Should Yorkshire go for Special Minority Status?

Dr Pete Woodcock
Dr Pete Woodcock

When Cornwall was granted Special Minority Status by the Council of Europe it begged a question... could or should other counties or regions of England go down the same route? Why not Yorkshire?

To help answer that very question, a University of Huddersfield lecturer has launched an online research project which aims to compare and contrast the strength of regional identities among both Cornish and Yorkshire people.

His findings will feed into debates about regional devolution that are gaining momentum as a result of the imminent Scottish Independence referendum and the possible breakup of the UK.

Dr Pete Woodcock is ideally placed to carry out the research. Cornish-born, he is Head of Criminology, Politics and Sociology at the University of Huddersfield, where he has been based for almost a decade.

Initially, he decided to conduct a survey of attitudes towards identity solely among Cornish people, using a sophisticated set of questions and a powerful online research tool.

“But then I realised that this theme is applicable elsewhere. Is Cornwall unique within England in regarding itself as being different from England? So I recast my questionnaire to ask the same thing about Yorkshire identity,” explained Dr Woodcock.

“How do Yorkshire people regard a group of people like the Cornish being given special minority status? Does it make them feel they should receive the same treatment, especially as there are far more of them!”

Dr Woodcock’s dual questionnaire is being conducted via Bristol Online Surveys, which has developed a tool that is now widely used for academic research. Now, Yorkshire people, like their Cornish counterparts, are invited to go online and take part in the Yorkshire survey and Dr Woodcock aims to have collated and analysed responses by 18 September, the date of the Scottish independence referendum.

To take part in the survey, visit