We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Restore the heptarchy!

For the unlettered among you, the heptarchy is a collective name for the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, Dorne, the Kingdom of the Isles and Rivers, the Kingdom of Monuntain and Vale, the Kingdom of the North, the Westerlands or Kingdom of the Rock, the Kingdom of the Reach, and the Kingdom of the Stormlands …

Bzzzt! Reset!

The heptarchy is a collective name for “the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of south, east, and central England during late antiquity and the early Middle Ages, conventionally identified as seven: Northumbria, Mercia, East Anglia, Essex, Kent, Sussex, and Wessex. The Anglo-Saxon kingdoms eventually unified into the Kingdom of England.”

Like you care? You should. Following the vow made to the Scots by David Cameron in order to win the referendum of devo max to the limit of my credit card, the West Lothian question has come back to bite him.

The West Lothian question is easy to ask and almost impossible to answer. As posed in 1977 by Tam Dalyell, former MP for the Scottish constituency, it demands to know why MPs from Scotland (and now Wales and Northern Ireland) should be able to vote on issues such as health and education that affect England when English MPs have no power to vote on social and other policies that are devolved to the parliament in Edinburgh (and now also the assemblies in Cardiff and Belfast).

Because welfare issues are devolved, members of the Westminster parliament elected from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have no power to decide how these policies should affect their constituents; ironically, they can vote only on welfare issues as they affect constituencies in England.

One solution to this might be simply to have the same type of devolution for England as is already present for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. (Yes, I know that the arrangements for all three regions differ, but I’m just thinking in broad terms.) The trouble with that is that England has a population of 53 million as against Scotland’s five million, Wales’ three million and Northern Ireland’s 1.6 million. Quoting the same Guardian article by Joshua Rozenberg on the West Lothian question as above,

Vernon Bogdanor, research professor at the Institute of Contemporary British History at King’s College London, pointed out recently: “There is no federal system in the world in which one unit represents more than 80% of the population … Federations in which the largest unit dominated, such as the USSR, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia, have not been successful.” He also points out that there would be little appetite for a new English parliament, separate from Westminster.

So maybe we could split England up into smaller electoral regions for the purpose of voting on English matters? It has been tried. Almost nobody wanted it. Only the proposed North East England Regional Assembly ever appeared to have anything like enough support for anyone even to bother putting it to a vote, and the proposal was decisively rejected. The main reason for that rejection was that voters saw it as just another layer of politicians and bureaucrats whose salaries and fancy offices would have to be paid for out of their taxes. A less well-articulated but still significant reason was the feeling that it was all a plot to Balkanize England hatched by the European Union and England’s oikophobic elite. Which it was, though probably not one made consciously. Yet another reason was that the proposed regions were cultivated in a petri dish and hatched from a test tube. Many have loved the north east of England but nobody has ever loved “North East England”. No poet has ever penned such stirring lyrics as “To arms, citizens! Will ye stand back when enemies imperil our Regional Unit?”

It is an attractive idea to bring back the traditional counties of England. It is also an attractive idea to dig up the body of the man who abolished them, Edward Heath, and stick his head on a pike, but that won’t happen either. The counties are just too small.

So if we are to have petty kingdoms, let them at least be kingdoms. Men have loved the Kingdom of Mercia. Men have died for the Kingdom of East Anglia – notably at the hands of men of Mercia, but there you go. Men of all the ancient nations of the Saxon have followed the greatest of the Kings of Wessex to glorious victory against the Vikings. Divide and conquer that, Eurocrats! Also it would serve the Vikings right for subjecting me to all those irritating pictorial instructions.

Sorry, Scotland, I’m afraid that the contemporary Kingdom of Strathclyde will not be restored to the full extent of its ancient holdings where they stretch into modern England. As in post-colonial Africa, for the avoidance of bloodshed the external borders established by the imperialism of the Kingdom of Alba must remain in place. Whether Scotland should restore its own ancient sub-kingdoms within its present borders is naturally a devolved matter.

42 comments to Restore the heptarchy!

  • Alsadius

    “Traditional counties of England” is a bad link – I think you’re missing the http://

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    Thanks, Alsadius. Link now corrected.

  • ed in texas

    Once people get settled in what they do day to day, it becomes a nightmare to try get them to change something as trivial as their phone area code.

