Sussex Day is very important to a number of people who live in our region. Even for people who don’t know what it means, or who don’t think it is an important day, some of the priorities of the Sussex Charter will be supported by almost everyone in our area. The Charter is below in its entirety. The reality is that in December the General Election took place and so today is the first Sussex Day since that Election and so every one of the 16 MPs needs to carefully consider the Charter and based on my reading of the Charter there are three very clear themes that they need to prioritise, even if this means them having to ignore their party politics as they have been elected as Sussex MPs first and foremost. This is particularly important as we try to recover our communities from the COVID-19 impact.
“For all the people of the ancient kingdom of Sussex! Let it be known: the 16th of June of each and every year shall be known as Sussex Day. Sussex day shall be celebrated according to the rites and traditions of Sussex. Let it be known all the people of Sussex shall be responsible for the maintenance of those boundaries that join to those of our neighbours.
Let it be known all the people of Sussex shall be responsible for all the environs within those boundaries.
Let it be known, the people of Sussex shall recognise the inshore waters that lie inside a line drawn from Beachy Head, and extending to Selsey Bill as being, the Bay of Sussex.
Let it be known, the people of Sussex will undertake responsibility for the general well being of our neighbours.
Let it be known the people of Sussex shall be guardians of our wildlife.
Let it be known the people of Sussex will, through custom support all local business.
Finally, let it be known, as guardians of Sussex, we all know Sussex is Sussex … and Sussex wunt be druv! In God we trust. God Save the Queen!”
So my summary of these three themes as I expressed yesterday is “The people of Sussex will undertake responsibility for the general wellbeing of our neighbours, our wildlife and that through custom we will support all local businesses.” I would have thought that these three themes can be turned into some form of manifesto by these MPs and indeed perhaps in the future we can call on all potential MPs as well as Councillors and Police and Crime Commissioners to ensure that these are included in their manifesto. However in the meantime perhaps our Sussex MPs can begin to raise these issues in Parliament on behalf of our communities and as they speak it is recorded so perhaps we will see some evidence in the next day or so. What is very clear is that Sussex Day has not been raised in Parliament based on the checks I have made since 2nd August 1965. Indeed it is fascinating that in 1965 MPs did meet in August. At that time it was raised by the MP for Brigg which is South of the Rivert Humber. This was Mr Edward Mallalieu who was an MP from October 1931 to February 1974 which is an amazing 43 years. His comment was
First, it is to enable days of special observance to be prescribed by Convocation for a particular province or by the ordinary within the place of which he is the ordinary. That is to say, days of special observance in addition to those which are provided already in the Book of Common Prayer. It is conceivable, for instance, that it might be thought desirable in Chichester that St. Richard might have a day of special observance. In that case, it could be done under this Measure.
Perhaps today we could persuade some of the MPs to raise the positive impact of Sussex Day for the first time!
As one clear example, today MPs get to vote on providing meals this Summer for the parents of children who are part of low income families. Perhaps this will be a good starting point?