WHENEVER Richard the Third enters the stage of English history we are all supposed to boo and hiss. But it’s all a Southern plot. Don’t listen to Shakespeare. Up North we should regard Our Dicky as one of the good guys.
For generations after he was treacherously slain at Bosworth in 1485, he was fondly remembered in Yorkshire. He was, after all, brought up among us and he set up a body called the Council of the North, based in York. It did all sorts of good work, bringing order and governance to this part of the world. For all I know it introduced free school meals, bus passes for pensioners, multi-cultural dance workshops and diversity awareness in the workplace as well.
The Council of the North was finally abolished in the 1640s, but it is back in the news, sort of, because some people reckon that if it was reinstituted it might help to heal the North-South Divide, which, as we know, is caused by London leeching on the rest of the country.
As a way of addressing this issue, an all-new Council of the North might be worth a try. But where would it be based?
The all-too-obvious location would be York. But – and you can probably see this coming – I am going to suggest Halifax.
After all, “the North” historically means north of the Trent, so Halifax would be ideally located at the centre of the region. And I don’t want to tempt fate, but suppose, just suppose that – perish the thought – the Lloyds lot reckoned they could dispense with the former Halifax HQ on Trinity Road. Still stunning architecturally, after the best part of 40 years, it would be a magnificent Palace of the North. And the Piece Hall could be used for ceremonial investitures and that kind of thing.
I am just trying to establish the idea as a possibility. If it gathers momentum then who knows, our rather down-on-its-luck town could become the centre of Northern power.