Why a Yorkshire Parliament
We believe that the right model of devolution for Yorkshire is one which:
Brings politics closer to the Yorkshire people and gives them greater involvement in decision making.
Gives maximum transparency and accountability in respect of the decision making process, decisions made and who made them
Offers representation which most closely reflects the political make- up of the Yorkshire electorate
Has the best ability to represent the interests of Yorkshire in every respect
Is best placed to secure the further devolution of powers to Yorkshire to a position of devo-max
Is most able to ensure appropriate subsidiarity is implemented within Yorkshire
It is the opinion of the Yorkshire Devolution Movement that a Yorkshire Parliament directly elected by the Single Transferable Vote is the model most suited to satisfying all the foregoing points.
Whilst constituency MPs for the UK Parliament provide an interface between the public and Westminster, any parliamentary debate or decision making process regarding issues concerning Yorkshire would rely on MPs who will spend the majority of their time debating and making decisions on non-Yorkshire issues and rely on a majority of MPs who do not represent Yorkshire’s interests. Constituency MPs for a Yorkshire Parliament (MYPs), however, would still provide the interface between people and parliament but the issues raised would be debated by MYPs who do spend the majority of their time, if not all, on Yorkshire issues and only by MYPs who do represent Yorkshire’s interests. A Metro Mayor model of devolution would not provide the mechanism to bring the Yorkshire people closer to politics and the decision making process because that model would have no interface with them other than periodic mayoral elections.
A Yorkshire Mayor, although giving some degree of accountability in that he or she would be ultimately responsible for all decisions, would not offer the same accountability as a Yorkshire Parliament. Whereas decisions made in a parliamentary system would be debated and concluded by MYPs known to the public, as the public would have elected them, decisions made in a mayoral system would be debated by a panel of unelected advisers not known to the public, prior to the mayor concluding the decision. As a Yorkshire Parliament would be a public arena and MYPs public servants, this would also offer far greater transparency than a mayoral system where issues would be debated by non-public servants in a non-public arena.
As a mayoral system consists of a single person elected to represent the people, it would be impossible for that representation to reflect the political make-up of the Yorkshire electorate unless the mayor elected received 100% of the vote. Representation in a parliamentary system would much better reflect the political make-up of the electorate simply because it consists of a number of people elected to represent them. However, there have been many complaints that representation via the current ‘first-past-the-post’ method of electing MPs does not reflect the political make-up of the electorate sufficiently as only votes cast to the winning candidate in each constituency effectively count in the make-up of parliament. This can be overcome by ‘Proportional Representation’ (PR) of which there are two basic types: ‘Party list PR’ and ‘Single Transferable Vote’ (STV). We believe that, of the two methods, STV produces representation that most reflects the views of the electorate because it allows the most votes to effectively count in the make-up of parliament.
A mayor, being a single decision maker, will make decisions that are influenced only by his or her own political views or by those of the political party to which he or she belongs. Unlike a parliament, this means that any actions taken by a mayor will not be based on a balanced view or be effectively regulated by others with different political views involved in making the decision. Also, allegiances to nationwide political parties would leave scope for a mayor to make decisions for Yorkshire which are influenced externally and there would be little to keep such activity in check, thus diminishing the quality of devolution Yorkshire would actually enjoy. A parliament is therefore the better option to represent the interests of Yorkshire in every respect and the most appropriate to securing the further devolution of powers to a position of devo-max. In respect of the latter point, a parliament is also able to exert greater demand for further powers as it would be demanded by an overall majority of MYPs rather than by a single person.
As the aim of subsidiarity is to achieve decision making at the lowest level able to deal with matters effectively, it can only be deemed ‘appropriate’ if its implementation is decided on a ‘bottom-up’ approach. As a parliamentary system has a better interface with the public through its constituency MPs, it is better placed than a mayoral system to gain the bottom-up feedback that would be required and to collaborate with the different stakeholders involved to ensure ‘appropriateness’ is achieved. A parliament is also best placed to ensure political bias and external influences are eliminated from the consultation, planning and implementation stages and that the whole process is dealt with in a transparent and accountable manner, as explained in previous paragraphs.