  • There are a couple of other bad links there, but a great post nonetheless. It will be very interesting (in either good or bad sense of the word) to see how things unfold from now on.

  • Friday Night Smoke

    No, no, no, no; there’s something especially tedious about ‘Traditional Counties’ debates. It’s a few short steps to insisting that one lives in Middlesex, or that there’s some kind of ‘Brummie plot’ to take over Wolverhampton.

  • DICK R

    The traditional counties should be restored just to emphasise ,this IS England and be given the old limited powers they once had .
    But they must not be a substitute for a properly elected parliament elected specifically for England .
    We must not be fobbed off with English voting at Westminster , that would just be the same old faces ,saying the same ,secure in their seats,looking after their careers.
    A true English parliament with no formal whipping on Party lines , no expenses , no allowances , no quangos , no committees with a three year term is I think the ideal!

  • Sean McCartan

    Some amiable old eccentric contacted the Any Answers phone-in on BBC Radio 4 to suggest his solution to the vexed question of post -referendum government : the return of something called “Saxland” , allegedly the fiefdom of one of those Edgar the Unethelred type petty kings in the southern England of the 9th century. Instead of getting him off air quick sharp , Anita Anand asked him to explain how this concept would apply in a modern context. Big mistake.

  • Snorri Godhi

    First of all, I resent the dig at the Vikings. Not that i don’t admire Alfred: it is Great to be able to stand up to us.

    Coming to the substance of this post: the English heptarchy existed at a time when the population of England was much smaller. To have government close to the people, the counties would be more appropriate, ie comparable in population to Swiss cantons. The optimal size of governmental units is of course a difficult issue.

    One advantage of the heptarchy is that most of the large metropolitan areas are at the boundaries of the old kingdoms, so that they can be made into semi-independent city-states. The major exceptions are Birmigham and Newcastle.

    Of course Cornwall and part of Cumbria fall outside the original heptarchy; so a modern heptarchy would have to be augmented by London, Liverpool/Manchester/Leeds/Sheffield (jointly or severally), Cornwall, and perhaps Birmingham, Newcastle, and Cumbria.

  • Alastair

    It seems to me that the politicians are making it complex for no reason at all. Keep It Simple Stupid. Abolish MSPs, members of the Welsh Assembly and members of the assembly in Stormont. Break up all Government Departments into four national parts except for the Ministry of Defence and the Foreign Office and a much smaller Treasury. Have a normal general election. The MPs elected in Scotland will spend most of their time in the Scottish Parliament doing whatever they want in relation to anything except matters of Foreign Affairs (including international trade) and Defence; the Welsh MPs will do the same in the Welsh Assembly; the Northern Irish MPs in Stormont and the English MPs in Westminster. All MPs will come to Westminster for debates on Foreign Affairs and Defence and once a year to agree the budget for those departments, that budget being split between the four nations howsoever the joint British Parliament so chooses. Each nation can raise the tax to pay its contribution to that budget howsoever they see fit. Since, unfortunately, no one is going to abolish the Bank of England any time soon the joint parliament would also need to meet for any bills relating to its powers. There would also be committees, with membership proportional to the population of each nation, to hold the Governor of the Bank to account and similarly for Foreign Affairs and Defence. The members of that committee from each nation would be chosen by the members of the national parliaments howsoever they saw fit. With a bit of investment in modern video conferencing technology it might even be possible for the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish MPs to never come to Westminster but just join debates “virtually”. In normal circumstances the English Prime Minister would also be the British Prime Minister and would appoint a British Foreign Minister and Minister of Defence as well as junior ministers for those departments and they would represent the nation as a whole in international matters (including trade negotiations – unfortunately the UK would need to remain a customs union). In the rare circumstances that the largest Party in England was not also the largest party in the joint British Parliament then depending on votes of no confidence in the Joint Parliament there may be occasions when the English Prime Minister and the British Prime Minister were not the same individual.

