Yorkshire Devolution

It was reported in the Yorkshire Post yesterday that in answer to a question posed by York Outer MP Julian Sturdy about a more local approach to devolution, the Prime Minister had stated that the Communities Secretary James Brokenshire had been holding talks with local figures about transferring further powers to the region. Mrs May went on to say: “Discussions are continuing about a different localist approach to devolution and officials are having initial meetings with councils including York and will be interested in hearing their ambitions for devolution.”

This sounds awfully like the usual government mantra on regional government, “divide and screw up but don’t give them anything that might involve a real transfer of power.” This looks as though we could be in for more lost opportunities and further complications to the circuit diagrams that pass as governance structures for local government. In the end local structures simply don’t have the scope or scale to do anything meaningful on a regional basis.

At the other end of the scale, local and regional papers, including the Yorkshire Post, have been running a campaign to try to get the government to “power up the north” but the Northern Powerhouse is just a slogan without any real meaning. Its structures do not have any real power. The government still calls all the shots. The constant pleas for cash are likely to fall on deaf ears especially if Brexit continues to go awry. It also begins to sound like whinging. The message should be: “give us the tools and let us get on with the job.”

The problem for me is where is the devolution movement? What happened to the One Yorkshire campaign? At a time when the Yorkshire devolution campaign should be at its strongest, there appears to be little happening. The campaign appears to be weak, fragmented and to lack direction. There appears to be little, if any, apparent leadership.

Maybe we will be able to find out exactly what is going on at the Campaign for a Yorkshire Parliament’s meeting on 27 July. Will this provide the showing of unity and purpose that the movement desperately needs?

A link to the booking site is below.

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/campaign-for-a-yorkshire-parliament-launch-event-tickets-62844722256

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