will be indicted.
The Acting Witan of Mercia met at Stourbridge on 30 September 2006. Having successfully registered over 50 citizens of Mercia in both Oxfordshire and Northamptonshire, the initiative to register at least 50 citizens in each of the 20 shires of Mercia was continuing, and over 50 citizens have now also been registered in Cheshire, Staffordshire, Shropshire and Warwickshire. It was agreed that the minutes of previous meetings of the Acting Witan of Mercia should be published on this website at https://www.independentmercia.org/minutes.htm
The Acting Witan of Mercia met at Stourbridge on 7th May 2006 and discussed arrangements for the forthcoming second anniversary of the Mercian Declaration of Independence. In view of the initiative to register at least 1,000 citizens of Mercia in the coming year it was decided to visit both Banbury and Northampton on that day in order to register at least 50 citizens in each of Oxfordshire and Northamptonshire. It was also decided to create a Mercia discussion forum at https://uk.groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/mercia/ .
The Acting Witan of Mercia met at Stourbridge on 12th March 2006.
The Acting Witan of Mercia met at Stourbridge on 29th January 2006. There were five new citizens in attendance who had registered at the Mercian Heathen Hearth in October.
The Acting Witan of Mercia met at Stourbridge on 6th November 2005. The two organisers of the Mercian Heathen Hearth were welcomed to the meeting. It was agreed that more effort should be put into registering citizens of Mercia in the next year in order to reach the target of 1000 citizens by the anniversary of Mercian Independence Day on 29th May 2007. Mercia citizens will be invited to become law-speakers on the Mercian Regional Court. This is a critical component of the apparatus of independent Mercia and is also a vital ingredient in the Mercian Independence Day and so needs to be progressed forthwith.
At an event, the Mercian Heathen Hearth, held in Wolverhampton on 15th October 2005, two members of the Acting Witan of Mercia attended as guests and gave a talk about the Acting Witan and the Constitution of Mercia. 20 – 25 people attended the event, of which 8 registered as citizens of Mercia. The moot brought together heathens from across the Midlands and is intended to be a quarterly event.
The Acting Witan of Mercia met at Stourbridge on 8th May 2005. Further discussion took place on the ‘Vision’ of day-to-day life in the future Mercia. This is intended to give the citizens of Mercia a practical vision with which they can identify themselves. This would at all times reflect the Constitution of Mercia.
Mercian Independence Day took place in Nottingham on Friday 27th May. Several dozen people registered as citizens, and it was clear that there is no shortage of people willing to register.
The Acting Witan of Mercia met at Stourbridge on 13th February 2005. A representative from Devolve! argued that the ‘thrashing’ of of the official North-East region and the creative thinking around the continuing Commission on the South (for example, on confederated functional sub-regions) have changed the landscape. He said that there is a divergence between long-term visionary cultural thinking and immediate pragmatic ideas and believes that the two are not ready to converge for 20 years. The response from the Acting Witan was unanimous disagreement with his stance.
The Acting Witan of Mercia met in Stourbridge on 14th November 2005, immediately following the failed attempt by the U.K. Government to impose a regional assembly in North-East England. It was agreed that whilst this result may show a lack of interest in regionalisation, it was felt that this had more to do with it being a U.K., top-down initiative rather than the truly democratic approach taken by the movement for English regions; and it was proposed that we should be instrumental in developing interest in a network of English regions.
The current ‘Acting Witan’ website www.acting-witan-of-mercia.org was felt to be a misnomer and another domain name more reflective of the broader Mercia movement was felt to be more in keeping. It was agreed that www.independentmercia.org would be suitable as a domain name and this was subsequently expedited.
The Acting Witan of Mercia met in Stourbridge on 11th July and agreed on a target to register 1000 Mercia citizens by 29th May 2005. An online registration form will be added to our website around the end of August. The next initiatives will include the creation of a Mercian legal system and a vision of day-to-day life in independent Mercia.
Plans were drawn up for the forthcoming First Anniversary event to be held in Birmingham on 29th May. The following flyer was designed for circulation to the media for advance notification:
MERCIAN INDEPENDENCE DAY, 29 MAY 2004
FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF THE DECLARATION OF MERCIA’S INDEPENDENCE
CELEBRATION AND LAUNCH OF THE NEW MERCIAN CURRENCY AT MIDDAY IN VICTORIA SQUARE, BIRMINGHAM
FREE MONEY BEING GIVEN OUT BY THE ACTING WITAN OF MERCIA!
TAX-FREE PURCHASE, BARTER AND EXCHANGE OF GOODS AND SERVICES
On the first anniversary of their declaration of the legal independence of Mercia (the greater Midlands), members of the Acting Witan of the region are returning to Victoria Square, Birmingham, to further the campaign for Mercia’s actual independence.
