YORKSHIRE has the same sort of population and economic weight as Scotland. So why can Yorkshire not have a First Minister too? Someone less self-important than Nicola Sturgeon would be a bonus.
This will not happen anytime soon because it would terrify the London-based ranks of the higher civil service. That is a reason for keeping it as an aspiration.
Instead we must turn with a sigh to another round of North Yorkshire local government reorganisation.
Local government exists to provide vitally important services.
If there is a lack of clarity about who is responsible for what, and a lack of the economic and financial base needed to fund those services to an acceptable standard, no amount of “representation” will cure these defects.
The present set-up fails the first test and is close to failing the second.
“Continuity North Yorkshire” is the least change option. That is a short-term strength and a long-term weakness (full disclosure here, I am an ex-councillor who was a district council leader and served a term on the county council).
It is a huge mistake to try and ignore York.
The Covid-19 crisis has shown us that the whole structure of the British state is a ramshackle affair cobbled together out of short-term expedients.
Let’s not create another mess here.
Honouring ‘Mr Friarage’
From: Holly Wilkinson, Campaign Lead, Save the Friarage Hospital.
A FEW months ago it was announced that an eye unit was going to be placed in the old Allerton Ward, in the Friarage Hospital, Northallerton, and named in the memory of Upper Dales Councillor John Blackie.
However it transpires that this is no longer going to be the case. Instead it is to be called the Allerton Eye Unit.
This is a blow for all connected to fighting for services at the Friarage, and no more so than to his partner Jill McMullon. John was “Mr Friarage” and there isn’t a person alive today who fought more for the Friarage and its services than him.
He offered me a lot of encouragement in the early stages of the campaign, and it is only fitting that he be remembered in a hospital that he fought so hard for over the years.
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