So, which is the fairest rose of them all?

 

Yorkshire

Christopher Hirst

There is much to be said for the Yorkshire Dales becoming bigger.

Yorkshire is synonymous with size. If the biggest county wasn't so big, it would join the rest of the itsy-bitsy, now-you-see-it-now-don't countries like Rutland, Dorset or, indeed, Lancashire. Yorkshire is big even for Americans. As Gore Vidal once told a London hostess when arriving hours late for dinner after driving down from Scotland: "We forgot about Yorkshire."

But I can see why Yorkshire has qualms about extending the national park. You tamper with Yorkshire at your peril. Disliked by all, the river-straddling county of Humberside limped on for 22 years before the component parts were restored to East Yorkshire and Lincolnshire.

This shotgun marriage of Yorkshire, Lancashire and Cumbria – an indigestible hotchpotch of pudding, hotpot and curly sausage – should be dropped forthwith. I'd go further and bring back the Ridings. That would give the minor counties even more to moan about.

Lancashire

Will Dean

The Local Government Act 1972 may have meant that – hailing from Oldham – I've never actually been a proper Lancastrian, but as long as Lancashire's bowlers thunder in from the Brian Statham end at Old Trafford, I will describe myself as one.

It's that 1972 subdivision that rankles most when considering the invasion of Leck Fell. It's all well and good to boast about the size of "God's own country" but given that Lancashire's two cultural, industrial and sporting powerhouses were removed from Roses rivalry, the point is moot. Yorkshire might be bigger, but it's certainly not better. Even without Manchester and Liverpool, Lancashire boasts more wonders than our flat-capped neighbour across the Moors.

Give me the commentary-box chuckles of David Lloyd over the self-importance of Boycott any day; give me Bullseye's Jim Bowen; give me Uncle Joe's Mint Balls; give me Clitheroe sausage and Lancashire cheese.

So go on, Yorkshire – as my compatriots would say, do one.

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