Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Anti-Labour Site Skwawkbox Boosts Northern Independence Party.

with 19 comments

Seal, Stoat, Ferret, Whippet, or Polecat: Northern Independence Party Boosted by Weasel Walker.

From their website –
“Northumbria was a historical kingdom, formed when Deira and Bernicia merged in the 7th century. It means ‘North of the Humber’, and covers much of the area we now consider ‘the North’. We have chosen this name because this period was the last time the North was united in an independent country.”


Thelma Walker, the former Labour MP and now Northern Independence Party candidate in the Hartlepool by-election, tonight accepted an invitation to debate Labour candidate Paul Williams live on Socialist Telly.

Walker accepted less than 15 minutes after Socialist Telly extended the invitation

The Weasels have already inspired a new movement:

Written by Andrew Coates

March 31, 2021 at 12:14 pm

19 Responses

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  1. Where does Liverpool and Manchester fit into all this? They could be considered Northern but I don’t think they were part of Northumbria, erm..or were they?


    March 31, 2021 at 1:02 pm

  2. But one hegemonic force on the Left is having none of this whippet walking, pie eating secessionist nonsense. Theoretical and ideological spokesperson for the Workers Party GB and the eminence grise behind the fedora’d one has tweeted . Ranjeet Brar “Northern independence party? Just as @workerspartyGB is becoming a force for the working class? Personally I’d have been a Pict. Or maybe Iceni. A saxon? Maybe a Babylonian or Assyrian. But what has it got to do with present day reality? And the real struggles of British workers? Nada !”

    The piercing analysis has been backed up by Mark Adkins who acts as GG’s ‘comical ally’ on the party’s YouTube channel (only the real earth shattering stuff is reserved for wee George) who has pronounced the Galloway anathema on the NIP “Bonkers”; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eBaiFo35F20

    David Walsh

    March 31, 2021 at 1:37 pm

    • Andrew Coates

      March 31, 2021 at 2:51 pm

      • The draft programme of the NIP, which is a “democratic socialist” party that wants to repeat the SNP’s success in replacing Labour, calls for the public to be given a say over the currency and the monarchy alongside a raft of proposals to create a country of “Northumbria”.

        Other draft policies include legalising cannabis, a referendum on membership of the pound, and penalties for worrying sheep..

        “calls for the public to be given a say over the currency and the monarchy alongside a raft of proposals to create a country of “Northumbria”.

        The new state – which would include the north-west, north-east, Yorkshire and Humber, and Cheshire – would accept Brexit for now.

        But the draft manifesto adds: “If however the people of a free North want to rejoin the EU at some point in the distant future, then that is a decision for the people.”

        The NIP hopes to capitalise on discontent with Keir Starmer’s leadership by backing Thelma Walker, a former Labour MP and strong Jeremy Corbyn supporter, as a candidate in the Hartlepool by-election on May 6.

        A draft “mini manifesto” for the local elections, which has been sent to members of the party for consultation but is not yet public, has been passed to HuffPost UK. A final version is expected to be ratified next week.

        The mini-manifesto includes a wide range of policies including giving NHS nurses a 15% pay rise and all council workers a “real living wage” of £9.50 an hour.

        Among the eclectic proposals are “an increase in the penalties for sheep worrying” to protect farmers, a lowering of the state pension age and council-run e-bike rental schemes.

        Referendums of “the people of the free North” would be central to the new state, with the removal of the Queen as head of state and the creation of a new currency among the options.

        “Many people in the North love the royal family, and it is not for us as a party to decide this,” the manifesto states.

        “If enough people in a free North want to keep the Queen as head of state, as she is in many commonwealth countries, then she will be asked to be. If the majority of people want to be a republic, then we will be.”
        , calls for the public to be given a say over the currency and the monarchy alongside a raft of proposals to create a country of “Northumbria”.

        The new state – which would include the north-west, north-east, Yorkshire and Humber, and Cheshire – would accept Brexit for now.

        It takes a similar view on whether to keep sterling. “We don’t know what the relationship between the pound, the euro, and other currencies will look like when we gain independence.

