(A) Because they are important cultural entities.
ABC believes that the link which the traditional Counties provide between our present and our distant past adds great value to the life of the nation and therefore deserves to preserved and enhanced.
The 39 Counties of England have mostly existed largely unchanged since before 1066, the 13 Welsh ones (including Monmouthshire), like the 34 in Scotland, have been fixed in name and areas for over 400 years. Historically speaking, having been adopted or created in mediaeval times for the exercise of a kind of administration, Essex, Yorkshire, Pembrokeshire, Fife and the rest have long since come to represent something much wider than that. They have become bedrocks of the history, culture and geography of Britain. They provide an instant means of reference to different parts of the country, to a set of cities, towns and villages; to distinctive scenery, architecture and wildlife; to particular industries and pastimes, accents and dialect, tourist attractions, weather and so on. A large literature focuses on each of the Counties; they give their names to clubs and societies, to teams people play for, to regiments they serve in; they are familiar holiday and business destinations. Above all else, they are places – places where people live and “come from”, where they “belong”. And they often provide a family link with past generations.
Our County heritage is something to be treasured and nurtured by society, not tossed aside simply because the Counties are no longer considered suitable as a basis for administration.
(B) Because they provide a fixed and widely understood geographical reference frame.
The names and areas of the historic Counties stay fixed throughout the frequent changes to those of local government units. The geographical framework provided by the traditional Counties is still familiar to most people and widely used in everyday speech and by many in the media. The traditional County names can be used in any postal address in the UK (see Traditional County Postal Directory).
There is no reason why the traditional Counties cannot be more widely used (e.g. in gazetteers, guide books, by the media etc.). The Counties still exist. The Government has no objection to their use as a geographical reference frame. After all, the six Counties of Northern Ireland are still the universally accepted geographical reference frame of the province. These Counties have nothing to do with local government, which at present is provided by 26 unitary authorities, the areas of which cut across County borders in many places. If the traditional Counties of Northern Ireland can be universally used then so can those of Great Britain.