Reflections on Yorkshire & Humber

Campaigning over the last few days has reminded me of how wonderfully varied Yorkshire & the Humber actually is. This weekend, from Bradford to Beverley, from Hull to Holmfirth, from Selby to Shipley, and from York to Yeadon, is itself an illustration. Add recent days from Scarborough to Skipton, Wortley to Wakefield, Barnsley to Bramley and much more besides, and you have an even wider diversity.

From agricultural areas to ports, holiday resorts to former pit villages, big cities to market towns, and leafy suburbs to inner cities — it’s all an example (like Europe) of unity with diversity.  In very varied situations, people often face similar challenges and share common concerns about the future, many of which need us to work together to find solutions.

Whether it’s on the doorstep or on street stalls, the range of reactions on the subject of Europe have a lot in common across our region: a minority who appreciate the EU for the peace and stability it has brought to Europe; a large number who make an economic calculation about its benefits or otherwise; a few who want nothing to do with our neighbouring countries; and many who say they don’t know enough about it and who relish the opportunity to discuss.

As many surveys have shown, the more people are informed about the European Union, the more positive their attitude towards it. That’s why I relish the opportunity to take the debate across our whole region to all those who wish to engage.

But the upcoming election is not a simplistic referendum on whether you are ‘for’ or ‘against’ Europe. It’s an election with competing parties offering a variety of different visions for the future of Europe. And in general, Labour’s vision, of engaging in Europe to make the single market work more fairly, and to take advantage of all the possibilities where working with our neighbours enables us to do more than we can alone, is one that people respond to across the full diversity of Yorkshire & Humber.

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