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The Rheged Co-Operative (known locally as Rheged, pronounced Regg-Ed) was a collective of independent townships based in the northern parts of the former English County of Cumbria. In an area formerly known, until 1974, as Cumberland.
On the 11th of March 2011 the people of the Rheged Co-Operative voted to become part of the Kingdom of Northumbria, and as such the Rheged Co-Operative ceased to exist.
The English County of Cumbria was formed in 1974 with the unification of the historic counties of Cumberland (in the north) and Westmoreland (in the south) and also the inclusion of the Furness Peninsula (North Lonsdale), an area formally part of Lancashire and the Rural District of Sedbergh, an area formally part of the West Riding of Yorkshire.
On doomsday in the south of the county the port of Barrow in Furness is hit by a ten kilotonne tactical nuclear device and the Sellafield Nuclear Facility was either hit by a bomb of an undetermined size or more likely the reactor went critical and suffered a major meltdown. Apart from those two irradiated areas the majority of the county survived practically unscathed.
In the days and weeks after DD Chaos reigned in Cumbria as law and order collapsed. Police officers abandoned their posts to protect their families from roving bands of bandits and former military units, which became known as reavers.
In order to protect themselves from these reavers many people retreat to the main towns of the area and erect makeshift walls around the towns to protect themselves. Bands of survivors made runs out into the wilds to gather food and other supplies. Protected farms were set up by survivors by the late 1980's in order to make the food supplies more reliable.
By the mid 1990's many of the attacks from reavers had diminished and the walled towns began to open up to the surrounding land, surprisingly even after over ten years many of the herds of sheep that had been on the fells were still there, a little wilder but they had actually increased in numbers since the abandonment of the upland farms.
In the late 1990's the walled townships began trading with each other and in 1998 the Cumbria Co-operative was set up from the townships of Workington, Keswick, Maryport and Cockermouth so that trading would be far easier. In 2000 the townships of Carlisle, Windermere Town, Kendal and Whitehaven join the Co-operative and in 2001 the name was changed to the Rheged Co-Operative (Rheged being the old name for Cumbria) in order to distance themselves from the old United Kingdom. In 2002 a new flag was introduced using the old Westmoreland coat of arms, it can be flown over trading stations to show they are official Rheged Co-Operative businesses.
In 2003 contact is made with the Kingdom of Cleveland from the east side of the Pennine hills, the Cleveland soldiers chased off reavers that had been harassing the township of Carlisle. In 2008 the Kingdom of Cleveland provided Keswick, Workington, Maryport and Kendal with electric wind generators.
In early 2011 Representatives of the southern Townships and Parishes meet with Mary Johnstone, the Procurator of Rheged at her new offices in Carlisle. They ask to cede from the Co-Operative, she agrees and the Townships of Kendal, Ulverston, Windermere, Coniston, Ambleside, Appleby, Kirby Stephen and Egremont and their surrounding Parishes become the provisionally named 'the Southern Rheged Co-Operative', the rest of the Co-Operative continue the name of Rheged.
On the 24th January 2011 'the Southern Rheged Co-Operative' takes the name of the Westmoreland and Furness Alliance
Trade routes were set up within two years and in 2007 a rail link was established with the Kingdom of Cleveland.
The main exports of Rheged are roofing slate and wool.
main towns are:
In 2008 the Rheged Co-operative began using the Cleveland pound as a new form of currency for trade.
In 2009 Rheged begins trading with the Duchy of Lancaster.
As of 2010 The Rheged Co-operative does not have any centralised government, the townships that exist within Rheged each manage themselves separately as well as an area of land surrounding the towns. Townships will work with each other to increase trade and for major works such as road systems, irrigation, water supplies and mining.
Many people in the area covered by the Rheged Co-operative do not consider themselves part of a country, many do not wish to become part of the Kingdom of Cleveland or the Celtic Alliance as they see large countries as the major cause of wars.
Rheged does not have a conventional governmental layout, mainly due it being a co-operative of many small parishes and townships. As of 2010 Rheged comprises of 19 townships and surrounding parishes.
In order to run Rheged as a trade co-operative and also to run basic utilities such as water, electricity, police force, fire brigade, hospital and doctor service, road repair and judicial service there are monthly meetings (or more regularly if needed) of representatives in Keswick town hall. Each parish sends one representative elected by his or her parish council. Each townships sends one representative elected by the citizens of the township. Once every two years a head representative is elected by his or her fellow representatives, he or she is known as the procurator.
In September 2010 the Procurator Mary Johnstone and leading representatives from the Rheged Co-Operative approached the Organisation of British Nations with hope of increasing trade links with the members of the OBN with a possible membership application in the future.
In early 2011 the Office of the Procurator and the representatives meeting hall will move from Keswick to purpose built structure in Carlisle.
