Current Essays

Run your cursor gently over Rowie's ear to 'ear the essay.

Scots Wha' Hae or Nae On:2014-09-21 12:07:00

As I'm writing this I don't know if Scotland has voted for independence or not, but you, lucky people, being up-when of me have all the facts—but it doesn't really matter what you know, or what happened, or how they voted, or indeed anything, because the floodgates are obviously swinging wide open (or whatever it is floodgates do) and this is merely one more tentative step (or one more demure hiccough) on a road that started way back around 1920 with a dose of un-Irishing and of late has accelerated, via some really rather irrelevant empire-sloughing, to our modern paroxysms of devolution.

You see Scotland was already quite devolved even before the current kerfuffle, and even poor little Wales has got into the act (the Act in question being the Government of Wales Act of 1998). And now, faced with a potentially scarpering Scotland, the politicians in Westminster are promising gobs more devolution for Scotland if it promises not to run away entirely, and more for for Wales, and even, rather surprisingly, some for England, presumably on the grounds that Home Rule for England would be ridiculous. And not only England as a whole, but they are now talking about regional devolution within England.

Now I come from East Anglia, which is that bump on the right-hand side, on the east coast out into the North Sea: the one that balances Wales and stops the country tipping over and everyone sliding off into the Irish Sea and drowning. So, as an East Anglian, and one by birth at that, I welcome this, and I say ‘East Anglia for the East Anglians!’ Kick out the foreigners! Damn those damned Saxons from Essex! And Middlesex! And Wessex!
Indeed just as soon as I’ve finished this essay I’m off to found the East Anglian Liberation Army and to set up an East Anglian government in Exile her in Textile— I-I mean in Texas!

You see back in the really good, really old days, before those vile Vikings and their descendants the nasty Normans mucked things up, back when Cædmon’s Hymn was top of the hit parade, and Beowulf was newly on the best-sellers list. Back in what they used to call, The Heptarchy (though of course no one actually called it that anywhere near The Heptarchy itself, for reasons that probably won’t become apparent in a while).

Ah! The Heptarchy!
The name ‘Heptarchy’ of course comes from the Greek ἑπτά hepta, "seven" and ἄρχω arkho, "to rule” and refers to that glorious period when the English (and a few odd other bods) had just taken over the Britannia that had been so cruelly left without proper rulers by the retreating Romans, and had set up, as the name suggests, the Kingdoms of  East Anglia, Mercia, Northumbria and Wessex…


Well, and, then the people who like the term ‘The Heptarchy’ traditionally have to add Essex, Kent and Sussex to these four, so they can be a bit more honest. But then in reality there were loads of other kingdoms at various times with a total (once you realise that Northumbria was really Bernicia and Deira) of 21, which is only three times seven, so that’s OK!
And that glorious state, or all twenty-one of them, is the obvious natural state for England and the collection of states it would happily fall into given the chance—and Scotland, and Wales, and Ireland similarly fragment just as naturally and probably just as happily.

As Americans we can think of it as States Rights on steroids.
Think of lots of Texases, only colder and wetter.

Now by the time you hear this (time and radio being what they are) it’ll all be over for the Scotland Referendum and either it will have failed miserably (by a tiny percent) and they’ll be sadly still joined at the hip to the Auld Enemy, or Scotland will be (by a whisker of a majority) whimpering into unhappy existence as a separate country with borders, and customs, and immigration controls, and a DMZ, and cattle raiding across those barbed wire borders, and my mother (who Scottish in spite of living most of her life in England) interned has an enemy alien… and invasion plans already being made in Whitehall and, and… and we know it won’t make a ha’p’orth of difference don’t we..   
Of course in the unlikely event of the Scots soundly rejecting independence all I can say is ‘Never mind… just ignore this essay’


Cheerio for now
from Richard Howland-Bolton


Here's a list of Heptarchy period kingdoms

Ēast Engla Rīce
Miercna Rīce
Beornice - Norþhymbra Rīce
Derenrice - Norþhymbra Rīce
Ēast Seaxna Rīce
Cantaware Rīce
Sūþseaxna Rīce
Iclingas Rīce
Middil Engli
Middil Seaxna

and I think I might have missed one???

<-- Go Back

Home | Essays | Notes | Gallery | Miscellany | Contact

All contents including writing, cartooning, music, and photography unless otherwise specified are
copyright © 1965-2022 and Richard Howland-Bolton. All Rights Reserved.
All logos and trademarks on this site are property of their respective owners.
Web work* by
*as distinct from Wetwork