THE Institute for Public Policy Research is to be commended for its attempts to defend the honour of The North at a conference being held in Leeds today, but it is in grave danger of magnifying the myth that casts everyone living on this side of Watford Gap as poor unfortunates.
‘Do not dismiss the people of The North as foolish or simple’ IPPR North director Ed Cox will say in his speech today as he warns the so-called elites of the mainstream metropolitan media to beware falling into the trap of sneering at the likes of Yorkshire.
Mr Cox will declare that the reason the people of Hull, Wakefield and Calderdale; Skipton, Scarborough and Ryedale, and every other constituency in The North which had the temerity to vote Leave was ‘a cry of community outrage at the imbalances of wealth and power’ that exist between the capital and we in the hard-up hinterlands.
He will then warn that places such as Sheffield City Region will now suffer the most post-Brexit ‘turbulence’ when the intricacies of Article 50 are settled upon and the divorce proceedings from the European Union complete.
But many Sheffielders will scoff indignantly at such patronising piffle, citing generations of decay and poverty at the hands of ministerial decision making as real turbulence. For large swaithes of Leave voters, turbulent is the default setting for their lives.
That Mr Cox feels the need to say that notherners are not foolish smacks of the same lazy rhetoric that perpetuates the very narrative he is trying to discredit. Much better to talk up the excellence that exists here – from advanced manufacturing to artisan cheese – than lament what might have been.
It is time to stop indulging in polarising point-scoring about the fortunes of North and South, especially from others on our behalf, and start agreeing how to seize powers and investment such that we can secure the futures of Yorkshire’s next generations.
Hospital battles: Minor injuries unit could close
HORNSEA’S hospital is testament to the community that built it nearly a century ago. It was paid for by local people in the aftermath of the First World War and over the intervening years it has, like small hospitals around the country, treated countless patients.
Today, the hospital remains at the heart of the community it serves. But for how much longer? It is home to one of three minor injuries units (MIUs), along with those in Withernsea and Driffield, that are facing closure under plans drawn up by East Riding NHS bosses.
Officials say the units are unsustainable because there simply aren’t enough patients. But campaigners, led by Beverley and Holderness MP Graham Stuart, argue they provide a vital local service and if they are relocated will force people to travel further afield in order to seek treatment.
This is part of a wider issue affecting some of Yorkshire’s most remote communities amid concerns that value for money is superseding the needs of some patients.
The crux of the problem is the huge financial black hole facing the NHS. With ambulance services under growing pressure and at a time of staff shortages and budget constraints something has to give.
NHS Trusts face mounting financial pressure and tough decisions need to be made. At the same time, while the government cannot simply hand over a blank cheque it must ensure that our hospitals are given the necessary resources.
If our National Health Service is to continue to fulfil its remit then it must be a service for everyone in this country, no matter where they happen to live.
AS cricketing debuts go they don’t come any more testing than this. To face one of the best teams in the world on their own soil in front of a packed, partisan crowd is a daunting prospect for even the most experienced players.
To do so in your first ever Test match requires nerves of steel. Which is precisely what Keaton Jennings showed in reaching 112 in his maiden innings for England against India in Mumbai.
The 24-year-old kept his head, displaying a level of maturity and discipline beyond his years. Not that this was simply a performance of dogged resistance. The reverse-sweep to the boundary that brought up his century proves he is a young man with huge talent.
In reaching this milestone, Jennings is in illustrious company, joining a list that includes W G Grace and Alastair Cook as well as two Yorkshiremen in the form of Paul Gibb and current Yorkshire CCC president John Hampshire. A star is born.