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Self-rule for Norfolk could be one good thing to come out of Perplexit

PUBLISHED: 18:15 05 April 2019 | UPDATED: 12:42 07 April 2019

Norfolk glories on the wing as birds soar over Cley Marshes. Could home rule for the county be just over the horizon?

Norfolk glories on the wing as birds soar over Cley Marshes. Could home rule for the county be just over the horizon?

Archant

Is it time we had a referendum on Norfolk's future? Keith Skipper says it could be on the horizon

Perplexit, longest-running soap opera in the Westminster bubble since reality cameras were allowed in, could well provide a massive boost for the burgeoning movement dedicated to bringing self-rule to Nelson’s County.

Kirby Cane, leader of the Norfolk Independence Party, feels so much capital chaos over Europe must inspire enlightened parts with a strong sense of individual identity and purpose to produce their own parochially powerful agendas in time for the next general election.

His deputy, Lt Col Stratton Strawless, also defence spokesman who still favours a Norfolk Home Guard rather than a South-East Rapid Reaction Force independent of Nato, thundered: “We’ve had enough of politics of the mobile phone era, all preening and prattling with nothing of substance at the end of it.

“We seek loud, honest voices on a platform of proper principles and values. Our candidates will be truly local, born and raised in the constituency they want to represent. Our ambitions are geared to a way of life we want to protect”.

In an exclusive interview with me in their holiday cottage campaign headquarters just this side of Barney Brickworks, the pair were reluctant to reveal certain key planks in their platform because “the other parties will steal them and claim them as their own”.

They took over at the Nips helm over a decade ago when founder-leader Len Wade and his deputy Al Pington resigned to spend more time on their allotments and to wage opposition against plans for a Northern Distributor Road through Saham Toney and a “garden village” in the centre of Fakenham Racecourse.

A defiant Kirby Cane reminded me they called their prospective programme a “moanifesto” as it had become abundantly clear people prefer to vote against something rather than merely give it a seal of approval. “In this, at least, we feel it shrewd to follow national and international trends”.

A former education spokesman, he is anxious to usher in the first Singing Postman Academy to feature Squit and Proper Joined-up Writing on a new Norfolk Kerrickulum, with all trainee teachers encouraged to study the Boy John Letters and Harbert’s News from Dumpton in their dinner hours.

“I know some political commentators claim home rule for Norfolk is about as likely as Jacob Rees-Mogg turning up in jeans, tee shirt and baseball cap at a foodbank. But this movement with a Cromer crab as its symbol and the golden shores of independence as its goal is ready to make more of yesterday for our tomorrow”.

He confirmed Dick le Burgh has been persuaded to continue as ambassador to Southwold. “He’ll have no truck with daft devolution or regional assemblies, but it’s vital to keep dialogue going with places where they brew good beer”.

Other big names staying on the Nips executive include Major Blo’ Norton (wind turbine development), Lord Burston (public conveniences), Wal Cott (sea defences), Bess Ingham (women’s rights), Win Farthing (fiscal affairs), Brad Well (health), Daffy Green (environment) and Stan Hoe (agriculture).

Rising star Oliver Newton Flotman (think tank) and long-serving anti-tourist spokesman Hick Ling have been tasked with producing a new Norfolk logo, employing the mundane, the obvious and the annoying in a positive way.

Best ideas to counter the “cheap ruse” of using cosy traditional images like windmills, wherries and cathedral spires will go before a special meeting of the Nips Nimbie (Never in my bewtifully idyllic environment) sub-committee.

Early favourites include trundling tractor with exasperated queues behind, rural pensioner shaking stick and thumbing a lift, crowing cockerel in full cry on top of manure heap and country crossroads signpost with three arms missing.

The Nips are now playing it decidedly cool over any prospects of closer links with Suffolk despite signs of a bold new spirit of rapprochement breaking out a few years ago. There were encouraging noises from supremo Felix Stowe, his deputy Carlton Colville and party stalwart Earl Stonham, ambassador to Blakeney.

“Yes, we have certain virtues in common – real ale, durable dialect, cussed streaks and stirring sea breezes among them” admitted Kirby Cane. “Even so, it is vital to glory in our differences. Norfolk must never surrender its precious individual identity. If Suffolk has any sense, it will do precisely the same”.

I left with a battle cry from Lt Col Stratton Strawless ringing in my ears: “Away with Westminster hypocrisy and conniving! Norfolk has an inalienable right to complete autonomy! We are on our way!”

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