Editor's comment August 2016
PUBLISHED: 17:02 13 July 2016 | UPDATED: 17:11 13 July 2016
Join me, comrades. Let your voices ring out: 'Viva the revolution. Viva the Republic. Viva Cotswoldia!'
Amidst the Brexit brouhaha and the subsequent political meltdown, it might have escaped your notice that the people of the Cotswolds actually voted to Remain within the EU. We now have to live under a system that the majority of the population didn’t want. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Council leader Lynden Stowe’s madcap scheme to amalgamate the Cotswolds with his political pals in West Oxfordshire may have rightly failed, but I do think that there is still room to manoeuvre within the mandate. (Incidentally, Cllr Stowe decided to commission consultants to tell him what everyone else already knew – that Coxit was a complete non-starter. Would it be impertinent to ask if he might now be inclined to pay their bill himself?)
But back to business. What I am talking about is a declaration of independence and the formation of the Independent Republic of Cotswoldia. (OK, so the word “Republic” might cause an uneasy stir and some regal twitching amongst our most famous residents, but I’m sure it’s something we could work around.)
In the proud Independent Republic of Cotswoldia, a man will be able to stride through a market place in his canary yellow cords without being abused by baseball cap-wearing youths. His chocolate Labrador will be admired by passers-by, rather than being reviled for its alleged lack of anything resembling a brain.
In Cotswoldia, we can reinstate our own border controls, banning the shoplifters and burglars from Swindon and Bristol who are responsible for 90% of our current crime. We can impose limits on second home ownership so that our villages don’t stand empty and lifeless during the week. Yes, I know that they’re said to contribute to our economy, but do they really? I’ve seen them turn up on a Friday night with their bags of shopping from Waitrose in Kensington. And what they do spend locally goes to the theme park that is Daylesford (£139 for a chopping board? No problem). The best we can hope for is a patronising Sunday lunchtime visit to the local: “A flagon of your foaming ale, my good man. And do you by any chance serve wine for the ladies?”
So they’re history - the refurbished mansions behind electric gates compulsory purchased by the council, sold off to people who will actually live in them, and with all profits going towards building affordable housing for young locals.
In Cotswoldia we’d be self-sufficient in food and drink. We already produce wonderful meat, vegetables, milk, cheese, oil and eggs; wine, beer, cider and even gin. The only thing we seem not to grow is cauliflower, but that shortage can soon be remedied by getting Nigel Farage to negotiate us a trade deal with Lincolnshire.
Mega supermarkets would be banned with car parking built on redundant sites. And instead of those Boris bikes, we’d have sit-up-and-beg Burford bikes, complete with wicker basket, free for public use. We could even have trains on restored lines running between Tetbury and Cirencester. Buses that actually go to the villages where people most need them. A proper airport at Kemble where they don’t charge you an exorbitant fee for dropping off a passenger or using a luggage trolley.
We could even use our wider muscle and influence to reverse the charges on the Severn Bridge – you’d pay to get out of Wales, not to enter – and we could insist that Gloucester Services were the only catering company allowed to run roadside cafes (apart from Jolly Nice on the A419 or the Cotswold Diner at Severn Springs).
So join me, comrades. Let your voices ring out: “Viva the revolution. Viva the Republic. Viva Cotswoldia!”
Follow Mike on Twitter! @cotslifeeditor