The news that Yorkshire looks likely to be granted devolution as a whole, rather than as a disparate collection of city regions has brought a smile to the face of many Yorkshirefolk, myself of course very much included. Yet we should not stop there, for while devolution is certainly a cause for a great deal of celebration, Yorkshire must have loftier aspirations – starting with regaining the territory ripped from it by generations of London bureaucrats, unable to understand culture even if it was spat into their overpriced lattes or sprinkled over their caviar.
As the graphic contained within this article shows, Yorkshire is currently about as complete as a second-hand jigsaw. Land has been pilfered from God’s Own County by County Durham, Cleveland (as it once was), Cumbria, Greater Manchester, and worst of all the poor relation of all the counties, Lancashire. Ask the Scots if devolution would be worthwhile without Dumfries or Galashiels, or the Welsh the same question about Wrexham or Monmouth. We all know the answer would be no: why then should Yorkshire accept the loss of Middlesbrough or Saddleworth?
That is not the only affliction forced upon this proud region by Southerners unable to comprehend the rich history it holds – understandable considering that the entire South is in effect a collection of London suburbs. Yorkshire has been divided into four by bureaucratic meddling, a disruption of the natural order unlike anything seen since Nigel Farage began to be regarded as a serious politician. There is reason and meaning in the three ridings being the unit of division, and each day the monstrosity of South Yorkshire is allowed to exist scars the mental physique of even the proudest Yorkshireman. Put it back into the West Riding where it belongs, and divide York up like post-war Berlin once again – let devolution be the catalyst for righting another historical wrong.
There will be those telling us that this cannot be done, that administrative boundaries cannot be redrawn on a whim, and that a Norman era method of division is outdated almost one thousand years later. These people are likely to be incorrect simply by virtue of not being from Yorkshire, but we shouldn’t condemn them simply for being the losers of the lottery of birth. Instead, they should be educated – quite possibly for the first time in their lives – and realise the error of their ways. Perhaps they could even leave their cushty Westminster bubble for once in their lives and head up North to hear from the natives, experts on this matter, though they may be scared away by the dire state of our infrastructure.
However this dream could easily die a death, much like proud Yorkshireman Sean Bean in every film or television appearance he makes. A stumbling block to a One Yorkshire devolution deal still stands in the shape of Sheffield City Council, who have so far proved steadfast in their commitment to trying to get a special deal from themselves under the auspices of the Sheffield City Region – one must remember they effectively live in Derbyshire after all. However, considering the ineptitude with which the Council handled the chopping down of trees in the city – a task remarkable in its simplicity – it must be said that many Sheffield residents would likely prefer to be part of One Yorkshire, simply to escape from the incompetence of their current overlords. The criticism Neil Kinnock raised of Liverpool Council in the 1980s when he wasn’t busy falling into the sea comes to mind, with the former People’s Republic of Sheffield acting in a most uncomradely manner.
Restoring Yorkshire to its former glories should be considered the Lord’s work – it is God’s Own County after all – and it is the duty of all patriotic Yorkshirefolk to do what is necessary to take back what is rightfully ours. Yes, it won’t be easy. Nothing in Yorkshire ever is – but then it’ll give us yet another thing to complain about, and that is after all our national sport. So I call on you, my Yorkshire brethren, to rise up and make the White Rose fly above the towns stolen by our dastardly neighbours once again. Yorkshire expects that each and every farmer – and his wife – does their duty. And remember that at the end of the day, it’ll be reet.