Many people in the south of Rheged are unhappy at the move as they see it as the seat of power moving away from the south where the majority of the population centres are. Also there are rumours of the Kingdoms of Cleveland and Northumbria having too much influence in the area, this is mainly due to the fact that the new Representatives meeting hall is being built by a Cleveish building firm and being heavily sponsored by the Northumbrian Witain. Many Rheged citizens in the south are beginning to make links with the Duchy of Lancaster to the south, mainly as the south of Cumbria (The Furness Peninsula) was originally part of the historic county of Lancashire.
In January 2011 several parishes and townships separated from the north to become the Southern Rheged Co-Operative.
In late August 2010 reports reach the Procurators office via the Celtic Alliance of a massive military build up in the New Scottish State, in response the representatives of Rheged approach both the Celtic Alliance and the Kingdom of Cleveland for assistance if the Scots try to invade Rheged.
The Celtic Alliance responds that their land around Stranraer is also under threat and as such they are unable to help with any possible invasion. Cleveland responds that they will send 500 Territorial Army personnel as well as 40 heavy horse cavalry, in addition Northumbria will send a further 100 militia personnel and 50 archers.
By later September the Scottish Army had invaded the unclaimed land to the west stopping short of the border with the Celtic Alliance, it had however shown no interest in northern Rheged. By early October the Scottish Army had not moved in over a month, Northumbria begins withdrawing its troops from Rheged. Cleveland also withdraws its cavalry and 200 TA personnel leaving 300 TA to set up a borderline with communications back to Cleveland and also to train up several hundred north Rheged volunteers as the newly formed Rheged militia.
18th November 2010
Several Scots representatives appear on the border of Rheged with the New Scottish State, they ask to speak to the Procurators office. In a surprise development they ask for formal discussions for the development of an official border between the New Scottish State and Rheged, they also ask for a development of trade routes between the two nations. The Procurators office welcomes the peaceful developments between the two nations however relations will be taken slowly and carefully.
Initial reports from the Procurators office are that the New Scottish State would like a de-militarised zone running along the old Scotland/England border with five miles either side of the border evacuated of civilians into their respective countries and a official border crossing set up on the old M6 at the town of Gretna (all other crossing points will be closed).
7th December 2010
In early 2011 the office of the Procurator will move from Keswick to a purpose built structure in Carlisle, the building has been part-funded by the Kingdoms of Cleveland and Northumbria, many people in Rheged (particularly the south) are beginning to talk about the Procurator being unduly influenced by the larger countries to the east of the Pennines.
Many people in the south of Rheged are greatly in favour of closer links with the Duchy of Lancaster to the south rather than the counties across the Pennines, members of the OBN and the Celtic Alliance.
19th December 2010
After public uproar in the south of Rheged, the Procurators office has announced that from 7th February as partially devolved representative meeting will meet in Appleby's old town hall, the meeting will take place one week before the main meeting in Carlisle and be headed by the Deputy Procurator John Morrison. Representatives of Parishes and townships in the old historic counties of Furness and Westmoreland will be present at the meeting in Keswick. The Deputy Procurator will bring the results of the meeting to the Carlisle meeting.
News - 2011
8th January 2011
The procurators office has begun to transfer its offices between Keswick and Carlisle. The office will reopen in Carlisle on the 10th January. Protests have been held in Keswick opposing the move to the north asking why the procurator is leaving the more populated south for an empty north. They are also protesting that the Procurator is becoming too friendly with the countries on the east coast and putting their interests before that of Rheged population.
10th January 2011
On the opening day of the new Procurators office in Carlisle was greeted with large demonstrations in Keswick and smaller ones in Carlisle. A large stone was thrown through the main entrance door of the new Procurators office building causing the main entrance to be close before the Procurator opened the building (she had to use a side entrance to get to her office).
14th January 2011
News has reached the Procurators new office in Carlisle that the Deputy Procurator, John Morrison, has begun to hold representatives meetings at Appleby's old Town Hall. As the Procurator had decreed that the meetings should start not earlier than the 7th of February, the Deputy Procurator has been ordered to report to the new office in Carlisle to give a reason for these meetings. He is expect to arrive at the Procurators office on Monday 17th of January.
26th January 2011
With the Westmoreland and Furness Alliance setting up trade links with the Duchy of Lancaster the Procurator Mary Johnstone announces that a goods tax will be introduced for any WFA goods using Rheged ports of Whitehaven, Maryport and Workington.
However the Procurator had not discussed this new tax with the Representatives of the three port townships and all three Representatives declare that it will hit there townships businesses very hard. The Representative of Whitehaven is particularly incensed as the majority of the trade of its port is transporting slate from the mines (which are now in the WFA) to the Celtic Alliance.
The Representatives of Whitehaven, Penrith and Keswick walk out of the Procurators meeting is disgust at the way she has acted since the WFA ceded from the Rheged Co-Operative.
There are talks in the halls of the Procurators office that the Representatives of Whitehaven, Penrith and Keswick also leaving Rheged and joining the WFA.
2nd February 2011
The representatives of Penrith and Whitehaven formally ask the Procurator to withdraw from the Rheged Co-Operative, as she is given no other options, she agrees.
