A People’s Constitution for Yorkshire : Revised Discussion Paper for 17 May 2023

We are delighted to have already received lots of feedback through our widespread consultation ahead of the event planned for 17 May 2023, this is a living document, so please continue sending in your comments.

You will have noticed that the format of the paper has changed as a result.  It now begins with a values section, before going onto the aims.  


If we were asked to outline our vision for a future Yorkshire in one word, that word would be harmony.  Harmony between people of different racial identity, sexual orientations, of different faiths, or none.  Harmony with our natural habitat.  Harmony between people of different or even opposing points of view.  Harmony with the remainder of the United Kingdom and other countries of the world.

Yorkshire’s Values

These Values are intended as a statement of what Yorkshire and Yorkshireness are all about.  They are designed to give us direction and purpose as a region, guide our conduct, judgment, and the choices we make, as a community and in Government.

The reason for their inclusion is to provide a clear reference point at every level of the decision-making process to check we are on the right track to creating a better future for the region’s children and future generations.

They are:

  1. Altruism – selfless concern for the well-being of others
  2. Cooperation – the process of working together to the same mutually agreed end.
  3. Ecological Civilization – the changes required in response to climate disruption and social injustices are so extensive as to require another form of human civilization, one based on ecological principles.
  4. Inclusion – providing equal access to opportunities and resources for people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized.
  5. Respect – demonstrate due regard for the differences, feelings, lifestyle choices, wishes, and rights of others.
  6. Rule of law – the principle that all people and institutions are subject to and accountable to law that is fairly applied and enforced.  
  7. Subsidiarity – the principle that a central authority should have a subsidiary function, making decisions or performing only those tasks which cannot be decided or performed at a more local level.

Aims of the constitution:

The following aims are born of the above values.

These aims are intended to enable our children and future generations of Yorkshire men and women to take much greater control not only over their individual lives, but the life of their neighbourhood and the life of the region as a whole.  And with it achieve a sense of satisfaction knowing that they have been able to make a positive difference. 

They are:

  1. The first of these aims must be to secure for the Yorkshire region sovereign control of its own affairs within a Federal UK as opposed to their being managed from outside by a centralised UK government and Parliament. 
  2. The second being the creation of an Elected Regional Parliament for Yorkshire.
  3. The third is to change the emphasis towards a more deliberative democracy.  One that replaces the current competitive nature of politics with that of careful thought and discussion when making decisions.  People coming together to talk issues through, exchange their concerns, tell each other their ideas and opinions in the lead up to a more consensual and fairer conclusion. 
  4. The fourth is to empower our local neighbourhoods.  Our Citizen Network colleagues in the Neighbourhood Democracy Movement (NDM) are already doing excellent work to empower local areas, making a real difference.  We share their vision of wanting to see:
    • Citizens everywhere talking about and making decisions together.
    • Everyone helping to make their neighbourhoods better places to live and work in, more welcoming to people from outside.
    • Neighbourhoods with the right to make their own decisions and control their own resources.
    • Flourishing community life, backed by well-funded public services, designed to meet local needs and aspirations. 
  5. The fifth aim being to use the intelligence collected from (4) above to inform the decision-making processes of any higher authorities, including the new Elected Regional Parliament and National Government.  
  6. The sixth aim is to enable everyone, but especially those who would otherwise feel marginalised by society to escape from those things holding them back, to live a happy, rewarding, and fulfilling life.

Enable more people to be in a position to play their full part in contributing not only to the democratic process, but community life generally, benefiting all of us.

Our colleague, Dr Simon Duffy has spent much of his professional life examining this subject resulting in the publication of the “7 Keys to Citizenship” on the Citizen Network website.  The 7 keys are:

  1. Purpose – having goals, hopes, and dreams and a structure for life and a plan to achieve this.  Having our own direction.
  2. Freedom – control and the ability to speak up and be heard and to be legally visible in society.  Taking charge of our own life.
  3. Money – to have money for what people need and control over how that money is spent; especially if it is money to help you get a life.  Having enough to live a good life.
  4. Home – a place that belongs to a person, where they have control over everything that happens there.  A place that can be the base for a person’s life. 
  5. Help – good quality help that enhances their gifts, talents and skills and ensures their social standing, freedoms, rights, and responsibilities in society. 
  6. Life – that people play an active part in their community including contribution through their love, gifts, and talents.  Getting stuck in and making a difference.  Learning from others and them learning from us. 
  7. Love – that people’s rights to a range of loving relationships and with it the responsibilities for others are upheld.  Also, that the differences in society are revered and respected.

7. Our seventh aim, but certainly not the least is to sustain our environment and eco-systems for future generations.

We have a responsibility to do all we can, not only to offset the carbon damage already done – better flood defences and reforestation – but also to protect ourselves and the rest of the world from further damage.

Sustainability entails evaluating the environmental impact of economic activity and moving it in directions that will create a more liveable future.

Mounting biodiversity loss, an emerging global water crisis, and many other manifestations of global environmental change make it essential that we switch to a green economy.

A green economy must be geared to support sustainable levels of consumption and production.  It means leaving behind us the model of mindless global linear growth that still dominates mainstream economic thinking.  It will need to be low-carbon, resource conserving, diverse, local, and circular.  It embraces new models of economic development that address the challenge of creating prosperity within planetary boundaries.

What next?

The next stage will be to design a constitutional framework for Yorkshire that gives shape to a regional structure capable of achieving these aims and aspirations.  Meantime, please continue thinking and talking about all these issues, and come with your ideas ready to contribute on May 17.  Click here to book your place https://tinyurl.com/3zv2ysy2

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