As David Cameron jokes that Yorkshire is a county full of miserable haters, Yorkshireman Jordan Waller says it's no laughing matter...
David Cameron, consistently disappointing Prime Minister of this great island has gone and put his foot in it hasn’t he. Remarking in disdain (off camera but to a surreptitiously live microphone) his true thoughts about Yorkshire.
Practically tripping over his own words to say: “We just thought people in Yorkshire hated everyone else, we didn’t realise they hated each other so much.”
Obviously, and quite reasonably, if not slightly sensitively, the great people of Yorkshire reacted with a dulcet-toned chorus of: “Bellend.”
Raging at not only the offence of it all (nobody likes to be dubbed miserable) but at the fact that he was in Leeds, one of Yorkshire’s bloody Meccas, when he said it. It’s basically like someone turning up to your house and telling you your carpet looks like sick and then still expecting you to make them a brew.
And the whole thing is bonkers, right? Because Yorkshiremen are absolutely brilliant aren’t they? Friendly flat-cap wearing ragamuffins with whippets and a constant mug of tea in their hand. All smiley, jokey and full of friendly banter uttered in syllable-lacking sentences.
The type of people that can flip any frown upside down and stick a smile on any dial with our funny little voices and simple approach to life. A merry bunch that love everything that life has to offer, as long as it’s in the north.
Or at least so goes the general stereotype. Truthfully and speaking as a Yorkshireman (although I currently reside in that there London) we’re actually not always that chirpy.
In fact, Cameron is probably pretty dead on with the statement. We do hate a lot of things, we just shroud it in a mask of chirpiness because when life serves you a shit sandwich and nothing else, generally speaking, you just have to swallow it. It’s not that we’re happy all of the time it’s because we know it doesn’t matter either way, this is life and life needs to constantly plod on.
But if ever the people of Yorkshire were a little bit fed-up about life then I’d doubt anyone could really blame them for it, least of all David Cameron.
The fact is that, as great as Yorkshire is (and it really is fantastic) there’s also a lot of things wrong with it too. It rains all of the time, all of your favourite shops are always closed and on a fairly regular basis we’re chastised (not helped and supported) in varying measures by national press as a county full of obese chip-butty-through-school-bars chomping gluttons, simpletons stuck in a neverending recession, right-wing UKIP supporters and the paedophile empire of the UK.
Let’s be honest, despite the fond niceties of being from a county stereotypically dubbed as ‘loveable’ it’s not all Hovis and bingo halls. Yorkshire is depressed, in every sense of the word if you’re to believe increased suicide and depression stats, and it has been for a while.
And why is that? Because morons like David Cameron don’t really care. To them Yorkshire and its struggles to step out of the recession, its lack of education, policing and hospital resources are all just one more thing that these kinds of people can’t empathise with. A problem that can be buried between the Pennines and forgotten between the occasional flying visit.
David Cameron never came home from work to find his dad had lost his job as a builder after more than 25 years due to cutbacks. He never had to go to school wearing his older sister’s (giant) blazer because it had fewer holes in the lining than his or save newspaper coupons for his caravan holiday adventures in Skegness.
Cameron may have brushed off his comments as a joke that was taken badly but it doesn’t matter. Joke or not, it’s patronising to a group of people where the struggle is very real and whom have every right to be pissed off about a lot of things, especially their PM.
Rather than joke about the fact the brilliant people hosting you are miserable, why not ask why they’re miserable? How have you, as PM failed them and how can you fix it?
Until Cameron starts asking these kinds of questions rather than making wry comments for the benefit of his silver-healed clan of posh boys, he’s never going to break through to the region, nor be trusted as a leader.
Yorkshire doesn’t need jokes and open-handed palms, we want to be held in the same high-regard as the south. Shown that we’re every bit as integral to what makes Britain great and it’s not just because we know how to do a great Sunday roast. Which we do.