4th February 2011
Following Penrith and Whitehaven leaving Rheged and joining the WFA, the representative of Keswick asks to leave the Rheged Co-Operative, it is expected to join the WFA in the next few days. Due to towns beginning to leave the Rheged Co-Operative the Procurator Mary Johnstone calls a meeting with the remaining eight Rheged representatives, they all declare that they have no intentions on leaving Rheged for the WFA.
With Keswick leaving the Co-Operative Rheged now has 8 townships and surrounding parishes. These being
- Carlisle - seat of the Procurators office.
- Castle Sowerby
21st February 2011
In a surprise move representatives of five of the main townships have asked for a vote of no confidence in the Procurator after her handling of the collapse of the Rheged Co-Operative and the ceding of the Westmoreland and Furness Alliance townships.
22nd February 2011 - End of Rheged?
The vote of no confidence against the Procurator Mary Johnstone took place at 1pm. the vote is 6 - no confidence and 1 - confidence. Due to the 6 to 1 vote the Procurator Mary Johnstone offers her resignation to the representatives, which they accept.
After the resignation of Mary Johnstone the remaining representatives meet to decide the future of the Rheged Co-Operative. Several possibilities are put forward, become part of the WFA, stay independent and the possibility of joining the Kingdom of Northumbria. Of all possibilities joining Northumbria seems the best idea and the representatives approach the Northumbria Witian.
After discussions with the Witain, the representatives call a referendum vote on joining Northumbria, the vote will be held on March 11th 2011 and a simple majority vote will give a positive result and Rheged will join Northumbria.
4th March 2011
One week before the referendum to join the Kingdom of Northumbria a poll of voters in the centre of Carlisle showed that out of 327 people asked about how they expected to vote, nearly than two thirds (196) would vote 'yes' to joining Northumbria.
11th March 2011
The referendum vote to join the Kingdom of Northumbria began at 7am this morning, polling booths will shut at 7pm and the result will be known at sometime during the 12th of March.
12th March 2011, 11am : Referendum results announced in Rheged.
The results have been announced, of a population 12,000 people in Rheged 8,426 people registered to vote, the vote results are as follows:
Do you wish for the Rheged Co-Operative to become part of the Kingdom of Northumbria:
- Yes - 5,972
- No - 2,365
- Spoiled ballot papers - 89
The referendum is passed with over 70% of votes coming back Yes it is planned that Rheged will become part of the Kingdom of Northumbria by mid May 2011.
Rheged joining the Kingdom of Northumbria
The Rheged Co-Operative has voted to become part of the Kingdom of Northumbria, Rheged will elect two new members of the Northumbrian Witain, elections are to take place on the 6th of May and Rheged will become a ful part of the Kingdom of Northumbria on Monday 9th of May.
The end of the unified Rheged Co-Operative
17th January 2011 Deputy Procurator John Morrison arrives at the Procurators office building in central Carlisle, however he refuses to go inside, insisting that he meets with the Procurator Mary Johnstone in the open at Carlisle Castle so that the Representatives that have come with him from the south of Rheged can put their point across. But also so that members of the general public can hear what she has to say about the claims that Rheged is effectively becoming a puppet state to the Kingdoms of Cleveland and Northumbria.
At Carlisle Castle the Representatives of Kendal, Ulverston, Windermere, Coniston, Ambleside, Appleby, Kirby Stephen and Egremont as well as the Deputy Procurator meet with the Procurator Mary Johnstone.
The meeting at the Castle starts good natured however is quickly deteriorates, this is mainly due to the fact that the Procurator had brought the Ambassadors of both Cleveland and Northumbria. At one point the Representative of Kendal has to be restrained from attacking the Cleveland ambassador by his fellow representatives.
The meeting lasts over five hours and at the end of it the Procurator is asked to devolve powers to for southern Rheged to the Representatives of Southern Rheged. This she agrees to (mainly as Rheged is not a country per se, but a collection of independent townships) as such the Townships of Kendal, Ulverston, Windermere, Coniston, Ambleside, Appleby, Kirby Stephen and Egremont and their surrounding Parishes cede from the Rheged Co-Operative as South Rheged with the Deputy Procurator John Morrison becoming the new Procurator of South Rheged.
It is planned for the first meeting of the South Rheged Co-Operative will take place on the 24th January 2011 at Appleby's old Town Hall. It is expected that the new Co-Operative will decide on a new name to distance themselves from the Rheged Co-Operative.
24th January 2011- Birth of the Westmoreland and Furness Alliance
At the meeting at Old Appleby town hall the newly created Co-Operative decided on a new name, in order to distance themselves from the former United Rheged Co-Operative they decide to name themselves the Westmoreland and Furness Alliance or the WFA. They decide to create trade links with the Duchy of Lancaster to the south as access to the ports of Whitehaven, Maryport and Workington are expected to be made difficult by the Rheged Procurator Mary Johnstone.