    Writing the bill for this could easily be done by February and if this Parliament wouldn’t vote for it then the Conservatives should go into the next election with this as a manifesto pledge. If none of the other parties fell into line the Tories might even win a few more seats in the minority nations. Clearly there would be a transition period for breaking up the civil service into pieces, but that is no reason to stop the individual nations starting to pass laws. There would need to be some temporary basis for funding allocation. Where the departments already have national shared services for various operational and back office matters then the minority nations could choose to subcontract services from the English departments or set up their own. One other little tweak. For votes in the joint British parliament, the votes of the MPs for each nation would be counted collectively in proportion to the population of each nation. This would mean that the nations could choose to change the number and boundaries of constituencies howsoever they saw fit without that changing the proportion of their votes in the joint Parliament. England can then choose at any point in the future to break itself up into regions if it chooses. Simples. Of course it won’t happen – but not because it’s difficult.

  • Niall Kilmartin

    Fun though it might be to regress 1000 years, Scotland’s attempt to regress 300 years is not the best reason for imitating her. It’s true that before Aethelread the Unready (no more ready to deal with invading Scots than anything else), my home town of Edinburgh was the northernmost city of England. And those Strathclyde borders that concern you (along with much of the territory north of the border) were an award by Aedgar the peaceful (think: Peace through superior axe-wielding) in exchange for the King of Scots promising to be his “fellow-worker”. To make sure said King understood what “fellow-worker” meant, Aedgar took him for a boat ride on the Dee: Aedgar steered and the King of Scots rowed.

    However I stand by my comment to Perry’s September 18th post. Anything that increases the number of politicians and parliaments is not a good idea. A single distributed parliament, in which the MPs vote on local affairs separately and come together – either physically or in a sudden emergency by videoconference – to vote on all-UK affairs, will generate fewer pointless regulations than one parliament voting on UK-wide rules all the time while others vote on local affairs all the time.

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    I didn’t actually say anything about heptarchic parliaments, Niall. I said, let us restore the kingdoms. With kings*. As a sop to modern democratic sentiment, the succession could be decided by that fine Gaelic tradition of tanistry. As for disputes between them, there is much to be said for another fine old tradition, that the king should adventure his royal person in battle or single combat.

    *As vassals to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, or Her Grace Elizabeth I, Queen of Scots as she would be addressed down your way.

  • PersonFromPorlock

    Well, English specifics aside, let me offer my sovereign solution to burgeoning governments everywhere: all government buildings to be of the prefabricated steel kind, with thermostats set to 65 degrees.

    Distant employee parking lots with 80% of the needed capacity, for extra points.

  • John de Melle

    It was actually Enoch Powell, responding to Dalyell, who said “Let us call it the West Lothian Question”, giving a name to a problem that has vexed politicians for decades.


  • Paul Marks

    The leftist establishment (the BBC, the academics, and so on) love the idea of splitting up England into “regions”.

    Labour and the Lib Dems (and some pathetic “Wet” Conservative party members) want “Greater Manchester” (or whatever) to have wider powers – more taxes, more spending, more regulations (“oh no – just local control”, pull-the-other-one-it-has-got-bells-on).

    “Regional government” or “Super Cities” (or whatever) would be an utter and complete nightmare.

  • Gareth

    The guardian article says

    He also points out that there would be little appetite for a new English parliament, separate from Westminster.

    I expect this is only true if the option is for Westminster to remain the same bloated and unaccountable mess it is now and try and squeeze in another bloated England mess underneath it. An English parliament wouldn’t just put England on a par with the other nations it would justify a radical slimming down of Westminster as it would have significantly less business to attend to.

    Perhaps even as a cost effective measure, have Westminster for England and British MPs can sit somewhere cheaper, smaller and easier to overlook, especially if it wasn’t in London. Paid for by Kickstarter or some other form of public subscription rather than a blank cheque carbuncle that is late, over budget, shit and invokes Parkinson’s other law.

  • Nico

    What Alastair said.

  • While sitting in the tub I sometimes wonder what an independent Kingdom of Kent with no welfare, minimal taxation and open borders might look like. That mess at Calais would probably decamp to the gates of London, as an added bonus.

  • Phil B

    I disagree with Alistair – sorting out the “as they see fit” would tempt the MPs in a committee deciding how it is going to turn out to produce a camel when the design brief was a horse.

    As an example, I am in New Zealand where we pay for our rubbish by volume. It’s easy – you buy special orange plastic bags from the supermarket printed with the council logo and instructions. The rubbish disposal people will only pick up rubbish in those bags.