Following the complete refusal of the illegal and authoritarian United Kingdom government to engage in any talks on the future of the Midlands with democratic regionalists, the Mercian Constitutional Convention was formed by people from across the region and published The Constitution Of Mercia in 2003. The Constitution offers a new holistic society based on organic democracy, co-operative community and ecological balance and for a year has been the ultimate legal authority in the region, but remains subject to amendment by the people of Mercia.
The Constitutional Convention is now the Acting Witan (or assembly) of Mercia and is spearheading the full democratisation of the region. In pursuit of this aim, the Acting Witan has spent over six months in an ultimately futile attempt to persuade the UK key agents of political control to enter into meaningful negotiations on the transitional arrangements for full Mercian independence. Following the expiry of a final deadline for the UK to begin productive talks, the Acting Witan is now in the process of establishing new and lawful administrative, judicial and economic systems in Mercia on behalf of and in conjunction with the people of the region. The aim of these structures is to create a fully independent Mercia.
Consequently, a new currency, in the form of the Mercian penny, has been minted by the Acting Witan and is being handed out free to the citizens of the region in Victoria Square, Birmingham, on Saturday 29 May, Mercian Independence Day. Mercian pennies, worth the equivalent of one UK pound, will be given to people who register for Mercian citizenship and, with their new money, they will be able to buy items from the large variety of goods available from the Acting Witan stalls on the day. Despite this, transactions through barter, exchange and gifts will be preferred in Mercia, with currency only being used as a last resort because money breeds exploitation and poverty. Therefore, the newly-enrolled Mercian citizens will be encouraged to barter or exchange goods with the stallholders instead of paying for them with money. Alternatively, they can offer to undertake services for the local community and receive goods from the stalls in return.
Consequently, the launch of the new currency will give the people of the greater Midlands the opportunity to enjoy themselves participating in the birth of the revolutionary Mercian trading system and local businesses will be wise to follow suit because the new methods will operate entirely tax-free!
For further information, please contact Jeff Kent, the convener, at the Acting Witan office at:
The Acting Witan of Mercia, Cherry Tree House, 8 Nelson Crescent, Cotes Heath, Stafford, Staffordshire ST21 6ST
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The day was a resounding success, with 127 people signing up over a space of only three hours to become citizens of Mercia. The new currency was launched and generated considerable support with a high level of understanding by the citizens about the principles for the just and sustainable economy which we espouse. After the event it was agreed that we should hold similar events across the Mercia region.
Here are some pictures from the event. Click on the image to see full-size.
Having received no positive response from eight key UK agents of political control concerning our request for discussions about the transitional arrangements it was agreed that after a further four weeks the Acting Witan will progress Mercia de facto without them and set up administrative, judicial and economic systems, to be launched at the First Anniversary event on 29th May 2004.
The fourth meeting of the Acting Witan was held in Stourbridge on 18 January 2004 and reported that interesting dialogue is now taking place with the UK crown and the prime minister’s office regarding the independence of Mercia.
The third meeting of the Acting Witan was held in Stourbridge on 22 November 2003 and decided to issue a letter regarding the non-payment of taxes and licences to the UK. This letter is printed in full below:
I refer to the demand for payment of Council Tax/ TV Licence/ etc.
You appear to be unaware that Mercia declared its independence on 29th May this year. The Acts of Parliament under whose purported authority you are demanding payment are no longer recognised as automatically valid in Mercia. You should therefore urgently seek discussions with the Acting Witan of Mercia to request re-authorisation under Mercian law. Until this is done, your demand has no lawful basis.
As the Acting Witan will be considering a large number of such requests and as it will take time to process these thoroughly, I accept that it would inconvenience you if I were to withhold payment and that the public services you provide could suffer if many Mercians were to do likewise.
I therefore enclose the sum requested but cannot guarantee that future requests will be similarly treated. You are advised to contact the Acting Witan of Mercia without further delay, by writing to the following address:
The Acting Witan of Mercia, Cherry Tree House, 8 Nelson Crescent, Cotes Heath, Stafford, Staffordshire ST21 6ST
The second meeting of the Acting Witan was held in Stourbridge on 14 September 2003 and decided to write to the UN and UNPO, asking for recognition of Mercia’s independence. Also, a petition in support of Mercian independence will be drawn up.
The inaugural meeting of the Acting Witan of Mercia was held in Stourbridge on 8 June 2003. The transitional arrangements within The Constitution of Mercia obliged the Acting Witan to notify the UK authorities that Mercia has declared independence, that their institutions are now legally inferior to those of Mercia in the region and that they should discuss the progressing of the transitional arrangements with the Acting Witan a.s.a.p.
The Mercian Constitutional Convention reaffirmed and declared the legal independence of Mercia, at 1.00pm on 29 May 2003, in Victoria Square, Birmingham. The declaration is printed on this website.