The Yorkshire Party website page devoted to pro-devolution comments made in a variety of media articles in recent years has today recorded 100 contributions.
Party Leader Stewart Arnold had the idea to focus on the myriad demands for Yorkshire’s greater say in its own affairs, through quotations reported in local and national newspapers, in magazines and in academic articles.
He introduced the page by saying: “This section contains extracts from published articles, letters and opinion pieces from members and supporters of the Yorkshire Party and from others who have an interest in Yorkshire devolution. It shows how much the party has shaped the debate over the years.”
We have indeed collected views from Party members but also from local politicians of all hues.
In the national arena, among the political grandees who have weighed into the debate are the Conservatives’ Lord Michael Heseltine, who has a strong reputation for championing the regions; Labour’s Lord David Blunkett, who as a Sheffield MP knows the county’s strengths and its potential; the Lib Dems’ Lord Wallace, an academic as well as an experienced politician; for the SNP, the Scottish former First Minister Alex Salmond, with unrivalled experience of devolution issues; and former leader of The Green Party, Natalie Bennett, who lives in Sheffield.
Among newspaper columnists who have added their insight to the calls for greater powers for Yorkshire are The Guardian’s Sir Simon Jenkins, The Times’ Alex Massie; and The Yorkshire Post duo of Jayne Dowle and Opinion Editor Tom Richmond.
We featured the thoughts of academics and, of course, those of ordinary newspaper readers who have recorded their views in letters to their local papers.
We continue to monitor contributions but, in the meantime, we would like to thank all those who have enriched the debate and the various media for allowing their correspondents to air their thoughts.