Yorkshire of the future

(This article has been provided by the Democratic Yorkshire Alliance in support of the Citizen-led Constitutional Convention. It was updated on 12 Jan 2023)

Whether it be for the governance of a resident’s group, a community centre, or an entire region like Yorkshire, the first and often most difficult step in creating a constitution is writing the vision statement.

The vision statement is important because it sets out what an organisation hopes to achieve over time – its goals, purposes, and aspirations that, in turn, will determine both its structure and rules according to which it operates.

This involves looking well beyond the present and using our imagination to think creatively about the major challenges the organisation will have to face.

By and large

By and large, our vision is for a socially and economically inclusive Yorkshire; an ecologically friendly Yorkshire, full of hope and opportunity; a democratic Yorkshire where people engage in making the decisions that will affect their future.

Do you agree with this?  What would be your aspirations for a future Yorkshire?

3 enormous challenges 

Just like anywhere else in the world, we face three enormous challenges:  the need to decarbonise, the conservation and restoration of our environment, and managing for the good of all the digital technologies that already affect our lives.  

Decarbonisation

We have a responsibility to do all that we can to protect ourselves and the rest of the world from further carbon damage, and to introduce measures, like better flood defences and reforestation, to offset the damage already done

What measures would you suggest? 

Conservation and restoration

If we are to be the custodians of Yorkshire’s beautiful scenery and natural habitats, we have a duty to future generations to conserve our countryside and natural world.  We would add another duty – to restore those parts of our county already blighted by the redundant industrialisation of past and present. 

How important would you rate conservation and restoration to Yorkshire’s future?

The digital revolution

The digital revolution is already upon us and, in some form or other, here to stay.  People feel lost without their mobile phone, routinely store images and documents in the cloud, our attention is distracted by a tsunami of unwanted advertisements, our emails remind us to send follow-ups, and soon we will be able to turn our light bulbs on and off with a simple voice command.

However, some see this as the emergence of a hellish world straight out of a Sci-Fi film, where robots take all the jobs, leaving humans unemployed and miserable.   Others, meantime, believe that robots will eradicate the duller aspects of work and free us to focus on spending more time with our loved ones, contributing to the community, and pursuing more exciting tasks of our choice. 

What do you think?

A new sustainable economy

Rising to these 3 challenges will mean creating new sustainable models of economic activity, capable of meeting the needs and aspirations of all Yorkshire’s citizens well within our County’s finite environmental and ecological limits.

This is hard to imagine at a time when big business and most governments are driving us down the road of irreversible environmental degradation and growing inequality.  However, other areas such as Cornwall and Amsterdam are already leading the way, guided by the principles of Doughnut Economics in their decision-making.

Should we in Yorkshire be doing the same?

Integrated transport System

Creating such a sustainable economy will require the building of an integrated transport system for moving both people and goods.  A system which connects every village and hamlet, while respecting, by for example tunnelling where necessary, the County’s beautiful environment and ecological systems.

What level of priority would you give such projects?

Day-to-day reconnection with nature

Sadly, increasingly numbers of people have little or no contact with nature.  This disconnect can have an impact on life expectancy.  It affects our mental health, our children’s growth into adulthood, and contributes to obesity. 

Our vision includes a Yorkshire that is abundant in wildlife, with more people having a genuine and a meaningful day-to-day connection with nature.  This could in part be achieved, as the Wildlife Trust suggests, by designing new housing developments that integrate space for the natural habitat and wildlife with that of people.

How important for Yorkshire’s future would you rate our reconnection with nature? What ideas have you got for achieving it?

Universal Basic Income

From one of growing inequality, which potentially could worsen, we look forwards to a socially and economically inclusive Yorkshire.  Is introducing a Universal Basic Income (UBI) part of the solution?

UBI is a system where a government pays all individuals a set salary regardless of their means or circumstances. 

Supporters of UBI say that it would free people to refocus their lives, and, as job security weakens, avoid the potential dangers of mass poverty and misery. Others argue that it would encourage idleness. 

What do you think?

World class public services

The challenge is for public services to move from above average in the global league of effectiveness to the top. The yardstick for success should not only be whether services have improved on last year’s results but also whether they are among the best in the world.

Empowering citizens who use public services will involve extending choice and complementing it with more direct forms of individual control, such as personal budgets in areas like care. There will also be opportunities for people to do more themselves, such as manage their own health; stronger local accountability and providing greater transparency of performance.

A new professionalism will be promoted across the whole public service workforce from the dinner lady to the head teacher, from the hospital porter to the consultant.  This combines increased responsiveness to users, consistent quality in day-to-day practices and higher levels of autonomy from central government.

What in your eyes makes a public service world class?

Please tell us what you think, including passing on any ideas of your own?

There are several ways that you can do this.  First by joining one of our live sounding boards including our Festival of Debate seminar online on Wednesday 17 May 2023 at 18.00.  Otherwise, you can contact us directly by email at admin@democraticyorkshire.org , messaging 07403 151105, or leaving a comment on our twitter page, https://twitter.com/DemocraticYork1.

2 thoughts on “Yorkshire of the future

  1. In terms of aspirations for a future Yorkshire, I would add the following:-
    A Yorkshire where Yorkshire culture and traditions are respected and are included in the educational curriculum.
    A Yorkshire where everyone has the right to a safe, comfortable and affordable home.
    A Yorkshire where human rights and respect for equalities and diversities are enshrined in the Constitution.
    A Yorkshire where everyone has the right to a good standard of education which prepares them fully for adult life.
    A Yorkshire free from poverty.
    A Yorkshire free from corruption.
    A Yorkshire where public servants agree to uphold the highest standards of behaviour whilst in office, without fear or favour. (Public servants should not normally hold external positions.)
    A Yorkshire where healthcare should be available to all and free at the point of use.
    A connected Yorkshire.
    An inclusive Yorkshire where people are actively encouraged to participate in decision making, in their communities and at the workplace.
    An environmentally aware Yorkshire where the environmental impact of activities is minimised and where we seek to enhance, improve and conserve our environment, as appropriate.
    An economically sound Yorkshire where the economy can support the aspirations of the people and where business and trade are actively encouraged, both at home and throughout the world.
    A Yorkshire of the future where developments are evaluated, research undertaken and strategies and plans developed so that Yorkshire continues to be relevant, up to date and able to support its people in the longer term.
    A safe and secure Yorkshire where risks to the public and their property are actively addressed.

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