YP Letters: Way forward in the fight for One Yorkshire

From: Michael Meadowcroft, Former Liberal MP and Honorary Alderman for City of Leeds.

The Archbishop of York remains a staunch advocate for One Yorkshire.

YOUR leading article (“Mixed messages – The Minister and One Yorkshire”, The Yorkshire Post, February 14), is forthright in referring to the “unity of purpose” between Yorkshire councils and the Sheffield City Region’s mayor, and in criticising the “perfunctory” rejection of this unity by the Government minister James Brokenshire.

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You do not, however, suggest a way forward and it is this challenge that needs to be faced before there is a chance for disillusion to set in.

It is particularly urgent given that we have a lame duck Government that could fall at any time, and which could make the Minister’s rejection of One Yorkshire very quickly null and void. The Yorkshire Post’s continued solid support is vital in this task.

Three immediate points need to be addressed: first, the fundamental basis for a single Yorkshire authority needs to be re-stated. Unlike Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham, we do not have a single centre which dominates the region. Yorkshire has a series of separate urban centres which have different identities and are often distrustful and jealous of their neighbours.

One Yorkshire is the strategic means of drawing them together and of minimising the competition towards promoting a proud and dynamic identity

Second, the economic and social case for One Yorkshire has to be better made. The Steer Report back in September was a start but was, frankly, disappointing and not rigorous enough for its purpose.

There are statistics out there, sometimes hidden in council reports and within government departments. Questions tabled by sympathetic elected members at local and national level will elicit valuable material to be combined for the One Yorkshire case.

We need this material to underpin and reinforce the campaign.

Third, the campaign for One Yorkshire needs to be owned by the people of Yorkshire. Thus far the politicians have singularly failed to make it into a broad, public and popular project. Council leaders have been too keen to maintain party control of it.

This has always been the narrow focus of too many leading politicians in Yorkshire; now, with One Yorkshire, it is time to create the widest possible political alliance for the greater good and, at the same time, to draw in the vibrant voluntary sector across the county as willing agents for the campaign.

Unless there is a visible and widespread campaign for One Yorkshire, it can be too easily ignored by Westminster and Whitehall.

From: K Moore, Box Hill, Scarborough.

THE decision that the Government will not support a single Yorkshire authority does not surprise me because they fear the loss of central power it would bring (The Yorkshire Post, February 14).

In 1992, North Yorkshire Police changed its command structure from four large remotely commanded divisions by forming seven smaller divisions, each with their own management teams and their own budgets to be responsible for geographical areas co-terminous with their local authority.

These new divisions proved to be efficient and popular with both staff and public alike and headquarters staff roles changing from acting as controllers to facilitators, allowing the new divisions to get on with the job within the general guidelines set out by the chief constable.

Within a short time, however, senior officers at headquarters realised their power over day to day minutiae had been removed or seriously degraded and eventually, to protect their empires, changed back to large remote divisions and central headquarters control.

It is this loss of central power and control, the lifeblood of Westminster’s controlling elite, which a single united Yorkshire Authority would create.

It is this fear, something akin to turkeys, votes and Christmas, which is preventing central government from permitting One Yorkshire’s formation. I suspect that until these attitudes are changed, central government will continue to prevent us uniting.

From: Arthur Quarmby, Mill Moor Road, Meltham.

YORKSHIRE has been given a simply rotten deal financially over the past decade and more, and if we succumb to present pressure we can be sure that the financial arrangements will worsen.

So far as Londoners are concerned, the North is a derelict wasteland from which nothing good comes and which can safely be ignored.

I have worked in central London for several periods over my lifetime and never cease to be astounded at the sheer ignorance of the Londoner.

We have all been to London and explored along the South Coast.

We know what it’s like. The Londoner is quite unaware of his state of ignorance – and he doesn’t want to know either.

We must persist to achieve justice – it is the only way. Justice must be won – it will, I fear, never be granted. London is intent on destroying Britain.

Save showed great reaction

From: Bob Simons, Rowborn Drive, Oughtibridge, Sheffield.

I NOTE that after pulling off that save, Gordon Banks merely received a pat on the head from one of his England team-mates – a far cry from the histrionics of the modern game (The Yorkshire Post, February 13).

From: SD Lindley, Carlton, Barnsley.

THIS week a football legend died. Why didn’t Gordon Banks and the rest of the World Cup winners team receive knighthoods?

The way honours are handed out today this cannot be right. Failed businessmen and cyclists, yes, but not real winners.

Do it before it’s too late.