IT’S Yorkshire Day on Monday.
In this paper former MP and devout Sheffielder Joe Ashton will make a stirring – if tongue-in-cheek – case for dismissing Yorkshire Day and having a South Yorkshire Day instead.
Don’t miss it, it’s a cracking read but within its ironic evisceration of this most modern of celebratory days lies the real germ of why it’s a daft idea.
Yorkshire Day seems to be a bit of an embarrassment round here. People in Sheffield don’t seem to care that much for it at all.
Before you all scream ‘traitor’, I’m not from Yorkshire or Sheffield but it wouldn’t matter if I was.
The day is just a bit of fun, a day to acknowledge the county, have a laugh at its finery, foolishness, successes and excesses.
Anyone who takes it seriously ought to get out (of the county) more.
It came about initially in 1975, started by the Yorkshire Ridings Society, initially in Beverley, as a “protest movement against the Local Government re-organisation of 1974”.
Hardly the stuff of legend is it?
The more you meet people from all over the place the more you realise that the only real difference is in the accent.
Because some Yorkshire people say they ‘speak their minds’ doesn’t make them any more frank and open than people who don’t brag about spouting the first thing that comes into their heads.
Some Yorkshire people are the epitome of tact and discretion, some speak when they’re spoken to and others can’t stop rabbiting – just like people everywhere else.
Why is it a good thing to play the music hall Yorkshireman once a year with a flat cap, ferret and a sudden love of Ilkley Moor?
Sheffield isn’t like that, Sheffield is more about its own identity than Yorkshire.
A family in Parson Cross has a lot more in common with someone in London’s Tower Hamlets than it would with one from the posh end of Harrogate or Fulwood in their own city.
But there might be something in all this.
Most Sheffield and Yorkshire people actually ARE warm and open, funny and straightforward – just like most people are everywhere else.
Sheffield is a great city and Yorkshire is a marvellous, beautiful county with great natural beauty, history and some odd folk.
But so is Derbyshire, Kent, Lancashire and New Zealand.
Let’s enjoy the brass bands, colliery queens, whippets, pigeons and black pudding, but let’s not buy into the whole ‘God’s Own County’ thing.
It’s naff, it’s embarrassing and, speaking as a guest, it’s not what Sheffield is about.
Tripe and onions anyone?