    Contrast that with the UK where the councils want to introduce wheelie bins with microchips, laser guided and satellite tracked with a solar panel to power the stuff and THEN bill you for the weight of household rubbish …

    Which system with the English parliament/regional assembly/grand panjandrum resemble? Answers on the back of a postcard to the usual address …

    No – an easier solution is to introduce a one line law:

    “An MP can ONLY vote on matters that affect his constituents”.

    Job done and no extra layer(s) of bureaucracy.

    But I have a hundred quid to a pinch of pigshit to 100 that says that Cameron will come up with something more complex than the Hadron collider and twice as expensive to implement.

  • Laird

    A couple of questions about the map included in the Wikipedia article Natalie linked:

    > The description of the heptarchy includes “Sussex”, but I can’t find it anywhere on that map. Is it the region called “East Saxon” or “West Wales”?

    > You mentioned that a portion of Strathclyde lies in what is now England, and so would not be ceded to Scotland in this Grand Heptarchic Restoration. Presumably the southern portion would be snipped off and appended to one of the contiguous kingdoms. But Northumbria extends all the way up to the Firth of Forth, which is well into what is contemporary Scotland. Would that portion be snipped off, too, and ceded to Scotland?

  • Pardone

    Certainly, Manchester and Birmingham should have separate powers, given that Westminster is utterly incompetent at running anything outside of metropolitan Londonistan (aka Wall Sina). Britain’s civil service, largely consisting of people with no knowledge or grasp of the real world.

    One final note; Kowloon, the Walled City, managed just fine without any kind of government, disproving the Westminster’s hierarchical police state mentality. Indeed, the Triads of Kowloon and its communities were far more competent than any of the limp-wristed pen-pushing British civil servants who can’t run a bath.

  • Turk Stinker

    Because welfare issues are devolved, members of the Westminster parliament elected from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have no power to decide how these policies should affect their constituents; ironically, they can vote only on welfare issues as they affect constituencies in England.

    Whenever the West Lothian question is brought up, I always think “Why don’t they just abstain?” Possibly this is naive of me.

    I forget who mentioned it – and I simply refuse to scroll up again and check – but the idea of having the English sit at Westminster, with Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland sitting at their own parliaments, and all of them convening at Westminster for the national stuff is an elegant one.

    But British and English Prime Ministers being different people is quite likely, and, though I don’t know exactly how, I suspect that it might end up a right bloody mess when it happens.

    Find a way to deal with that, and ensure that the boundaries between British and sub-British matters are firmly demarcated, and I think you’ve got yourselves a winner.

    Or bring back the heptarchy, whatever. I nominate myself for King of Mercia. I think I’m well-suited to the role: I’d be comfortable with sponging off the taxpayer, and equally comfortable maintaining an opulent lifestyle. And I’m quite useless!

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)


    With the understanding that I only know any of this from Wikipedia, it seems that the borders of the Kingdom of Sussex, though shifting, surrounded a fairly stable core area approximately overlapping the modern county of Sussex, i.e. where the words “South Saxons” are on the map. However for a time Sussex did also include the Isle of Wight in modern-day Hampshire. For a while it was dominated by the West Saxons. Eventually it was absorbed by Wessex.

    But Northumbria extends all the way up to the Firth of Forth, which is well into what is contemporary Scotland. Would that portion be snipped off, too, and ceded to Scotland?

    Curses, someone noticed my scheme of annexation by stealth! I always feared that an alert Laird might foil my cunning plan!

  • Vinegar Joe

    Don’t forget the Duchy of West Staines.

  • Mr Ed

    The UK Parliament already has rules for the House of Commons (and not the Lords) voting on Money Bills (for tax) and the Speaker of the House of Commons has the final say in what is and is not a Money Bill. It would be simple for future Bills to be designated ‘UK’ Bills, ‘England’ Bills or, say, ‘England and Scotland’ Bills, perhaps certified by the Speaker and two of his Deputies as a safeguard, and this could be in place by Tuesday.

    Of course, the other question is why should the jHuse of Lords vote on anything? It is a ‘political retirement’ home for political hacks who have lost elections or don’t want to take the risk of faing them.

  • Keith

    The problem is not the legislature but the executive. English votes for English bills is relatively easy to implement but what about ministers ? Suppose Labour form the UK government but the Tories have the English majority then who appoints the Secretary of State for Education ?

