Tom Wrigglesworth - does Yorkshire needs its own referendum?
PUBLISHED: 00:00 13 July 2016
By the time you read this, the citizens of the UK will have voted in one of the biggest referendums our ballot boxes have seen. Stay in the EU and stand with Brussels, or wash our hands of the whole thing and mutter apologies about it all being a colossal misunderstanding. Regardless of where you stand, surely now is the time to address a far bigger question. Should Yorkshire be part of the UK?
To research this hottest of political potatoes, I spoke extensively with two fiercely political blokes I met in a pub. Over several Black Sheep beers, I listened as Nigel and Nick pitted their differing views about the future of God’s Own County.
Nigel thinks we need to control our borders, explaining how easy it is to drive over the M62 and pass from Lancashire into Yorkshire completely unmonitored. No check point, no border control, and no-one checking the pronunciation of ‘look’, ‘book’ and ‘cook’.
‘It’s not what our forefathers fought for,’ he said, extending his argument to remind us that Yorkshire is vulnerable to an unstoppable influx of over six million comer in-ers if everyone from Lancashire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire were to pile in. Think of the already long queues at the Jorvik Viking Centre, he raged, before laying down the terrifying idea that we are in jeopardy of being hit with another four million migrants if the Welsh and the Cornish ever learn to drive or catch trains.
Nick opened his counter argument with the fact that The Jorvik Viking Centre is a museum based on immigration and employs people and volunteers from all over the country. ‘Ah well, it’s about numbers, you see,’ was Nigel’s immediate retort, they’ll have to build three of those weird dodgem cars a day to keep up with current rates.
‘But this is the natural ebb and flow of the tourist industry,’ Nick protested. ‘You’re not thinking of the benefits, open borders and free trade means that we can easily visit exotic places like the Bakelite Museum in Somerset, or the Bournemouth sewage works.’
‘Nonsense,’ replied Nigel. ‘We could make trade deals with neighbouring counties. They need our puddings, our parkin and our Wensleydale cheese more than we need their pasties, hot-pots or well dressings. And think of the rhubarb triangle! How else would you make our favourite dessert so mouth-twistingly tangy?’
Nick thudded his beer down and screamed: ‘The future of the planet depends on more than just rhubarb profits Nigel, it’s about...’
‘It’s about sovereignty Nick,’ interrupted Nigel. ‘Over 70 per cent of our laws are made by these southern bigwigs and we have absolutely no say in it, if we break away we can use proper sharp blades at our Longsword dances, we can call anyone we like ‘luv’ and if it suits us, we can eat our own swans. We can stand alone, we would have finished twelfth in the Olympics medal table on own without those Eton overlords meddling.’
‘But Nigel, the only way we can influence and help shape a better, more equal society is to work with the law makers. The former leader of the Labour Party is a Yorkshire based MP, you can’t buy that sort of political clout, and even if you could, what sort of currency are you proposing?’
‘We would keep the pound Nick, with Geoff Boycott displayed proudly on the notes, and Bronte on the coins or, if I had it my way, we’d revert to a simpler time, where we barter for goods and services using sacks of wool.’
As the bell for last orders rang out, I made my excuses and left Nick and Nigel to it. I couldn’t help but think Nick made slightly more sense, although I had to agree with Nigel about the queues at the Viking Centre.