"I was born in Ireland and have lived in England since the age of five. I have always lived in West Yorkshire, with the exception of two years spent in Canada in 1954 and 1955.
I love West Yorkshire to bits. I love its history, its blend of cross-country culture, and its angry and rebellious authors of the past century. I am forever enthralled by its wild moors and beautiful country scenery, which can sometimes be separated from its neighbouring sooted-stone mill-towns of the industrial age by less than a distance of ten miles. I love its long lists of protesters and freedom agitators who have never feared standing up to the establishment bully as they fought for their beliefs, always prepared to pay the price of hardship, be it forced feeding, transportation, imprisonment or life itself, whether they be Luddites, suffragettes, trade unionists, miners or animal rights protesters. I love Yorkshire culture, its weird ways, its capacity to tell it as it is, its no nonsense approach to life, its superstitious customs and its daft sayings.
I also like the way that Yorkshire folk don't stand on ceremony and are never short of an answer, whatever the situation. The single piece of Yorkshire wisdom I most liked was the answer by a Yorkshire father to his 4- year-old young son who asked, 'How will the baby get out of mummy's tummy when it's born?', to which the dad replies, 'Th' same way it got in, son! Th' same way it got in!'
To me, Yorkshire is the true heart of England. It has often been a stand alone county when the rest of the country has been prepared to bend the knee. Yorkshire folk have always prized personal ownership highly and freedom and self-government above all else. We have always been the first to recognise that an English man's home is his castle. Why, even humble allotment holders will not let you start poking around in their plot of ground without you risking the prod of a pitch fork up your backside along with the battle cry of, 'Ge' out o' it, ye stupid bugger! Go on, scram 'fore I set th' dog on ye!".
When June 23rd, 2016 arrives and you are invited to cast your vote in The UK's EU Referendum, I hope that all true Yorkshire folk will tell all those witless politicians in Great Britain, all those unelected European bureaucrats on the continent and any other faceless business bankruptee, cash conglomerate or monopoly of economic misery, where to get off!
As for those hypocritical international leaders of 'the free world', who cannot help poking their noses into the political affairs of other nations and advising them to do what they would never do, why don't they keep rowing their own boat instead of trying to sink ours! And as for maintaining the so-called 'special relationship', so prized by fawning British Prime Ministers since Edward Heath fifty years ago, this lacks mutual commitment and when closely examined, is more 'superficial' than it is 'special.' America entered both world wars very late in the fight and only when it was forced to defend its own interests! On both occasions, America's entry into the boxing ring was ill timed; first, when we were on the verge of winning fight one and then, when we were in danger of being severely knocked about by an opponent of superior force in fight two! I call nowt about that relationship spectacularly 'special!' America was serving its own interest then as it always has and always will; as it is doing today!
When I go into the polling booth on June 23rd and look at that voting slip, I shall keep my mind on all that England has taught me to cherish since my family emigrated here in the mid 40s. I shall remember those famous Yorkshire values when I'm asked,'What do you want cock?' As I place my X in the LEAVE column I will proudly say in my best Yorkshire voice, 'I want my own country back! I want the right to choose to live my way! I want us to control our own borders. I want us to decide the level of immigration we can cope with without placing an unbearable strain on our jobs, housing stock, welfare system, schools and hospitals. I want us to be able to take migrants from outside the EU as well as those from inside it. I want our Parliament to be supreme and enact our own laws! I want to elect the people who represent me, who legislate on my behalf and whom I can sack or retain every five years at the ballot box! That's all any right-headed Yorkshire person wants and that's what remaining in Europe can never give us! I want out! I want to leave! That's what I want cock!'" William Forde: April 28th, 2016.