Fracking and devolution hypocrisy in North Yorkshire is Orwellian – Yorkshire Post Letters

From: David Cragg-James, Stonegrave, York.

North Yorkshire residents lobby County Hall over fracking plans.
North Yorkshire residents lobby County Hall over fracking plans.

I HAVE read and listened with interest and alarm to plans for a North Yorkshire response to government pressure for local government ‘reform’ (Di Keal, The Yorkshire Post, August 18).

I note that this pressure comes with an ultimatum: no A (cash, mayor, devolution) without B (abolition of local control via district councils).

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So much for local democracy when public reaction is elicited over a short period of time with baffling assurances that this represents an increase in local democracy rather than the opposite. To style this Orwellian is perhaps no exaggeration!

Plans to create a super-council and mayor in North Yorkshire continue to cause consternation.

Perhaps I am being over-cynical in suspecting ulterior motives behind both the Government’s magnanimous offer and Northallerton Tories’ all-too-ready espousal of the suggestions made. This comes at a time when the pandemic has weakened our defences against such usurpation of power, when our patience is exhausted, and with an incompetent government clinging to life.

I find it ironic that this authority, which ignored local democratic opinion some years ago when hydraulic fracturing was seen as the solution to our energy needs, now so strongly advocates this one version of democratic accountability.

From: Roger Backhouse, Orchard Road, Upper Poppleton, York.

OVER the years, I’ve seen dozens of letters from people in smaller towns or villages complaining that big brother treats them unfairly.

What is the way ahead for Yorkshire devolution?

Little Murgatroyd folk always protest that Great Murgatroyd either ignores them, treats their town unfairly or collars most of the resources. So this month’s Covid-19-fuelled protests from Ilkley, Silsden, Keighley and others about Big Brother Bradford are nothing new.

Whitby folk complain Scarborough gets the cream, and on a larger scale many Scots are deluded enough to think they will be better out of Great Britain.

Your correspondent Paul Redshaw makes a number of complaints. Some are unrelated to Bradford Council – many towns have seen useful small shops close, not just Silsden, and North Yorkshire can offer poorly planned housing developments in several towns.

Whilst it is natural to think the grass is always greener just across the boundary, I fear residents are deluding themselves to think a reorganisation will help.

Eric Pickles was Conservative leader of Bradford Council and later became the Communities Secretary in charge of these matters. He claimed he kept a pearl-handled revolver in his desk for anyone who mentioned local government reorganisation! Wise words indeed.

From: Thomas Reed, Harrogate.

THE solution for North Yorkshire devolution is simple – North East Yorkshire, based on Northallerton, with North West Yorkshire, centred on Harrogate, and the A1M being the dividing line.

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James Mitchinson