Saturday, October 16, 2021
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Is it time to cast London adrift?

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FOR even the most optimistic conservative, the prospects of breaking cultural Marxism’s stranglehold on our country are looking bleak. Many patriots have done, and are doing, their valiant best. However, if an 80-seat Conservative majority can’t halt or even slow down the Left’s Long March, what can?

Perhaps it’s time to consider a profoundly radical solution: the annulment of a marriage long-lasting enough to make our EU membership seem like a casual fling. The divorce I have in mind is no less than that between Britain and its capital city.  

‘When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.’ How hollow Samuel Johnson’s once-unquestioned dictum sounds today. How many of us still recognise Old London Town? Its glorious landmark buildings, monuments and parks remain, but the demographic and cultural change – sorry, I mean progressive cosmopolitanism – scrambles the senses and troubles the soul. Meanwhile, thanks to the Londonistan block-vote, record levels of violent crime and a statue-threatening ‘Commission for Diversity in the Public Realm’ fail to oust a hard-Left Mayor from office.

Middle-class bourgeois attitudes have wrought this sorry transformation, or allowed it to happen; London ideas, which now embrace a new raft of globalist, anti-British dogmas inveigling their way into our schools, universities and other institutions. Metropolitan values, hovering over the city like a malevolent miasma.     

If London remains the nation’s beating heart, it is now poisoning the collective bloodstream. Better, surely, for major surgery – amputation – than for sepsis to set in. By all means let the capital pursue its utopian dreams – but as an independent city-state. Leave the rest of us to re-forge our destiny in an authentically English and British nation. Besides, ‘anywhere’ Guardianistas have themselves been known to argue for such a separation; it would be churlish not to oblige.    

We would need to found a new capital, of course, with its own legislature; but there is ample precedent for this. The original capital of Roman Britain was Colchester; the first of England (in AD 927) Winchester. Before that, the four main Anglo-Saxon kingdoms each had their own centres: Wilton (Wessex), Tamworth (Mercia), Bamburgh (Northumbria) and Norwich (East Anglia). During the Civil War, Charles I moved his court to Oxford, making it the new royalist capital. (The Queen could easily relocate to Windsor as part of the new settlement; Buckingham Palace would doubtless become an asylum hostel.)

There would be legal minefields aplenty, naturally. Lucrative tax revenue from the Square Mile – officially, like the City of Westminster, a separate entity from the rest of the capital – would be a key area of negotiation. And how would the remainder of the United Kingdom respond? Would divorce bring balkanisation, or might the elimination of London from the equation neuter separatist Scottish nationalism? Should it be an English rather than British initiative, an internal Exit? Could it be, given that the sovereign nation of England ceased to exist in 1707?

Imagine, though, the benefits the split would bring. Liberated from the Anglophobic London establishment, the country could at long last set about securing the integrity of its borders, reforming (or closing) the BBC, bringing the civil service to heel, rewriting the national curriculum, restoring our Army regiments to their proud county roots, appointing Dr Mike Yeadon as Chief Scientific Adviser . . . you name it. A little lower down the list of priorities, the England football team, without a genuflection or rainbow armband in sight, could play at different stadia around the country, as they did so successfully when Wembley was being rebuilt. 

Granted, we would still have to put up with the chattering classes of the university towns; but I’m sure we could offer them a speedy process of emigration to their ideological Motherland. Conversely, we’d need to prevent any more liberal locusts from vacating the city they destroyed for the countryside, to avoid the nation-preserving shires turning red. Again, no problem: let’s merely help them realise – in situ – their seeming ambition to be permanently locked down. 

Milton wrote: ‘Let not England forget her precedence of teaching other nations how to live’; appositely enough, for the present discussion, in a work called The Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce. Brexit showed we haven’t forgotten; perhaps this new enterprise would do the same. France freed from Paris, the US from DC, anyone?   

On many levels, separation from London is unthinkable. Yet the sad truth is, it no longer represents the country we love, who we are, or how we think; nor has any intention of doing so. Indeed, it defines itself as our antithesis. Maybe, then, it’s time to say ‘Cheerio, thanks for a millennium of memories, and good luck’. Oh, and don’t trouble your history-erasing commissioners further, Mr Mayor; we’ll find a safe home for those offensive British statues. 

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Stuart Major
Stuart Major is an independent scholar based in Sussex.

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