        “There are important factors to consider on all sides – while introducing a new currency has costs, and would be disruptive, it could also make it easier to invest in rebuilding our hollowed-out industries, and make our exports more competitive on international markets.”

        On drugs, the NIP states: “We believe that cannabis should be legalised, as it has across much of the US and Canada, and will favour harm reduction approaches to other illegal drugs.”

        The manifesto also calls for privatised energy and water companies to be brought under public control locally, for more pilots of a universal basic income system and for stronger trans rights, including the legalisation to protect trans teenagers’ access to puberty blockers.

        It proposes public libraries should be brought back under council or community ownership, and vows to “support local independent newspapers and journalism by writing for them, taking out adverts, and providing grants to new organisations”.

        The NIP recognises that while independence is its ultimate goal, its candidates will in the short term have to “fight the system from within” by backing policies at council and Westminster level that would shift the UK in a more socialist direction.

        Since its launch last year, the party has tried to use humour in its online media presence to boost its profile, recently defending the use of a whippet on its logo as a satire on perceptions of the north.

        The NIP’s membership has soared since Walker was announced as its candidate for Hartlepool earlier this week, going up from 300 to 1300.

        NIP co-funder Philip Proudfoot told HuffPost UK: ”A new state, in order to have buy-in and legitimacy would require lots of referendums, that direct democracy element is foundational to the project.

        “If it comes to questions like ‘do you keep the monarchy?’, there’s an ongoing debate within an NIP whether we just put it in as a policy, and then if people vote for us that’s what they’re getting – or whether or not it would be a referendum to be decided.”

        Proudfoot said that the party was made up of “ordinary people” ranging from farmers – who want tougher penalties to protect their sheep – to mental health nurses, from teachers to the unemployed worried about Universal Credit..


        Andrew Coates

        March 31, 2021 at 3:05 pm

        • Cumbria was never part of Deira, Bernicia or Northumbria. So is Cumbria down South? Also, the party leader lives way up north in Brighton. Also, there’s this https://www.facebook.com/Home-Rule-for-East-Anglia-221133754581979 and this https://www.facebook.com/Home-Rule-for-East-Anglia-221133754581979

          Kevin Algar

          March 31, 2021 at 6:09 pm

        • “The draft programme of the NIP, which is a “democratic socialist” party that wants to repeat the SNP’s success in replacing Labour, calls for the public to be given a say over the currency and the monarchy alongside a raft of proposals to create a country of “Northumbria”.”

          Didn’t the SNP exist for about 70 years before they managed to replace Labour?


          March 31, 2021 at 10:30 pm

          • Andrew Coates

            April 1, 2021 at 10:39 am

            • I live in America and have only been to Northern England once in 2001 to see a soccer match. Is there a desire in Northern England for Independence? The SNP have tapped into long standing (if previously dormant) desire for National separation. Does anything like that exist in Northern England? Or does this Party have the added burden of having to build it?


              April 1, 2021 at 4:45 pm

              • @ IainF

                I’m in Northern England but I don’t think there is any real desire for Independence in anything other than a jokey manner, though many are fed up of the Westminster bubble and the London-centric political/economic policies. We in the north are patronized with unrealized sound-bite proposals and initiatives imposed upon us such as “the Northern Powerhouse”, whatever that is. The main traditional industries are gone, whilst the population has grown, and here we all are claiming Universal Credit and waiting for goddo (or UBI).


                April 1, 2021 at 7:00 pm

  3. Seal, Stoat, Ferret, Whippet, or Polecat:

    That is undoubtedly Santas Little Helper off of the Simpsons

    Boleyn Ali

    March 31, 2021 at 7:49 pm

  4. And an interesting blog post from Patrick Henhegan, former Labour campaign director, who makes it clear that the NIP’s tardiness in getting the elementary task of registering with the electoral commission has serioius capmpaign consequences which wil impact if they are forced to field their candidate as a mere ‘independent’ bereft of party label (see last paragraph); “NIP is likely to have a vastly different May 6th. While they have caused a stir on twitter it is unclear just how big they are in Hartlepool. And although they have rushed to select a candidate, they have still not gained registration from the electoral commission as an actual political party.

