From: Chris Whitwood, Deputy Leader, Yorkshire Party.
THE Yorkshire devolution debate is rapidly becoming a tale of two futures. Representing the worst of solutions is a divisive and effectively impotent Sheffield City Region. The Government’s offer of an additional £30m per year pales into insignificance when compared to the Greater London Authority’s annual budget of £15.9bn.
Unsurprisingly, this proposal, initially lauded, is now only favoured by two councils: an egocentric Sheffield Council – so deaf to public opinion that, not only content with striping bare one of Yorkshire’s greenest cities, they are now pursuing their own councillors through the courts in a manner only surpassed in western Europe by the Spanish government, and Rotherham Council who were deemed so inept in 2015 that the council was placed in special measures by central government.
By contrast, in the other potential future stands a united Yorkshire, pooling the vast resources, skills and spirit of our region. Our proud history; rich cultural heritage; vibrant arts, sports and festivals; industry, passion and entrepreneurial drive; and globally recognised identity – a vision articulated by Sir Gary Verity, CEO of Welcome to Yorkshire, in this newspaper (The Yorkshire Post, November 4).
One Yorkshire is already showing signs of achieving the seemingly impossible – bringing together 17 different councils from across Yorkshire, who are putting aside petty party politics in a shared aim. Who knows what else might be achieved.
This is the choice that the people of Doncaster and Barnsley will be given next month: a choice between division or a new generation of prosperity for Yorkshire.
A mayoral system is by no means the ideal in our view – it lacks powers and accountability of a directly elected assembly or parliament and places responsibility instead in the hands of indirectly elected council leaders. Nevertheless, the chance to vote for a wider Yorkshire deal is one that the people of Doncaster and Barnsley should grasp with both hands and that the people of Sheffield and Rotherham should demand for themselves.
A clear vote for a wider Yorkshire will stiffen the resolve of wavering councillors in Harrogate, spur on fence sitters, such as Peter Box in Wakefield, and send an unequivocal message to Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry.
The people of Yorkshire demand one deal, giving one voice to one united Yorkshire.
From: Jack Brown, Lamb Lane, Monk Bretton, Barnsley.
THE West Lothian question is now also the Penarth and Antrim question. The English will not get the same rights as the UK’s Celtic fringe until they have an English Parliament yet the Labour Party clings to the EU blueprint for English regions.
I am still yet undetermined whether to spoil my Barnsley/Doncaster referendum ballot paper or, for the first time in 60 years, simply stay at home (Sir Steve Houghton and Ros Jones, The Yorkshire Post, November 11).
Wells policing conundrum
From: Jonathan Leach, Driffield.
PC Phillips, the only police constable covering the Driffield and rural area, states that “a major recruitment drive is being undertaken by Humberside Police, with new recruits currently undergoing their training”. He says “it it will take 18 months to two years for these officers to be seen on the ground”.
Anyone following events in Kirby Misperton will notice an abundance of police officers, 40-60 or more and a dozen or so riot vans in attendance on a daily basis. All this to oversee the protests of a significantly less number of protestors, mainly comprising locals and retirees.
If one well pad requires 40-60 officers to keep protests at bay, how many for the thousands of well pads planned for the region? As Driffield and rural’s only police constable, will PC Phillips be free to undertake his duties when the gas/oil companies come to town?
Courses need to be practical
From: Peter Hyde, Driffield.
PROFESSOR Sir Keith Burnett, the vice chancellor of the University of Sheffield, makes a very good case for higher education, but it does need reforming (The Yorkshire Post, November 15).
Many of the courses are of little use in the world of commerce and the work place. The courses that lead to graduation in engineering and science should be funded by the Government – those are the people the country needs.
Massive cost of more GPs
From: Paul Muller FRCS, Woodthorpe Gardens, Wakefield.
THE British medical Association’s senior GP, Richard Vautrey, is always asking for more money for the NHS. Money never cured anyone (The Yorkshire Post, November 15). In order for NHS England to add an additional 5,000 GPs, we will require 20 new medical schools and all the medical graduates will have to go into General Practice. It takes 10 years to make one new GP.
Minister lets down our PM
From: Bryan Kennedy, Catterick.
HOW is Transport Secretary Chris Grayling still in the job after his total disregard for the North? He is clearly only interested in Crossrail 2 in London rather than the needs of the whole country. What’s worse is Theresa May seems quite happy to keep Mr Grayling in post. Hasn’t anyone told her about the extent to which she is being let down by the Minister? Who does advise her on matters relating to the North?