Battle of Ideas: The People’s Republic of South Yorkshire

Moving cars or moving people? Through the looking glass

A bit of background on The People’s Republic (Wikipedia):

The People’s Republic of South Yorkshire or the Socialist Republic of South Yorkshire were nicknames often given to South Yorkshire under the left-wing local governments of the 1980s, especially the municipal socialist administration of Sheffield City Council led by David Blunkett, used by both detractors and supporters of the councils.[1] The councils pursued a social policy radically different from that of Margaret Thatcher‘s national government, following more closely along the lines of Militant tendency-dominated Liverpool City Council and the Greater London Council led by Ken Livingstone.[2] 

The expression was coined by Max Williams, a leader writer at the Yorkshire Evening Post, although it was soon adopted by supporters of the council’s left-wing policies.[3] Sheffield Hallam was the only seat in South Yorkshire where the Conservative Party was a significant political force, the remaining seats being Labour safe seats or Liberal–Labour marginals.[4] Sheffield City Council and the South Yorkshire Metropolitan Authority were solidly left wing, remaining socialist even as Thatcherism became the dominant political ideology in the country as a whole.

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“A man who, beyond the age of 26, finds himself on a bus can count himself as a failure,” UK Prime Minister Thatcher once said, according to legend

Summing up

In your eyes, how does all of this look today, a full generation later?

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About the editor: 

Eric Britton
13, rue Pasteur. Courbevoie 92400 France

Bio: Founding editor of World Streets (1988), Eric Britton is an American political scientist, teacher, occasional consultant, and sustainability activist who has observed, learned, taught and worked on missions and advisory assignments on all continents. In the autumn of 2019, he committed his remaining life work to the challenges of aggressively countering climate change and specifically greenhouse gas emissions emanating from the mobility sector. He is not worried about running out of work. Further background and updates: @ericbritton | | #fekbritton | | and | Contact: | +336 508 80787 (Also WhatApp) | Skype: newmobility.)

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2 thoughts on “Battle of Ideas: The People’s Republic of South Yorkshire

  1. Ian Perry writes on October 30 at 2:45 PM
    An old documentary made shortly after disastrous bus deregulation in the UK in 1986. The fears and expectations of many have been proven correct. The ideologist have seen bus use plummet and gridlock on our streets. Even back in the 1970’s, people were worried about the pollution in our cities from cars… The bus was their answer.

  2. In recent years South Yorkshire has shared in the massive bus cuts that have affected most of England. The cross boundary link to Goole has disappeared, as a result of which anyone wishing to get there from Moorends has to backtrack to Thorne station and catch a train — and the community of Rawcliffe Bridge across the boundary is even worse off, with the choice between an infrequent train service on the Goole-Leeds line a significant walk away and a bus that runs 3 days a week.

    Another cross boundary service out of Doncaster used to run half hourly vis the B6422 to South Elmsall, the first town in West Yorkshire. Now the villages on the B6422 have just 5 buses a day, and if they wish to go to West Yorkshire, or if anyone from West Yorkshire wishes to visit Brodsworth Hall, they have to backtrack to Doncaster or Thurnscoe. Reciprocally Doncaster has lost its direct link with Nostell Priory.


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