To: Dan Jarvis; Sheffield City Council; Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council
Keep Sheffield in Yorkshire
The councils of Sheffield and Rotherham should scrap the Sheffield City Region scheme and back the One Yorkshire Devolution proposals which have been agreed by every other council in the county.
Why is this important?
To pursue a "Greater Sheffield" region on Manchester-lines is to disregard Sheffield's small-town feel, to create an unnatural identity over the top of a stronger and older regional sense of self, and fails to serve the people of Sheffield. The Northern Powerhouse project has failed to revive post-industrial communities from within; to attempt to revitalise South Yorkshire by expanding its influence to a non-diverse, middle class commuter belt is an insult to the old steel and coal communities of the area. Sheffield can either choose to be a city that serves those outside it or serves those within it. Sheffield does not have the financial or political clout of Leeds. No, Sheffield and Rotherham make things. We can either be the failed pseudo-capital of an ahistorical creation, or the industrial and engineering centre not just of a devolved Yorkshire, but of the UK. Sheffield does not have, and does not want the economic basis to be a regional capital. Sheffield wants jobs, and jobs that play to our strengths-what is the point in trying to be something we aren't, a financial and business centre, when we are already the Steel City? The choice of the councils is not one that affects merely municipal politics, it is one that affects history. Sheffield and Rotherham are being erased-piecemeal from Yorkshire and both the rest of the county and the two areas stand to lose. Since 1974 there has been a cynical and apathetic treatment of regional identity in the UK. The exit of Middlesbrough from Yorkshire demonstrates that once a city leaves, it doesn't come back. Sheffield and Rotherham councils are choosing to dilute their Yorkshire past rather than play on its strengths. At a time when the national vision of England both is weaponised by the fringes and reflects the landscape, language and lifestyle only of the South, surely it is wise to invest in existing identities that stem from place, not race. Sheffield's diversity and multiculturalism is better mirrored by West Yorkshire than Derbyshire. Yorkshire identity has played a great role in the integration of new communities elsewhere in the region, couldn't it have the same effect in Sheffield? A Yorkshire Mayor would not only reinforce Yorkshire's proud history, but encourage often isolated communities to participate in shaping the
future of such a rich heritage.
For those living in the rest of Yorkshire, remember what Sheffield has and will give you: Pulp, steel, Arctic Monkeys, The Full Monty, Sean Bean, a member of Monty Python, the setting for multiple TV series, and three England footballers. We are the quaint but stoic arthouse of Yorkshire, and will stubbornly remain so.