1 August, 2016
From the Chair.
With Yorkshire Day fast approaching this is a good time to recap on our activities since our last newsletter:
To mark Yorkshire Day, on 1st August, we have recently contacted all the local councils within the Traditional County of Yorkshire to ask whether they fly the White Rose from public buildings. We reminded them that as The Local Government Act 1972 did not abolish traditional counties, Yorkshire and each of her three Ridings still exist and that as guardians of that heritage they should respect the identity of their constituents and commemorate the cultural bonds they have to the traditional county of Yorkshire. We asked whether they flew the White Rose on Yorkshire Day, specifically, and whether they flew the flag on any other occasion through the year. We have had some, mainly favourable, responses already but shall give a more comprehensive report in due course.
We have contacted around fifty influential people including MEPs, MPs, Cllrs and business people from across Yorkshire who we believe share our view that Yorkshire should be represented as a county and region by a single devolved body to advance Yorkshire socially, economically and environmentally and to provide a voice for the Yorkshire people. Our aim is to pull together a network of like-minded individuals and organizations to pro-actively drive forward the campaign to achieve ‘A Voice for Yorkshire’.
We have also secured a grant from the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust to conduct a survey to gauge awareness and opinion within Yorkshire on the various devolution proposals for the county. The survey is in the process of being commissioned with Survation Limited and should be underway soon. The survey will itself help raise awareness of models of devolution as alternatives to the over centralised system we have now and its results will provide valuable information on the levels of support for each model and where to focus our efforts in the future. However, the most important function it will serve is to engage the Yorkshire public in the devolution debate; something YDM believe has sadly been lacking regarding the proposals currently tabled.
Following on nicely, we are in the process of developing a Yorkshire Constitutional Convention which we see as further opportunity for the Yorkshire public to engage in the devolution debate and to help shape the devolution Yorkshire should have. We are currently liaising with the Electoral Reform Society in this respect and, together with our activities referred to in the previous two paragraphs, this falls within our campaign, ‘Campaign for a Yorkshire Parliament - A Voice for Yorkshire’.
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