- The Wessex Regionalist Party defends the interests of Wessex. That is our basic position. We have no automatic loyalty either to the United Kingdom or to the European Union: loyalty must be earned by actions. We do not accept that the interests of Wessex should be sacrificed to an alleged common good, whether English, British or European.
- Wessex Regionalists are not anti-European. Nor do we uncritically accept all that is done in the name of the European Union. Our aim is a decentralised Europe, a European confederation of small nations and historic regions that recognises our continent’s tremendous diversity as its greatest strength. We must limit the centralisation of powers both to Europe and to the current state capitals such as London and Paris. At the same time, we recognise that such a Europe, whose chief political units would be smaller than today’s nation-states, could not survive without common institutions to address the bigger economic, social and environmental problems we all face. Pollution, for example, is no respecter of frontiers. In a regionalised Europe, Wessex would be represented directly at European level; we would no longer have to rely on disinterested ministers from London to put our case for us.
- Our aim is to uphold the principle of subsidiarity, that nothing should be done at a higher level that cannot be done as effectively, or more effectively, at a lower level. Transfers of power upwards should always be subject to a referendum of those affected and must always be reversible. This is not the case with the existing European treaties and we demand that they be re-negotiated.
- The European Union is remote, unaccountable and dominated by vested economic interests – but the same criticisms can be levelled with at least equal force at our own institutions. Its record on environmental protection and social welfare legislation has put successive British governments to shame. Nevertheless, it has presided over colossal failures – the Common Agricultural Policy foremost among them – and radical reform of structures and priorities alike is long overdue.
- We reject the superstate model of the EU as over-centralised and conformist. The EU should address transnational ecological issues; safeguard basic human rights; regulate multinational companies; regionalise the European economy; redistribute resources within Europe and with the rest of the world; resolve disputes between member states and promote understanding between their peoples. Other issues, including trade and economic policy, should be left to the regions to deal with. They should co-operate on matters of shared concern with groups of like-minded regions free to reach agreements on particular issues – a multi-track Europe. This will be more important as the EU expands to the east.
- From 2002, euro notes and coins will be in circulation over most of the continent. We believe that the advantages and disadvantages of a single currency (and single interest rate) over such a large area should be fully tested before any decision is taken on the future of the pound. The euro may in time be superseded by a common global currency. The benefits of eliminating currency speculation would be significant but a single global currency for all transactions would not reflect the world’s economic diversity. We see a role for parallel, complementary regional currencies for transactions solely within each region.
A regionalist government in Wessex will:
- seek a Europe that recognises its enormous cultural diversity as a strength to be guarded, enhanced and harnessed through a constitutional recognition of historic regions such as Wessex
- seek a Europe that is democratic and accountable, with a clear division of responsibilities between the different levels of government, according to the principle of subsidiarity
- seek a Europe that works for the peoples of Europe, not big business
- seek a Europe that uses its immense economic and political power to promote social, economic and political justice throughout the world.
Meanwhile, the Wessex Regionalists will:
- oppose compulsory metrication and support the right of traders to choose whether to sell in metric or Imperial weights & measures
- seek representation in the European Parliament in order to put forward an alternative vision of Wessex in Europe
- campaign for the regional boundaries used for elections to the European Parliament to be re-drawn to include the whole of Wessex in one region rather than two.