Campaign for a Yorkshire Parliament : Letter to the Prime Minister

The Campaign for a Yorkshire Parliament recently wrote a letter to the new Prime Minister. The text is shown below. Whilst the letter contains a lot of good points, it appears to me to be more of a document for internal consumption rather than a serious request for government intervention. It may well rally the troops, however, where the idea for a referendum came from is not clear. It is unlikely that the government would entertain such an expensive option nor is it obvious that a referendum would benefit the campaign at all at such an early stage in the proceedings.

It might have been better to suggest that the government consider the option of a parliament in any future negotiations it holds on the governance of Yorkshire. This would, at least, get the topic on the agenda. For the campaign, a citizens’ assembly would appear to be a better option than a referendum in the immediate future.

Letter to the Prime Minister from Campaign for a Yorkshire Parliament 31 July 2019

“Dear Mr Johnson,

Tomorrow is Yorkshire Day.

The potential of Yorkshire, with a population of more than five million and an economy worth in excess of £110bn annually, is tremendous, but that potential can be released only with much greater control of our own future.

We foresee a modern day renaissance for our beloved ancient county.

We see a future based on the empowerment to make our own decisions; the empowerment to invent and innovate; the empowerment to invest in our infrastructure; and to nurture our county.

Such empowerment is necessary at every level of our society, if Yorkshire is to grow and its people allowed to dream again, confident of a better future.

We believe that such empowerment is possible only through the establishment of a devolved parliament for Yorkshire: a parliament where everybody’s voice is heard and where every vote counts.

We seek a directly elected Yorkshire Parliament that would have the mandate to transform our county into one of economic and social prosperity and inclusion, and ecological sustainability. This would be achieved by empowering the people of Yorkshire as never seen before, at every level of society and from every background to participate fully in decisions affecting both their immediate communities’ and the county’s future.

We do not believe that relying simply on the transfer of devolved powers and resources to a combination of mayoral and city region authorities could possibly rejuvenate the whole of Yorkshire, as is Her Majesty’s Governments objective.

Yorkshire needs a parliament that is capable of representing fairly the needs and aspirations of all its citizens living and working in each hamlet, village, town and city. 

It is for the population of Yorkshire as a whole to decide upon the devolution arrangements for our county, not a few self-interested politicians in a darkened room. We call upon you as our new Prime Minister to trust in the judgment of the people of Yorkshire and to call a referendum in which they can consider the options available to them in a fair, honest and democratic debate and referendum.”

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