JUDGING by how EU leaders gave Theresa May the cold shoulder treatment, the process of introducing – and implementing – Brexit is already proving to be an unparalleled political and economic challenge.
It’s why the Prime Minister is right to bide her time, and formulate a strategy, before triggering Article 50. It would be a betrayal of the national interest to do otherwise. Theresa May also, where possible, needs to keep her options open.
Yet, while Ministers are considering the options and opportunities from the perspective of Britain’s industrial heartlands as they consider vexed issues like productivity, they’re in danger of neglecting rural communities. As this newspaper has previously stated, work needs to be beginning now on the creation of a new system of farm subsidy payments as well as new rules on the labelling of British produce so they can take effect from the very moment that the UK leaves the European Union. Ministers can’t just assume that farm incomes will increase ad infinitum. They also need to remember that picture postcard scenery often masks deep, and hidden, pockets of poverty.
Likewise fishing. Though this once great industry accounts for less than half of one per cent of GDP, it is still of significant importance to coastal communities, and also this region’s burgeoning food sector. And then there are the practicalities. How will quotas work when fish do not respect artificial boundaries drawn up by politicians? Who will be responsible for conserving and replenishing stocks? Significantly, the House of Lords European Union Committee foresees difficulties – it says the UK fishing industry will need to continue to have access to EU markets if it is to survive, and thrive, after Brexit. Given the unease expressed by a lengthy list of rural and coastal bodies, it would perhaps be opportune for Mrs May to task a specific individual with speaking up for the fishing and farming industries. She owes those concerned this at the very least.
Answer this call
IF West Yorkshire Police can’t file a report on time in response to growing concerns about the inefficiency of its 101 non-emergency hotline, what hope is there for the law-abiding public reporting anti-social behaviour when their calls are left unanswered for unacceptable periods of time?
This issue is so important that it should have been discussed by the panel that scrutinises crime commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson. It was listed as being on the agenda. And then it was withdrawn at the last minute – literally – because the police’s report was not ready for wider discussion.
This is not good enough. This service was set up with the best of reasons, namely to enable 999 operators to concentrate on those calls which are a matter of life and death. Yet, with one person reportedly kept waiting, albeit in an extreme case, for 49 minutes for the telephone to be answered, it’s little wonder that people have resorted, once again, to dialling 999 and, in the process of doing so, defeat the object of the exercise.
Senior police should not need reminding that it is the goodwill of the public, whether it be reporting crimes or responding to witness appeals, which is key to solving crimes – or tackling nuisance behaviour in its infancy. As such, the newly-appointed chief constable, Dee Collins, needs to make this issue a top priority – without delay.
Vote Yorkshire: The sports personality race
UNLIKE the glory days of Sports Personality of the Year when the great and good would gather to learn how readers of the Radio Times had voted via postal coupon, it’s now very much a glitzy talent contest – in keeping with omnipresent reality TV shows – with telephone votes on the night determining the winner of sport’s ultimate honour.
Yet, after a sporting year like no other, how heartening that five of the 16 shortlisted contenders belong to Team Yorkshire – in alphabetical order Nicola Adams, Alistair Brownlee, Kadeena Cox, Jamie Vardy and Danny Willett. Although tennis titan Andy Murray is the runaway favourite, each of the quintet from God’s own county would be a worthy winner. And so, too, would those white rose champions who did not make the cut like Paralympian Hannah Cockroft, diver Jack Laugher and rower Andy Triggs Hodge.
It’s why The Yorkshire Post’s endorsement is as follows. Vote Yorkshire, keep voting Yorkshire and urge family and friends to do likewise so the whole country is left in no doubt about the public’s respect, and appreciation, for this county’s role models.