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Yorkshire: Devolution, Federalism or Independence?

2 June, 2020

We received an enquiry from Tom Patterson that seems to pertain to a fairly common confusion between devolution, federalism and independence and thought that publishing this together with our response would help to make our position in these respects clear.

 

Tom said:

 
Dear Yorkshire Devolution Movement,

I understand that you want country status for Yorkshire, but I would like to know what your opinion would be of making London one as well.  It would allow london to go and do its own thing with itself.  I would also like to know if there is anywhere, other than Yorkshire (maybe lancaster?), that you think should be a country.

Sincerely,
Tom 

 

We replied to Tom as follows:

 

Hi Tom,

Unfortunately your understanding is incorrect. Our aim is not to see Yorkshire independent from the UK as a seperate country but to have devolved status like Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, within the UK and ultimately to be a federal part of a federalised UK similar to a Canton in Switzerland, a Lander in Germany, a Province in Canada etc. Whereas devolution and federalism both give regional powers, Central Govt can take powers away from a devolved region but not from a federal one.  

Regarding London, I presume you are referring to Greater London and would therefore ask you to bear in mind that Greater London is not a traditional entity but an area that comprises parts of several traditional entities such as Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent, Middlesex and Surrey.  Any prospect of Greater London breaking away from the UK will therefore cause conflicts regarding identity with those who feel more loyalty to their traditional county than they might to a false region called ‘Greater London’ and therefore all residents of each of those counties should be properly consulted.

As mentioned above, our ultimate goal is to see a federalised UK, not to see any part of the UK break away. We believe that the federal parts of a federalised UK should be based on the traditional entities of Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and whole traditional counties of England either singularly, as in the case of Yorkshire, or in collaboration with whole neighbouring counties by consent of their residents and that the prequel to federalism, devolution, should also be distributed on that basis. Of course, should the consensus be, in any traditional entity, that they want to break away, democracy should prevail.

Thank you for your interest in Yorkshire Devolution Movement.

Regards,

Nigel Sollitt,

Chair

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