In the News: Blast from the Past

With news of a ‘double-dip’ recession set to hit the UK and worrying news from the Eurozone coming with no end in sight, it’s not surprising that some in England are looking for a new source of political inspiration. Their choice of models, however, is very surprising. Check out this link to read about how a group of concerned citizens in England are seeking to revive what they see as the golden age of local political engagement–the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Merica!

BBC–Is it time to get Anglo-Saxon about England’s local government?


5 thoughts on “In the News: Blast from the Past

  1. I do not know the English reality that much, but the ideas of local-based decision-making and of environment-friendly redistributive-development sound not bad at all to me! So, irrespectively of how real the “Marcian” representation of the Anglo-Saxon past is, it is important that it helps the locals project their future as a repetition of a brilliantly imagined past!

    • I agree that the idea of living life in a more local and engaged way sounds very appealing. As the article notes, however, past democracies are never quite as we expect them. I would guess, for example, that the idea of all men having an equal voice would have been just as foreign to those living in mediaeval Mercia as those who lived in Ancient Greece, and that neither ‘democratic’ system had a formal place for women.
      What I found so interesting in this case is how England’s Anglo-Saxon past continues to shape people’s identity. Incidentally, it was the Mercian dialect which J.R.R. Tolkien used as the language of Rohan in Lord of the Rings, which demonstrates its powerful hold on the modern imagination.

  2. For sure the key notion here is “imagination”.
    Reminds me a bit, though, of the 1st of May 1968 slogan “Imagination takes power”, if one wants to remain optimistic and in timely manner with the festal day of coming Tuesday!

  3. Wow, that really is interesting/nuts! I’m as sceptical as Professor Innes. I can buy that there’s a smidgeon of victor’s history, but wasn’t Mercia part of England for 100 years before the Norman Conquest? (Poor Athelstan)

    I’m not surprised there are more places called Mercia than Midland: it’s just sounds better.

    • Yes, Mercia suffered quite heavily from Viking attacks, allowing Alfred’s dynasty from Wessex to expand well beyond it’s borders, so that by 1066 ‘England’ as we define it today was pretty recognisable.

      I agree that Mercia sounds better, but I think there is something here about finding it more available as an identity. Midlands, after all, just means you’re neither here nor there.

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