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The failure of national consciousness of the Bretons

As noted previously, the French are proposing re-working their regions somewhat, with my favourite proposal being that Loire Atlantique be detached from Pays de la Loire and returned to Brittany.

Given that LA, or more historically the pays of Naoned, has been Breton since time immemorial and was the capital city the last time Brittany was independent, it is not unreasonable to ask how the Scots would feel about Edinburgh ruling over the Lothians, Roxburghshire, Peebleshire and the English North East but not Aberdeen, Glasgow and the Isle of Mull, and the rump remainder, without Edinbugh, called itself Scotland. They would not be very keen, would they? Nor would the Welsh if the same sort of thing went on with Cardiff. While regions with powers intermediate between départements and Paris were done away with under the First Republic, regional identities would not have gone, and the current structure of regions stems from Pétain and Vichy.

And here are maps of the historic region and of the five départements. The boundaries are not a precise match, but no major town in the historic region is not in the five départements:



(C/o the SDUK, London 1830 and 1831 respectively. I would have used a more decorative map to make the point for the region, but framed maps resist scanning).


Anyway, the full details of the first pertinent survey are now in, and far from the wave of enthusiasm for a five département Brittany that I had expected / hoped for, it turns out that the most favoured option for territorial organisation among Bretons polled is the status quo - 48% of those polled in the four départements of Vichy Brittany, and 59% of those in Loire Atlantique.

And onto the demographic detail:

Men of the North west - Brittany and PdlL - are keener on a five département Brittany than women at 26% to 17%. The middle aged (35+) are keener than the young at 25% to 13% and the retired (26%) - who may well remember Pétain .... - are the most enthused of folk judged by working status.

Department by department sees the results vary dramatically, as PdlL types are the keenest on keeping things as they are, and even though Angers has the greatest claim to be the new regional capital were things to change, only 7% of folk in Maine et Loire seem to have worked that out. Morbihanais/e are the most enthused, with this the sole department where a five department Brittany is the preferred choice at 42% to the 39% for no change. Ille et Vilaine is the least keen of the four current Breton department with 24% in favour. Côtes-d'Armor and the Finistère fall between the two stools at 31% and 33%. Counter intuitively, urbanites are more pro than rustics, while partisans of the Liberals (32%)and the funkier of the two Trot parties (the NPA - 33%) like the idea most. Communists and the more staid Trots are the least convinced at 8% in favour. Doubtless a reconstituted Brittany would smack of an advance in nationalism.

Full demographic detail for the will of the Normans is not available, but they are keener on a united Normandy than the Bretons on a united Brittany, at 58% for the status quo and 36% for a union of upper and lower Normandy.

Given that the Secretary General of the ruling Gaullists supports departmental referenda on any change, it looks as though things will stay much the same. Ho hum.

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