Visions of devolution animate anglers

The green hotspot spider was adorning Roger Beck's leader.

The green hotspot spider was adorning Roger Beck's leader.

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BY THE time you read this, I will have been out to celebrate the beginning of a new trout fishing season; I’ll let you know whether I managed to catch anything next month.

However the whole event nearly did not happen because I almost became involved in an issue that is potentially of profound interest to the whole of Yorkshire.

You must forgive me if I digress from fishing for a few moments, but I really do feel that this is far too important an issue not to share with you.

To be fair, the matter in question did arise, perhaps indirectly, through fishing. This is the time of year when many angling clubs hold their annual general meetings; I’ve attended three in that last couple of weeks and riveting they were too. Actually, I was thrown out of one club for arguing with the chairman, I’ll tell you the full story sometime. Sorry, I deviate from my digression.

As a general rule, fishing clubs hold their AGMs in pubs. So, we have a collection of like-minded men who will not have congregated together for a year and here they are in the mid-evening, gathered in licenced premises. It’s inevitable really that the later the evening progresses, the more important becomes the debate.

After just such a very recent AGM, I was party to piscatorial philosophising.

The problem originated during a discussion about who had bought their Environment Agency licence for the coming season; every angler has to have one before going fishing. I confess to feeling pretty self-satisfied, safe in the knowledge that mine was already loaded into my fishing jacket.

Some of my fellow club members were in the process of promising to do the necessary the following day, when the bolt came out of the blue. Pete, a very well-respected member of our community and not known to be mischievous, declared: “‘Ang on, haven’t you heard? The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government has announced a new manifesto item for the election.

“I heard it on the news before I came out.”

“What are you on about,” demanded Derek, one of our more alert members.

Pete put on his serious face.

“He’s announced that there’s going to be more regional devolution if they win the election, and Yorkshire will be the first English county where the plan will be trialled. It stands to reason, we are the biggest county.”

“You are taking the Mickey,” responded Derek.

“No I’m not,” replied Pete, with very convincing sincerity.

“You’ll see; when you go to the post office for your licence, you’ll find that the national permit has been replaced by a new Yorkshire River Board ticket, like we used to have.

“The Environment Agency has rushed it through so that it can start on the first day of the season, next Wednesday.”

Then Pete went just a step too far.

“I’m telling you, It’s right; in July they plan to introduce our own currency called the ‘pund’, it will only be legal tender in Yorkshire and it’s value is negotiable.

“It will not be handled by banks, because Yorkshire folk don’t trust any of ‘em. Newly appointed Aldermen called Pundpunters will handle them.”

I partly blame the new brewery in Helmsley; the Yorkshire Legend was going down so well that we had all become, shall we say, rather gullible.

So, I think that it was the designated driver, awash with lemonade, who quietly pointed out that the first day of the season, Wednesday, was April 1st.

By the way, this little black thing (pictured) will definitely be on my leader on Wednesday.

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