Objectives for a Democratic Yorkshire

Our aim is to publish a set of full and frank recommendations for the setting up of the Citizens Constitutional Convention no later than Yorkshire Day 2024.

Here is a summary of the thoughts that we have had so far in the preparation of that report.  We have only just started and will be adding more items gradually as we get closer to our deadline.

1.   Citizenship

Our first objective is 'that the citizens of Yorkshire feel empowered to exercise their rights and responsibilities in the full knowledge that their contribution to society, however small, will make a positive difference'. 

Simon Duffy's book Keys to Citizenship describes how we can achieve citizenship in practice. Although the book focuses on people with learning difficulties it is a framework which applies to all of us.   He outlines his theory in the video below. 

Simon describes how Citizenship offers us an exciting way of thinking about the kind of community we want to live in, the roles that we play and how we can achieve Equality without losing any of our individuality.

This was also the subject of our launch event on Wednesday 20 April.  You can see a recording of that event by visiting our archive

Simon wrote this poem for his friends at PFG Doncaster and read it at one of their poetry nights. Its content is relevant to all of us and touches the heart of what we mean throughout this site when we talk about empowering Yorkshire's citizens.

If they tell you,
You don’t belong
To their club, their class, their country;
Then remember that we all long
For more than hollow spaces
And empty boxes.

Don’t feel small because some small man
Tries to make himself feel bigger
By clinging to some flag
By claiming our fathers’ victories
And denying our fathers’ sins.

We liberate ourselves,
When we see that we belong:
Right here, right now,
Amongst those who’ve found us.
Our citizenship begins
The moment that we claim it;
Don’t let it be defined
By those seeking to deny it.

Let no club, no class, no country
Divide or categorise you.
We are citizens of every place
Where and when
We start to build it.
Our little lives burn brightest
When love and fellowship unite us.

2.  What kind of Economic future do we want for Yorkshire?

Times are hard, and like the rest of the world, Yorkshire faces ecological disaster.  On top of that, individuals, companies, and communities in the County are struggling in ways never seen before.  Some blame this on the pandemic, but it is not all the pandemic’s fault.  We know that Yorkshire’s fortunes have been on a downward spiral for decades.

Relentless consumption has plundered the environment and sickened the earth.  Yet successive Governments have remained stubbornly obsessed by free market economics that aren't working. 

Our materialistic and carbon-waste economy has created enormous inequality, the rich live lavish lifestyles, while others suffer increasing poverty, The evidence of such poverty is clear across our county. 

Now is the time, more than ever, to examine closely the nature of the economy we want for Yorkshire, for Yorkshire's children and future generations to live.

The Challenge !

The challenge is to create an economy that cares for both the human spirit and our planet earth, with the well-being and happiness of all Yorkshire’s citizens at the forefront.

At the heart of free market economics are three false assumptions about humanity and the world we live in:

One – people are self-centred caring only about themselves. 

Two – that consuming more means greater well-being.

Three – the environment exists for humans to use as they please.

The emphasis on increasing income and consumption by free market economists may be good for the banking elite and large international corporations, but for the rest of us, it far too often leads to a cycle of frustration, disappointment, and despair, including serious mental health issues, as people are deliberately encouraged to attempt to keep up with the Jones’s or otherwise feel a failure. 

Is there a different model?  YES!

Democratic economics is based on three truths:

One – human nature is kind and altruistic.

Two – people are interdependent with each other.

Three – people are interdependent with nature.

We can escape the cycle of disappointment and despair that comes from endlessly chasing after money and wanting more.  We can use our awareness to enjoy life to the fullest without relying on the extensive consumerism that is destroying our environment and ecology system.

In Democratic economics, economic performance means delivering wellbeing for everyone not just delivering more income for the rich.  

When the world’s rich add even more to their income, they buy bigger houses, cars, and yachts.  When Yorkshire’s low-income families have more money, they spend it on getting by.

Society is better off all round when we reduce status consumption by the wealthy and increase basic consumption by those at the bottom.

Democratic Economics shows us how to get off the materialistic treadmill and focus on the things that are important to us:  living consciously, meaningful lives and caring for mother earth and each other. 

Yorkshire's future economy shall be the subject of our next online event on Wednesday 3 August, see 'events coming up' for details.