MPs campaigning for regional devolution must keep focus:

Labour’s Jon Trickett, MP for Hemsworth in the West Riding of Yorkshire, is a long-standing protagonist for devolution to Yorkshire. He has spoken out in Parliament in favour of greater powers to our county many times and fully supported the One-Yorkshire devolution proposal put forward by nineteen of Yorkshire’s Leaders, including the Mayor of South Yorkshire.

He has not been alone in these calls; MPs from most of the national parties have spoken out in support of Yorkshire-wide devolution over recent years, such as Liberal Democrat’s Greg Mulholland (no longer in Parliament), Labour’s John Grogan and Conservative’s Robert Goodwill; In fact, the “One-Yorkshire Committee” was co-chaired by John Grogan and Robert Goodwill!

Regional devolution is a matter that should be campaigned for in this cross-party manner. Devolution is not about party politics but about democratic reform, changing the system of government from central control of regional matters to regional control of regional matters; reform that will involve all political parties! We were somewhat concerned, therefore, to learn of a recent piece that Jon Trickett had posted on social media which seems, on one hand, to pertain to regional devolution, but on the other hand, as the title of the piece makes clear, is an obvious attack on his political opposition.

Whilst we agree with everything the piece has to say about the economic standing of the North of England, the North’s contribution to the UK’s wealth through industry, education and creativity and the fact that, despite all that, the North has been treated as a subservient colony ignored by a London-centric Government, the piece then seems to go off-piste! Instead of remaining focussed on the cause of the problem, which is the system of government in place, a system where all meaningful power over regional issues is held in London rather than in the regions themselves, the author digresses into making allegations against the current party at the helm of that system of government.

We, therefore, ask: Should a cross-party matter be used as an arena in which to fight partisan politics? Would this not put at risk the continued co-operation between members of different political parties to achieve their common goal, in this case, regional devolution? Is there not a more appropriate arena in which to make the same points, whether one agrees with them or not? And should not those who support regional devolution focus on changing the current centralised system of government rather than on changing the political party running the current centralised system of government?

You can read Jon Trickett’s piece here.

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