  • Snorri Godhi

    It’s quite simple, really:
    East Saxons = Essex;
    South Saxons = Sussex;
    West Saxons = Wessex.
    The odd one out is Essex: the only Saxon kingdom north of the Thames.

    The only non-Saxon (Jutish) kingdom south of the Thames was Kent.
    The remaining 3 northern kingdoms were populated by Angles. (Anglish?)

  • Laird

    Natalie, the two northernmost kingdoms could simply swap that portion of Strathclyde which is south of the England/Scotland border for that portion of Northumbria which is north of the border (which seem to be of approximately the same size) and your plan would be accomplished without any “stealth annexation” by either country. But what do you do with that region identified on the old map as “West Wales”? Annex it to Wessex?

    Snorri’s explanation makes perfect sense. The only small problem is that those the lines dividing those three areas aren’t clearly shown on the Wikipedia map. But then he confuses me again with a reference to “Essex” which isn’t on the map at all.

    I would nominate myself as king of Strathclyde. Aside from being the lovliest part of Scotland it’s where all the historical conflict has occurred. It would be best to have a neutral party overseeing the borders region! And I possess all the same qualifications as Turk Stinker.

  • Nous sommes tous des Anglo-Saxon Allemandes !

  • Mr Ed


    Suppose Labour form the UK government but the Tories have the English majority then who appoints the Secretary of State for Education ?

    The SoS for Education in England would be a Conservative appointment, the devolved (de-evolved?) other parts of the UK could have their own ‘SoSs’ for their carved-out responsibilities after the requisite administrative surgery, and pay for them if they want to pay.

    Perhaps a bit like Australia with its Federal government and state/territory governments but with one set of politicians forming the two layers. If it slows the blighters down whilst they work out what they can or can’t do, that might be a good thing.

  • Snorri Godhi


    Suppose Labour form the UK government but the Tories have the English majority then who appoints the Secretary of State for Education ?


    The SoS for Education in England would be a Conservative appointment

    What does it mean “a Conservative appointment”? Appointed by the Leader of the Opposition? the person who led the Tories in the election would presumably resign after losing the election; so the SoS for Education should be chosen by English voters at 3rd remove? (Chosen by someone chosen by the MPs the English voters elected.)

  • Mr Ed

    Snorri. It would be quite like the French co-habitation when a Socialist President has a Gaullist Prime Minister who has the support of the National Assembly, or vv.

    The general election throws up MPs of various parties, the federal UK matters (defence, foreign affairs, border control, excise duties etc.) are run by the party or coalition with an absolute majority of MPs, the devolved matters go to the majority for the devolved country. At present in the UK you vote for an individual as an MP, who that MP follows as his party leader plays a role in who the Queen appoints as Prime Minister, and the Prime Minister appoints UK government department ministers.

    An English First Minister would appoint Ministers for the English ministries. Whether the English FM is UK PM is a matter of UK Parliamentary arithmetic, nothing more. The UK Parliament can levy a defence precept for the costs of the Armed Forces, the Foreign Office is a fax machine and clerk, with travel insurance replacing consulates.

  • Sturk Plinker

    Perhaps a bit like Australia with its Federal government and state/territory governments but with one set of politicians forming the two layers.

    Just to point out, the two layers are made up of two separate groups of politicians.

    And despite the constitution pretty clearly delineating the “Legislative Powers of the [Commonwealth] Parliament”, with those powers not mentioned (“residual powers”) being presumed to be the purview of the states (http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/cth/consol_act/coaca430/s51.html), over time the federal government has gradually usurped the state governments in as many areas as it can.

    Generally speaking, taxes are levied by the Commonwealth, and then distributed to the states to be spent on hospitals, schools, environmental outreach officers, etc. But the Commonwealth can and does attach conditions to its granting of money, and thus exercises a degree of control over what ought properly to be state policy.

    Wikipedia tells me this is called a “vertical fiscal imbalance”, and ought to be avoided when designing a new Federal Britain, or New Heptarchy.

    (Is it a new heptarchy? Or were the last thousand years just the longest interregnum ever?)

