The Path to Devolution

Firstly, I would like to start by examining a couple of comments from the last blog “Finland”.

“Something needs to change and change fast. Westminster is a dead duck. We can no longer look to them for leadership. We should be taking the initiative here, not relying on some trifles from London.”

“Let’s carve our own destiny.”

The problem with these statements, for me, is that they say nothing about how we should “carve our own destiny” or how we can “take the initiative” when Westminster holds all the reins of power. Meaningless rhetoric or somebody’s plagiarized April fool posting? Perhaps a bit of both, but these statements assume new relevance when we work out what actually needs to be done to give them substance.

Secondly, I think we need to be clear about what we mean by devolution and what we actually want out of it. Let us assume that the devolution we are looking for is a regional government for Yorkshire and a whole new system of government from local to national level based around the concept of subsidiarity. On the other hand, what we might be prepared to accept, in the first instance, is some sort of regional executive for Yorkshire with some revenue raising powers and the prime objectives of growing the Yorkshire economy; preserving and fostering our community (including its diversity), identity and geography, promoting social and economic inclusion, and providing a voice for the whole county.

Thirdly, we should look at the conventional routes to devolution. These are probably summed up as follows:- persuade the existing government to adopt Yorkshire devolution as one of its policies; elect a party to government which already has the introduction of Yorkshire devolution as one of its policies; popular demand; limited demand, perhaps leading to a constitutional convention; a regional referendum; and/or a national referendum, potentially leading to a federal UK. There are other unconventional routes, but I do not intend to explore these here.

Finally, from our brief look at the routes to devolution above, it becomes obvious that the real power does not reside with an elite, manipulative clique in Westminster and their local agents. It resides with the people. If you want devolution, you can have it.

What “Finland” failed to do was to ask for your help and support. With your help and support we can secure a proper devolution deal for Yorkshire and all that goes with it, but in order to achieve this, you have to demonstrate your support. Doing nothing is the easiest option but it will get us nowhere. If the powers that be are not aware that you support devolution for Yorkshire, they will ignore your wishes.

The simplest way to demonstrate your support is to join one of the organisations promoting devolution such as The Yorkshire Devolution Movement or the Yorkshire Party or alternatively you can sign up to support the Campaign for a Yorkshire Parliament:-

Other ways to demonstrate support are to like and/or share social media posts of the organisations and individuals supporting devolution; attend one of the meetings in support of Yorkshire devolution (The Campaign for a Yorkshire Parliament is due to hold a supporters’ meeting in Huddersfield on 25 May. Details should be published shortly on the website.); and lobby local politicians. The local elections are coming up on 2 May so find out which candidates support devolution to Yorkshire and give them your support if at all possible.

Together we can achieve meaningful devolution to Yorkshire.

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