Much as it ill behoves me as a proud Lancastrian, albeit with a grandfather born in York, I find myself forced to take my hat – sorry, ‘at – off to Yorkshire (‘Wash mouth out with carbolic soap’ – Ed, a Liverpudlian) for their outstanding Olympic endeavours.
As a Leeds sportswriter Tweeted, with the four gold medals won by Games Golden Girl heptathlete Jessica Ennis from Sheffield, Huddersfield cyclist Ed Clancy (who also bagged a bronze), rower Andrew Triggs Hodge, from Hebden Bridge, and oarswoman Katherine Copeland, who hails from Stokesley, in the North Yorks Moors – plus a clutch of silvers and bronzes – if Yorkshire was a nation it would rank 11th in the world.
That would place the county ahead of Japan, South Africa and even Australia in the medals table.
At the risk of sounding churlish – and without recourse to mention the various successes of competitors from my side of the Pennines – what pleases and somewhat surprises me about the Tykes’ triumphs is, so far, there has been a distinct absence of crowing about Yorkshire being ‘God’s Own Country’ and erroneous claims to winning the 15th Century War of the Roses (which the Lancastrian Red Rose shaded, even if a Welshman, Henry Tudor, usurped the English throne).
However, I predict it won’t be long before some ‘professional’ Yorkshireman hoists the flag of nationalism and calls for self-rule of the tripartite shire, that it quits the UK – urged on by Scottish smug-in-chief Alex Salmond – and declares UDI in the face of any Westminster opposition.I could even envisage a Yorkshire cabinet of worthies: Prime Minister – Geoff Boycott; Foreign Secretary – Jarvis Cocker; Home Secretary – Jeremy Paxman; Defence Minister – Brian Blessed (with his stentorian voice to scare off invaders, Yorkshire wouldn’t need an army); Culture Minister – Alan Bennett; Minister of Agriculture – Alan Titchmarsh; Minister of Food – Eric Pickles; and Leader of the House of Lords (to be based in Barnsley, of course) – Michael Parkinson.
You’ll note I’ve no nominee for Chancellor of the Exchequer, since, knowing Yorkshire folks’ ‘reverence’ for money (or ‘igh regard fer brass, as they say in ‘Ull), they wouldn’t need one, which would save a fair few bob, by ‘ek.
Yorkshire could even have its own flag, featuring a pudding and a frothy pint of Theakston Bitter, plus ‘On Ikley Moor Bah T’at’ as its national anthem. Genteel Harrogate would become its capital and Betty’s Tea Rooms the seat of Parliament (‘every t’other Thursday, o’course…no use wastin’ precious time b*ggering abaht gabbin’).
I can also foresee a Yorkshire language taught in Yorkshire schools (i.e. ‘Blathered oop’ = dirty; ‘cake ‘ole’ = mouth; ‘Reet clemmed’ = very hungry; ‘Ey-up’ = Hello; ‘Gradely’ = nice looking/well done; ‘Mash’ = to brew; ‘Mithered’ – bothered or stressed; ‘Summat’- something, not to be confused with a hilltop; ‘Think on, lad’ = remember, my son).
Yes, there’s a 194th member of the United Nations just waiting to be appointed and no longer can we Lancastrians deride our northern brethren from the wrong side of the Pennines with the mickey-take, ‘I’m from Yorkshire born and bred / Strong in’t arm and think in’t….er’).
So well done, Yorkshire.
Meanwhile, can anyone kindly lend me a bar of carbolic soap and a toothbrush?
PS: Apologies to any non-Brits if you find this confusing – but, if you’re a New Yorker, think of Texas.