    The by-election in Hartlepool is going to be mainly covered by the local rather than the national press. Most voters will only know there is an election because of the endless leaflets they get through the door. In by-elections the spending limit for political parties is £100,000 – nearly 10 times the amount at a general election. The main political parties will be seeking to spend near to that limit alongside busing staff and volunteers in from around the country. The main campaigns will be looking to put between 8 and 10 pieces of literature through every door and more in the post too. Without a lot of staff and volunteers that is simply not possible.

    In by-elections, organisation on the ground really matters and while NIP is rightly proud of their twitter followers their actual number of members is far below that. From results of their Hartlepool selection contest we know that less than 200 members took part, and the ballot was open to all members across the country.
    Online they now claim over 1300 members, but that includes members that have joined from “international” locations like London and Brighton. My guess is that the 1300 would translate into around 2 members in Hartlepool itself.

    As with many areas in the North East of England – Hartlepool will have a large percentage of its population voting by post (a product of all postal pilots during the last Labour government). The established parties will have those lists and the systems and money to target those people. Without being registered as a political party yet, NIP won’t have access to those lists or the electoral roll itself. “

    David Walsh

    March 31, 2021 at 8:18 pm

  5. […] Concerning the Northern Independence Party, Ipswich barmy Bolshevik Blogger Andy Coates has done a couple of excellent posts holding them in derision. His latest is here. […]

  6. Will the SWP back the NIP? If so, then its the electoral kiss of death for them. I guess they’d only get involved if there’s a prospect of them taking it over.
    It seems to be a largely twitter/meme thing but having an ex Labour MP stand for them is an impressive achievement. It could get enough votes to allow the Tory to win.
    Also I wouldn’t take political advice from member of the Brar family seeing as they are happy to March behind portraits of Stalin.
    Obviously the only Progressive vote going forward is for the Labour Party, as it always has been.


    March 31, 2021 at 10:26 pm

  7. I can’t stand squawkbox, so I’m not fussed who they support or don’t support. Not sure why you would want to back Starmer’s Labour though.


    April 1, 2021 at 12:10 pm

  8. Is it all an April Fool’s joke?

    Sue r

    April 1, 2021 at 3:18 pm

  9. That the NIP have a sense of humour bodes well.

    PS It’s a whippet you eejits.


    April 1, 2021 at 5:56 pm

  10. Northumbria Elects
    Hartlepool constituency voting intention:

    CON: 33% (+4)
    LAB: 31% (-7)
    NIP: 14% (+14)
    REFUK: 9% (-17)
    GRN: 6% (+6)
    LD: 5% (+1)

    via WhippetPolling, 1 Apr
    Chgs. w/ 2019 result
    12:47 am · 1 Apr 2021·Twitter for iPhone

    NIP at 14% and Labour vote collapsing. Looks like the Labour Party are going to have to start taking NIP seriously, they aren’t the go to party of the working class anymore and northerners at least won’t have sir Keith taking them for granted. Shaping up to be an exciting little by-election.


    April 1, 2021 at 6:23 pm

  11. I think it’s pretty obvious that this lot don’t think Bugzy Malone or Tremz are “really” Northern, even though the 1960s bands and 1970s youth-cults they *would* regard as “really” Northern were, in all but one obvious case, really far more derivative of Black American music and created far less for themselves.

    How would I feel if the NIP allowed the Tories to win Hartlepool? Nervous for myself and my own life, obviously, and enraged again about the voting system itself.

    Should note that outside the very largest cities and a very few places like Harrogate which are much more like Winchester or Bath or the like, most of the North was appreciably more pro-Brexit than, at the very least, the posher bits of the South which aren’t on the Thames Estuary (and Labour enclaves amid the southern shires because of a comparatively industrial history, such as I live in, were appreciably more pro-Leave than their tweedier neighbours). Should also note that, even in Corbyn’s second, disastrous election, Labour were able to hold on to what they’d gained in Reading, Plymouth, Portsmouth and of course Canterbury, while the North crumbled. Not sure there’d be that much Northern English support for rejoining the EU, or for the very Corbynism which, again outside the largest cities, it largely rejected.


    April 2, 2021 at 11:22 pm

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