Yorkshire needs its own First Minister to rival Nicola Sturgeon – Yorkshire Post Letters

From: Keith Knaggs, Kirby Hill, Boroughbridge.

Nicola Sturgeon is the First Minister of Scotland.

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.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Instead we must turn with a sigh to another round of North Yorkshire local government reorganisation.

Should Yorkshire have its own First Minister?

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.

Editor’s note: first and foremost - and rarely have I written down these words with more sincerity - I hope this finds you well.

Almost certainly you are here because you value the quality and the integrity of the journalism produced by The Yorkshire Post’s journalists - almost all of which live alongside you in Yorkshire, spending the wages they earn with Yorkshire businesses - who last year took this title to the industry watchdog’s Most Trusted Newspaper in Britain accolade.

And that is why I must make an urgent request of you: as advertising revenue declines, your support becomes evermore crucial to the maintenance of the journalistic standards expected of The Yorkshire Post. If you can, safely, please buy a paper or take up a subscription. We want to continue to make you proud of Yorkshire’s National Newspaper but we are going to need your help.

Postal subscription copies can be ordered by calling 0330 4030066 or by emailing [email protected] Vouchers, to be exchanged at retail sales outlets - our newsagents need you, too - can be subscribed to by contacting subscriptions on 0330 1235950 or by visiting www.localsubsplus.co.uk where you should select The Yorkshire Post from the list of titles available.

If you want to help right now, download our tablet app from the App / Play Stores. Every contribution you make helps to provide this county with the best regional journalism in the country.

Sincerely. Thank you.

James Mitchinson