English counties! The Monmouthshire question!

This article focuses on the EDP policy to ‘repatriate’ the whole of the historic county of Monmouthshire from Wales to England.

Monmouthshire, Sir Fynwy in Welsh, was not an ancient ‘Shire’ county,it was created in 1535. By the time that the county was created Wales had been totally absorbed, politically and legally, into England. This resulted in Monmouthshire being in a rather ambiguous position as to where it belonged. This was settled in 1974 when it was placed within the Welsh borders.

It is no longer a ‘whole’ county but five unitary authorities, Monmouthshire, Blaenau Gwent, Torfaen, Caerphilly and Newport. At the time of the reorganisation in 1974 there was little, if any, opposition to settling of the County of Monmouthshire firmly into Wales.

There is very little opposition today within the five authorities but the English Democrats Party (EDP) has put the ‘repatriation’ of Monmouthshire to England as quite high on their agenda. England Watch has not found anything that shows that the other English nationalist parties think this issue is of any pressing importance.

That the EDP does think that it is important is shown by the fact that they have stood candidates in the Welsh Assembly elections in both 2007 and 2011.

2007 elections.

In the South East Wales regional list the EDP offered up 6 candidates for the four seats. Steve Gash, Alan England, Fred Bishop, David Lane, Steven Uncles, Michael Russell.

They received 1,655 votes.

In the constituency elections the EDP polled

2007 Monmouth, Ed Abrams, 804, 2.7%

2007, Newport East, Michael Blundell, 429, 2.2%.

2007, Newport West, Andrew Constantine, 634, 2.7%.

2011 elections,

In the South East Wales regional list the EDP offered five candidates for the four seats. Laurence Williams, Kim Burelli, Robin Tilbrook, Teresa Canon, Mike Tibby.

They received 1,904 votes.

In the constituency elections the EDP polled

2011 Monmouth, Steve Uncles, 744, 2.5%.

It has to be said that the EDP have actually included Monmouthshire into ‘their’ England and offered the people of the historic county a chance to support the EDP policy of ‘returning’ them to England.

In the view of England Watch the EDP face three major hurdles in this quest.

1. It is doubtful if many of the people of Blaenau Gwent, Torfaen and Caerphilly ever considered themselves as anything but Welsh.

2. It has been almost forty years since the ‘transfer’ of the county to Wales most of the people there now have no memory of not being ‘Welsh’ so would have no feeling of returning to England.

3. There seems to be very little local interest in trying to engineer such a move. All of the candidates that have stood there for the EDP have been English! They have not managed to get a single resident of Monmouthshire to stand in their name.

There was talk last year that the EDP may stand enough candidates to enable it to have a Party Election Broadcast. But with no, or very little, grassroots support no campaign in Wales is going to be successful when organised from the English south east!

The initial aim of the EDP is for the people of Monmouthshire to vote in a referendum on whether they want to be English or Welsh, the problem is that there is no evidence inside Monmouthshire that they are interested in such a referendum.

Until there is some form of groundswell a referendum is a non-starter.

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