The Stourbridge and Pedmore question of 2002-03 was a political debacle that lead to the popular division of Dudley in to its 4 semi-autonomous provinces. At one point Sedgley had planned to ceseaded from Dudley and amalgamate it's self in to Seisdon (they were both (as in fact) part of Staffordshire until 1974).
The Stourbridge Chronicle, Express & Star and Dudley News had also been independently promoting the idea since mid to late 2001 last year.
This domestic political incident involved the redefining of several Federal Districts' internal and external boundaries. The UK Labour MP for Harborne and Federal Labour MP for Sedgley and Gornal Wood had raised the question of whether The state of Dudley should be broken up in to 4 autonomous states with the same level of home rule as Pleck and Smethwick had already got, or possibly (as Sedgley and Gornal wood borough councilors preferred) its dissolution in to 4 independent states with in the federation.
Several large, but peaceful rallies took place at Pedmore Cricket Club's grounds, Dudley Castel and Sedgley town centre over the issue in from early 2002 to late 2003. Sedgley and Stourbridge were the most vigorous in the campaign since Sedgley used to be (like Seisdon) part of Staffordshire and Stourbridge was not comfortable with the less classy towns of Halesowen, Dudley and Lye. They also wished to form a joint authority with the nearby, up market, Worcestershire town of Hagley. The more working class borough of Halesowen thought they were being side-lined by a social élite and wished to have their own county
The local enmities and regional rivalries of the West Midlands had sadly come to the fore due to the uneven aftermath of the war of independence. The Federal District councils of Sandwell and Dudley did understand the people's opinions and chose to continue what many people considered being 'private empires' and miss-shaped areas. The councils did have a point since they knew that Halesowen was too poor to muster viable taxation revenue and that Swan Village was just too small to financially work. Things were also becoming more complicated in late 2002 as the people in Sedgley and Gornal Wood began to lobby here Federal Labour MP for Sedgley and Gornal Wood, Mark Vaughan Talbot, over setting up an independent Federal District or joining Seisdon Federal District. Billy Hinks, the Independent MP for Seisdon, did want the separation of Sedgley and Gornal wood, but was concerned that if joined Seisdon the rural, Independent councillors would be swamped by the more numerous urban labour councillors.
As the protests grew and the national media sensed a growing political rift between Labour held Sedgley (which was backed by Seisdon and Sandwell) and Conservative run Stourbridge (which was being backed by Alcester and Worcester) in the January of 2003. Tinny Hey-on-Wye and the Wednesbury and Pleck borough supported Swan Village's moves towards greater autonomy. According to a Mori poll on early March he majority of people in the secessionist districts wanted to form their own counties (with or without its own PTE and health board) with in the same Federal District, whilst both Sedgley and Stourbridge wanted to set up their own Federal districts. The poll also showed support for Gornal wood to either join Sedgley in a new Federal District or for them to merge in to the existing territory of Seisdon.
The Federal General Assembly and President Pieter Smith had become concerned did want to see a national breakdown of law and order, so the Federal General Assembly held a vote on the issue on August 9th, 2003. One rally in Dudley castel had already resulted in an ugley brawl between supporters of Segley and Dudley's seseionis bids, earlyer that week. The result of this vote and a debate later that month was the enabeling of a public referendum on the issue, set for November 12th, 2003.
The November 12th, 2003, referendum results.Edit
|Brough||Support for forming a new county, with in the Federal Districts of Dudley and Sandwell.|
|Sedgley and Gornal Wood||99%|
|Stourbridge with Hagley||75%|
|Western Handsworth and Hamstead.||54%|
|Hagley with Stourbridge||70%|
|Tipton and Prices Wood||64%|
The movement's leadership Edit
The prime movers of the movement were-
- Steffi Anne Boyce, the Lib' Dem's MP for Pleck.
- Billy Hinks, the Independent MP for Seisdon.
- Chris Smithe, the UK Labour MP for Harborne.
- Mark Vaughan Talbot, the federal Labour MP for Sedgley and Gornal Wood.
- Derick Frederick Spier, a Pedmore carpinter and local activist.
- The Sedgley and Gornal Wood Residents Association.
- Sarinda Ruksana Bibi, a Tipton shop owner and local acivist.
- Ishrat Kalsoom Begum, a Swan Village shop owner and local acivist.
- Assia Shazia Khozzier, a Lye Balti restraunt owner and local acivist.