Campaign for a Yorkshire Parliament Launch : Initial Impressions

My first impressions of the launch of the Campaign for a Yorkshire Parliament on Saturday 27 July are that it was both a success and a disappointment at the same time.

A success because of the excellent presentations and talks provided by Philip Hardstone, from the campaign; Natalie Bennett, from the Green Party; Dr Simon Duffy, from the Centre for Welfare Reform; Diana Wallis, former MEP; James Blanchard, from the LibDems; and Arnie Craven, from the Yorkshire Party. More can be found on the presentations at the campaign’s Twitter account @ForParliament.

A success because in these politically toxic times, people came from so many diverse backgrounds and political leanings and were able to work together effectively for a common cause without rancour.

A success because there was a lively, good-natured debate and a high degree of audience participation. Thanks to all involved.

A disappointment, on the other hand, because, as Arnie Craven remarked, there were quite a few empty seats. This should not have been the case as bookings indicated that the room should have been close to capacity but barely half of those who booked actually turned up. The movement for Yorkshire devolution would still appear to be on the fringes of the political landscape.

A disappointment because there were no speakers from the two major parties, despite the efforts of the campaign team to try to secure the services of a couple of speakers.

A disappointment because basically the “what next” session foundered. This is a session that the campaign should have led but it was tagged on the end and we, in the campaign team, did not appear to take full advantage of the opportunity offered. We probably have a few days to capitalise on the goodwill engendered by the launch to make the campaign’s presence felt, otherwise the “moment” could be lost.

So, to sum up, the launch has provided some opportunities to advance the campaign, but it is now up to the campaign to determine whether it is capable of taking advantage.

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