Yorkshire folk far and wide, we come in peace. After all, ours is the finest county.
It’s the the county of cricket, a proper brew, Alan Bennett, The Arctic Monkeys, Yorkshire puddings, Sean Bean, real ale, decent views, Scarborough rock and so much more, and when we eventually go through with it and become independent, we’ll need a capital.
Leeds is that place, and here’s why.
1. It’s big
Look, our new capital city needs to be big, right? According to the latest City Mayor statistics, Leeds is the third largest city in the UK in terms of population, two places higher than Yorkshire’s next best, Sheffield. Apparently, nearly three-quarters of a million folk are blessed to call themselves a Loiner, enough to make a pretty fearsome army – let’s face it, history has told us that any capital city has to be able to defend itself from attack – you never know what the French are up to.
2. It’s got the best shopping
Slightly more frivolous than the ability to resist French invasion, but important all the same. In recent years, Leeds has leapfrogged its Yorkshire comrades in the shopping stakes due to the welcoming on the Trinity Centre and the mass regeneration of the city centre itself. Throw in the forthcoming Victoria Gate shopping centre and you’ve got yourself a shopping paradise.
3. It’s about time we freshened things up
I’m sure in some way York is probably still officially considered the capital of Yorkshire. Back in the day, when it was the capital of like, the medieval north, you could see some logic to that, too. But times have changed. Yorkshire isn’t the old, outdated place it once was, and to that end, Leeds has been right in the driving seat. I’m not saying we should rename it ‘Leedshire’ (although that does have a ring to it), but it’s about time York was usurped.
4. We’ve got the famous folk
Oh yes, the great and the good of northern souls were born in Leeds. Sure, Sheffield spawned Michael Palin, but it is also responsible for Nick Clegg. Hull might boast the likes of William Wilberforce, but how could anyone forget John Prescott? Doncaster? Fair play for giving us Douglas Bader, but then there’s that tool from One Direction. Which brings us to Leeds – Peter O’Toole, Jeremy Paxman, Barry Cryer, Beryl Burton, Alan Bennett and, er, Chris Moyles… OK, there’s always one bad egg.
5. It’s got the best nightlife
Leeds’ nightlife is the best in Yorkshire. Just is, don’t argue with it. Sleepy traditional boozers? We’ve got Whitelock’s, The Ship Inn and countless others. Student nights? Please, we wrote the book on it. There are dozens of world class cocktail bars, and brilliant new bars are popping up left, right and centre. And don’t start us on pub crawls – the Otley Run alone smokes the rest of you lot out of the water.
6. It’s already the sporting capital of Yorkshire
It doesn’t matter how many times Hull City or Sheffield United climb into the Premier League, Leeds United will always be the biggest football club in Yorkshire. Fact. Where is the county cricket club based? Oh yeah, Leeds. Yorkshire’s biggest rugby league club? Leeds. Rugby union? You get the picture.
7. We eat like kings
A few years ago we were way behind in the foodie stakes, but along with that regeneration came a whiff of sophistication, and a whole lot of options on the food front. Many of those came along with the Trinity revolution, including Carluccio’s, Giraffe and others, but dozens of other new ventures have come along too. From fine dining to greasy spoons, Leeds is up there with the very best.
8. We prepare the brains of the future
Any capital city should shape the young brains of it’s nation’s future, something we should think about when Yorkshire goes independent. Thankfully, Leeds has that covered. Art colleges, dance colleges, three fully fledged universities, and the official title of ‘student capital of Europe’, it’s already a bona fide city of education. Sheffield Hallam? The University of Hull? Come on..
9. It already is
Ask all them Southern folk. Leeds is the main man in Yorkshire. It’s about time we made it official.