In recent weeks pressure has been mounting on the coalition government to acknowledge escalating demand for regional autonomy. No, we’re not referring to the wild imaginings of our whisky swigging cousins to the north - until they elect Mel Gibson as PM they’ve got no chance. What we’re talking about is a very credible application for the establishment of an independent state at the very heart of the capital.
The intriguing proposal, delivered yesterday to the Commons for review, calls for the UK government to recognise the legitimacy of a new British Autonomous Region of Hackney (better known as Bar-H by those in the know). Stood uncomfortably against the garishly opulent surroundings of Westminster, grounded spokesperson, $epiahype, issued a charismatic plea, requesting a “timely and just transferral of absolute political and fiscal responsibility to a community elected council”. She continued, “All we want is the freedom and authority to protect and preserve our unique and vibrant culture.”
So, what can we expect from Bar-H should the campaigners’ plans find success in next Wednesday’s scheduled parliamentary debate? Well, HIP$TERs (Hackney Independent Peoples’ $ Territory Enclave Residents), as they refer to themselves, had already made their manifesto available through exclusive pre-release 12” vinyl months ago, though they will be disseminating a digital copy in the coming days for the stragglers. But if you didn’t know where to get your hands on this little gem - which poignantly offsets its rousing political prose to a tumultuous, yet oddly soothing, slant on a range of tracks from David Bowie’s back catalogue - here are the crucial details:
Strict immigration policy: With conformity essential, examinations will assess fashion consciousness and require a list of favourite music labels, directors and blogs from each applicant.
Free Market Economy: The region will be founded upon outside investment from retiring relatives, so no need to tax!
No Child Policy: No children, unless born to a HIP$TER partnership (though it is recommended that in this instance you move to the peripheries).
All clothes should be recycled, or at least appear to be.
Independent thought is not to be encouraged. This cannot be reiterated enough despite a communal habit of suggesting otherwise.
These parameters all appear well considered, but how realistic are the demands for secession? The area, like much of London, has been home to decades of culture-rousing immigration which has flooded the borough with a diverse array of markets, musicians, restaurants and independent stores. Yet, what has really improved the area is the most recent influx of deep pocketed arts students and paradigm shifting left-wing-entrepreneurial types. These settlers, unlike their cumbersome predecessors, have arrived with excellent financial backing from the Home Counties and Cotswolds. This emergence of greater prosperity, not to mention, wealth of intellectualism and artistic flair, has really set Hackney apart from the rest of London and makes autonomy an entirely plausible reality.
HIP$TER, Maxx’87 told us, “It used to be a bit scabby ‘round here, but in a sort of, unintentional way. You know? Like, loads of kids and families too. But things have been getting better recently. If we get autonomy, we’ll really go from strength to strength as a community.”
So, Bar-H sounds like it could be a roaring success. Ambitious, young back benchers are in agreement too. An official statement from the office of junior MP, James Burbage reads, “I think they could be onto something with this devolutionary thing, it’s great value for the taxpayer. They’ve got my vote.”
A major sticking point in the negotiations, however, may be the “Shoreditch situation.” The coveted postcode currently belongs to Tower Hamlets but is claimed to be spiritually and culturally tied to Bar-H. Only time will tell as to how events will unfold.