  • Snorri Godhi

    Mr Ed: let me get this straight. Under the current system, if the Tories lose the next election, Cameron will presumably resign before he is kicked out.
    Is your proposal that he should stay on as First Minister of England if the Tories win a majority of English seats?
    Would the Party let him stay on as Leader?

  • Robbins Mitchell

    Well,I suppose I had better get Excalibur out of the closet and polish her up a bit….things could get a little ragged around the edges with talk like this

  • RebeccaH

    As an American (with a hugely Scottish/border country inheritance, among others … and yes, I’m a multi-generational American mongrel, why do you ask?), I never had a real dog in the English/Scottish fight. But, as an American, whose nation is made up with incredibly disparate human ethnicities in all skin colors, religious persuasions, and unrelated languages, I’ve never understood this persistent feud between peoples (English, Scottish, Welsh, Irish) who are almost genetically indistinguishable. It sort of speak

    That said, I’m not arguing against nationalism. I don’t think the world is ready yet for homogenization. But it should be ready for rational historic and economic cooperation.

  • Ed


    Splitting England into 7 is nothing more than a panic attack from the Scottish nationalists, who have just realized how much more likely they’ve made the Province of England in a federal UK, and that it would dominate the country much more than New York State and California together dominate the US, and much more than Ontario and Quebec together dominate Canada.

    This is one of the most classic “whoops!” moments I’ve ever seen!

    Own the failure, Salmond!

    Hee hee!

  • Mr Ed


    I have no proposals to make to Mr Cameron that do not involve a bucket of warm….

    However, the system in the UK is that the Prime Minister is the one who commands a majority of the House of Commons, I see no reason why that should not be carried over to the ‘English’ Ministries and the First Minister would be whoever had the support of a majority of ‘English’ MPs. If Mr Cameron were to lose the UK election, in part due to his (deliberate?) failure to redraw parliamentary boundaries, then he might well resign or be pushed, but that would be a matter for his party alone.

  • Watchman

    Just to note that there never was a single point when there was the classical heptarchy – which ignores the Kingdom of the Hwicce in the Severn Valley anyway.

    Although Cumbria was clearly part of Northumbria (which stretched from the Ribble or Mersey (take your pick…) to Ayr on the west coast at its maximum extent – Carlisle was a Northumbrian city, and Whithorn in Galloway was a Northumbrian bishopric…

    I’m in favour of a bit more dramatic devolution though – one man, one government.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Mr Ed: you are still dodging my question, so let me give you my answer.
    Under the system that you suggest, if a UK majority for Labour were very likely, then i would never (in England) vote for the Tories at the next election.
    I would not vote Tory if Cameron were to stay on as First Minister, and i would not vote Tory if he were to be replaced by an as yet unknown entity.

    OTOH if the Tories put up a “ticket” of a PM and distinct First Minister, then i might well vote Tory, depending on the candidate First Minister.
    Best of all would be primary elections and/or or the direct election of the English First Minister.

  • Dale Amon

    You are re-discovering the reason for the American version of bi-cameralism. In a nation made up of States varying in population or land area by an order of magnitude or more, the solution was a lower house, Congress, made up of representatives of roughly equal numbers of citizens, and an upper house, the Senate, made up of two representatives of each State Government. Now we have managed to muck that up royally by making Senators directly elected rather than elected by the State House’s, but the concept is sound and covers the ground admirably.

  • James F

    I really like Alastair’s idea about one group of MPs that would all come together in the House of Commons to vote on certain “union” matters. I would go further and suggest that the House of Lords be retained but the concept of a lord changed. All the Life Peers would lose their titles (perhaps they could get a CBE for their troubles…) and a new set of temporary lords created, viz:

    Every local authority would have one of its elected councillors seconded to the House of Lords as Lord/Lady [authority name]. For example, Staffordshire County Council would send Cllr Joe Bloggs to London and he would sit in the House of Lords as “Lord Staffordshire” and represent the interests of that shire therein. Similarly, Cllr Mary Bloggs from Stoke on Trent would sit in the House of Lords as “Lady Stoke on Trent”. Thereby without paying for any additional persons there would be an upper chamber directly beholden to the English shires and boroughs who were individually dependent on the support of their colleagues on the council they represented (who could replace them at a special meeting if they wanted to with another of their number) and also their 3000 or so electors in their council ward.