Is it time to get Anglo-Saxon about England's local government?

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The government wants a new era of localism and civic engagement. But rather than thinking up new ideas, should they be looking back into England's distant past for inspiration?

Is it time to get "Anglo-Saxon" on our politics?

To go back to the days of "pre-England", when the rival kingdoms of Wessex, Mercia, East Anglia and Northumbria slugged it out for dominance of the lands abandoned in the early 5th Century by the Romans?

The period characterised by many as the "dark ages" is sometimes credited with a level of engagement in local politics that the Electoral Commission could only dream of.

According to its admirers, Anglo-Saxon government originated in "moots", meetings - perhaps held under oak trees - where small communities thrashed out their differences....

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