We envisage a Yorkshire Parliament genuinely close to the people.
We are talking here about a parliament charged with empowering people from every level of society and every background to participate fully in decisions affecting both their immediate communities’ and the county’s future.
We believe in subsidiarity, where the people affected by them take decisions as locally as possible.
Gone would be the days of the Westminster-style top-down government based on ideology; that would be replaced by a new, bottom-up approach that dealt with things sensibly and realistically in a way that was based on people’s needs and aspirations, on “user expertise” rather than on the theoretical considerations of outside experts who tend to be unfamiliar with local conditions.
Here we are talking about much more than the traditional consultation process practised at times by both central and local governments to varying degrees of effectiveness, a process that is often just window dressing for community involvement.
We would create a mechanism that through “collective deliberation” genuinely empowered each citizen to initiate and contribute their own ideas on what should be done with devolved powers and budgets to make decisions affecting the environment, infrastructure and amenities in their area.
We envisage that this process of empowerment will start with discussions in small groups at a neighbourhood level or through local representative organisations and then gradually build.
Where these synergies of ideas merge into common themes, those common themes would become the policy and priorities of a Yorkshire Parliament and Yorkshire Government.
Mechanisms are needed that enable subsidiarity to work in a practical sense that benefits people’s lives.
For example, under this process, ordinary people would be empowered to work together to determine the detailed specifications of their local services, determine who the provider should be and, where they wish to, manage those services themselves, either at arm’s-length, through community co-operatives, or through a social enterprise.
We are talking here about a fresh way of doing things: one where every Yorkshire man and women is able to contribute, feel a real sense of ownership and responsibility in shaping their own, their neighbourhood’s and their county’s future.