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A party for Yorkshire?

February 26, 2014

Richard Carter (richard@yorkshiresense) writes

Fulub Hosking, a Cornish Nationalist who has commented on many occasions over the past year, responded to a YDM post highlighting the Leader of the Lib Dems on the London Assembly supporting some form of devolution for Yorkshire, thus:

In Cornwall we are more than used to various Lib Dems announcing their support for Cornish devolution, but it is all just hot air when time comes to propose changes and then vote for them in Parliament. It is only the existence of the SNP and Plaid that have driven the agenda in there (sic) respective countries, and forced change. The YDM is a great initiative – it generates debate – but don’t expect much more than warm words until Yorkshire has its own autonomist party that hits the others where it hurts, namely in the ballot box.

This, combined with the lack of response from the political leaders (from councils to MPs) set me thinking. Are we taken a little for granted by the national parties? How can we not only get devolution on the agenda but build up a head of steam and apply pressure?

The upcoming European Parliament elections on May 22nd perhaps provide the perfect opportunity to test this on the people of Yorkshire by presenting the case for Yorkshire. This is the only place where Yorkshire votes as a region. The elections should be about who we want to represent our interests in the EU Parliament. A national party, or a party with the regions interests at heart?

So if Yorkshire was to have its own party what would it look like?

Firstly, it should have a regional focus. It should focus on influencing, supporting, and addressing issues that are relevant to the people, environment and society in our region.

Secondly, it should adopt an ‘independent-mindedness’, a great Yorkshire trait that means we should look at what works, not from an ideological standpoint. As a proud Yorkshireman, generally progressive and an independent thinker, I see no reason for being populist, or of the right. A Yorkshire party should be ready to abandon tired orthodoxies of the left and right and look for good ideas across the political spectrum. So a Yorkshire party should be in the ‘pragmatic centre’ nevertheless with progressive views on economic, social and environmental issues. Above all, however a new party should want to build a self-assured and outward-looking Yorkshire where the decisions affecting Yorkshire people are taken locally.

Thirdly, it should support the devolving of powers to the least centralised authority capable of addressing those matters effectively – within Yorkshire, the United Kingdom and Europe.

Fourthly, it should be strongly regionalist, not separatist. A Yorkshire Parliament – Yes, independence – No. The aim should be to build a stronger Yorkshire within the UK.

Yorkshire has its own sense of identity and cultural heritage. It has a rich diversity. It has a population the same as Scotland and an economy twice the size of Wales but the powers of neither. I would want to see a democratically elected, accountable assembly for Yorkshire where the county’s undoubted potential can be unleashed.

What do you think? Should this happen? Would you support it?

Richard Carter

Twitter – richard@yorkshiresense

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One Comment
  1. Yorkshire Devolution Movement is an all-party and no-party organisation campaigning for a devolved Yorkshire. The ideology presented here by Richard Carter is very laudable and has much in common with our views. We would therefore welcome such a party to the political arena as we would welcome anybody who shares our views or who speaks up for the things in which we believe. YDM will continue to promote those beliefs, to elicit discussion on the devolution of Yorkshire and to seek support from across the political spectrum.

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