For a long time I have harboured what I would call a perfectly rational (others have been known to disagree) antipathy in relation to Yorkshire. I must immediately clarify that I have nothing against Yorkshire or people from Yorkshire per se. In fact, I know several people from Yorkshire: some are nice, some are ok and some are twats, so pretty much the same as people from anywhere else. A slightly higher proportion of twats to be honest, but my sample set is small so I’m not reading anything into that.
What I object to is the “Yorkshire Attitude” which can be summarised as constantly banging on about being from Yorkshire as if it makes them special: “I’m from Yorkshire so I am down-to-earth / call a spade a spade / have got my feet on the ground etc” contrasted expressly or impliedly with “not like you poncey Southerners / Londoners”. And the especially annoying “who would have thought a lad / lass from Yorkshire could achieve X” faux humility that being from Yorkshire means their achievements are somehow that much greater because they were brought up on a handful of hot gravel for breakfast every morning.
If I went around saying – well I’m from London so I’m obviously more sophisticated and urbane than you clodhopping Northerners – everyone would quite rightly think I was a twat. But nobody seems to mind when the Yorkshires do their version of this. But I mind. Especially because I’m one of the Londoners they are impliedly slagging off. Especially when the fuckers live and work in London. If being a Yorkshireman makes you so fucking wonderful and us Londoners are such a bunch of ponces then fuck off back to Yorkshire.
Now, not everyone from Yorkshire displays this trait, and what I have called “Yorkshire Attitude” is not exclusive to Yorkshire – it occurs throughout the North of England (I think it’s pretty common in Liverpool, but then that might be because I know a lot of scousers because Mr Beet is one) and it can happen everywhere apart from the very poshest areas (where people can’t really get away with inverse snobbery and have to settle for regular snobbery instead), but Yorkshire is certainly it’s spiritual home.
When I explain this (i.e. rant about this) to people, they normally look at me as if I’m a loon. But often the next time they see me they’ll say – I saw someone on TV wittering on about Yorkshire the other day and it made me think about what you said. So even if you are reading this thinking – what on Earth is she raving about? - just you wait! There seems to be a kind of Baader-Meinhof phenomenon thing going on where people deny all knowledge of “Yorkshire Attitude” (probably because they are generally well-adjusted people who don’t get annoyed by this kind of thing) and then once I’ve pointed it out to them they suddenly see examples of it. The other alternative is, of course, that they are just trying to placate the crazy woman who gets so annoyed about Yorkshire.
OK – here’s my first example for YorkshireWatch and it’s actually a NorthernWatch comment, but I think it is a good illustrative example of the genre. It’s from an article in the Guardian about women with a phobia of pregnancy and childbirth:
“My sister-in-law was recognised as having this phobia, and gave birth 9 months ago via caesarean. I had never heard of this phobia until then, but glad it is recognised. She is a very hardy working class northerner who is afraid of little and with a very high pain threshold, so definitely not a case of being too posh to push.”
So if a working class Northerner has a problem, it’s a genuine problem deserving of recognition. By implication, if a middle class Southerner had the same problem, they’re probably just being a ponce who should pull themselves together. Gah!