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Petition argues that northern English cities ‘feel far greater affinity with their Scottish counterparts than with ideologies of London-centric south’.
The petition argues that cities such as Manchester (pictured above) have much more in common with Glasgow and Edinburgh than those in the south of England. Photograph: Christopher Thomond for the Guardian.
More than 12,000 people have signed a petition demanding the north of England break away from the “London-centric south” and join a new Scotland.
The petition says the northern English cities “feel far greater affinity with their Scottish counterparts such as Glasgow and Edinburgh than with the ideologies of the London-centric south” and demands secession from the UK.
Signatures to the Change.org petition were rising rapidly on Thursday before a visit to Manchester by George Osborne, the chancellor, and the only MP in the new Conservative cabinet with a northern English constituency.
Osborne, MP for Tatton in Cheshire, is expected to set out his plans to offer northern cities more powers if they accept elected mayors as part of his “northern powerhouse” vision. Earlier this week the prime minister appointed the Stockton South MP, James Wharton, to be minister for the “northern powerhouse”, which is a non-cabinet role.
The petition suggests the map of the UK be redrawn, extending Scotland’s southern borders along a line that runs between the mouth of the Humber and the Dee, which flows east from Wales via Chester and discharges to the sea between Wales and the Wirral peninsula in England.
“New Scotland” would see Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Newcastle and the rest of the north of England ruled from Edinburgh instead of London, with the Scottish National party holding the reins. The SNP won 56 out of the 59 Scottish seats in Westminster last week, leaving the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats with just one each.
The petition was started last year during the Scottish referendum campaign but lay dormant following the no vote.
It has received a new lease of life in the last week since the Conservatives won a majority in the general election, more than doubling the number of signatures in the past few days. The performance of the SNP’s Nicola Sturgeon in the first leaders’ debate impressed many voters in England, who took to Google to ask if they could vote for her party despite living south of the border.
Started by a pun-lover called “Stu Dent”, who claims to be in Sheffield, the petition says: “The needs and challenges of the north cannot be understood by the endless parade of old Etonions [sic] lining the frontbenches of the House of Commons. The north of England should join the newly independent Scotland and regain control over its own destiny. We, the people of the north, demand that in the event that Scotland becomes independent the border between England and the New Scotland be drawn along a line that runs between the river Dee and the mouth of the Humber.”
The Manchester Evening News has received the idea with great enthusiasm, coming up with a list of of reasons for and against Manchester joining Scotland. While the paper is likes the idea of a Caledonian-Mancunian cuisine mashup – “deep fried Bury black pudding anyone?” – and thinks the Loch Ness monster could enjoy a change of scenery by swimming in Heaton Park. But it doesn’t fancy swapping a good old Madchester rave for a ceilidh: “Gay Gordons? No, ta. We’ve got the Bez dance.”
Author: Lyn Gardner