It is time for Yorkshire to get its fare share through devolution - The Yorkshire Post Letters

Did Sir Gary Verity and Welcome to Yorkshire take the county's 'brand' to a new level?
Did Sir Gary Verity and Welcome to Yorkshire take the county's 'brand' to a new level?

From: Brian Winterbottom, Netherton.

Having spent much of my working life representing major companies, including Mars and Gillette, it’s clear to me just how long it takes to build up a global brand and one instantly recognised by the public. It is truly amazing then, that in something like a decade the Welcome to Yorkshire organisation – thanks to the vision and enthusiasm of Gary Verity and the team around him – have taken the “Yorkshire” brand to a whole new level; the value of which is immeasurable.

It is sad indeed that recent events have cast a cloud over such success. However, those board members who have resigned or threatened to should open their eyes wide and survey the bigger picture. While there must be scrutiny of management and finances where public money is involved, I suggest that the cost to the taxpayer measured against the growth of the “Yorkshire” brand is tiny.

We are indeed blessed as a county and yet thanks to a government based in Westminster we continue to suffer from under-investment. It’s clear that little progress will be made on devolution until Brexit is settled. But surely the time has come to make a stronger and more proactive case to the Government for a “One Yorkshire” and to give ourselves a stronger voice?

The centralised control of finances and power in Westminster is seriously flawed and many countries in Europe have long since devolved powers to regions. It’s my view that powers in London wish to fragment the “One Yorkshire” plan into smaller city areas because they fear the much stronger voice of a devolved county. The influence and persuasive power of the whole county as one should not be diluted.

I urge the leaders of “One Yorkshire” to hold firm to their original vision of devolved powers. With a population of some five million in God’s Own County, it is perhaps time to take our case directly to Westminster. Let us rally the people. For too long we have accepted second best in the share of resources.

Success of
cycling push

From: Charles Forgan for the Private Sector Members Group, Welcome to Yorkshire, Grove Hill, Great Broughton.

The Private Sector Members Group of Welcome to Yorkshire met on April 10. The group unanimously endorsed what we see as the central strategy of the company: ‘To bring visitors to Yorkshire by using cycling to showcase Yorkshire’s people, cities, towns, villages, countryside and landscapes to national and international markets’.

The strategy is ultimately simple. It has proved outstandingly successful. The policy has been to do one thing extraordinarily well, rather than falling into the trap of trying to do everything and ending up doing nothing. Many other traditional functions of tourist boards are now done at sub-regional level, for example, by Visit York, by Scarborough Council for the Coast, and by the North York Moors National Park.

There has been a call for cycling to be hived off into a separate company. A new company may pursue cycling for its own sake. Or, if it used cycling to showcase Yorkshire, we would risk the new company and Welcome to Yorkshire trying to do the same job. There is room to consult and review what Welcome to Yorkshire does, and to make adjustments. However, we would be most unwise to weaken or abandon the central thrust.

Disappointed by apology

From: Sergi Singh, Hull.

As a local British born Sikh, I am disappointed that Theresa May on Wednesday described the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in Amritsar as a “shameful scar” on British Indian history, as the British Prime Minister marked the 100th anniversary of the tragic incident, but stopped short of a formal apology.

At the start of May’s weekly Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons she fell short of a formal apology sought by a cross-section of Parliament in previous debates and reiterated the “regret” already expressed by the British Government.

“The tragedy of Jallianwala Bagh of 1919 is a shameful scar on British Indian history. As Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II said before visiting Jallianwala Bagh in 1997, it is a distressing example of our past history with India,” she said in her statement.

The massacre took place in Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar (Punjab) over Baisakhi in April 1919 when troops of the British Indian Army under the command of Colonel Dyer fired machine guns at a crowd holding a pro-independence demonstration.

High time for Sir Dickie

From: Hilary Andrews, Nursery Lane, Leeds.

ONCE again dear Dickie Bird is showing his generous nature by giving £20,000 to the children’s heart fund at Leeds General Infirmary (The Yorkshire Post, April 10).

Just when are the powers that be going to award him a well deserved knighthood? Not just for being a supporter of Yorkshire cricket, but for his great charity work. He’s much more deserving than some of the civil servants who are knighted for just doing their job.