Tour de France gripes are just sour grapes

York Press: Yorkshire’s “Pied Piper of Tourism”:  Gary Verity, wearing sunglasses, joins local schoolchildren on the Headrow in Leeds as part of the countdown to Le Grand Depart Yorkshire’s “Pied Piper of Tourism”: Gary Verity, wearing sunglasses, joins local schoolchildren on the Headrow in Leeds as part of the countdown to Le Grand Depart

I SEE that sour grapes are still being spat out by those who are miffed by Welcome to Yorkshire’s amazing coup in attracting the Tour de France to our county from right under the noses of the likes of David Cameron and his cohort.

As we all know, he’s been cossetting the Scots with all sorts of antics, including backing their Tour de France hosting bid, in the hope that they’ll reject the call for independence and he’ll win some votes at the general election ballot box as a result.

And, as we all also know, government funding to the Yorkshire and Humber region was slashed in favour of the Scots earlier this year – probably as a payback for Yorkshire having the flat-capped audacity to be better than the government’s own game in attracting the world’s biggest spectator sporting event to God’s own county rather than north of the border.

So I can’t say I was that surprised when North Yorkshire’s Conservative police commissioner Julia Mulligan jumped on the sour grapes bandwagon and berated Welcome to Yorkshire for allegedly not consulting with her about the policing of the event next July.

She wrote a snottygram to Welcome to Yorkshire boss Gary Verity, slipped a sly copy to a Yorkshire newspaper before he’d apparently had chance to respond, then stood back and watched after the blue paper was lit.

She has a point when she highlights that 60 per cent of Le Grand Depart route goes through North Yorkshire, where the police force has the smallest budget when compared to its bigger brethren in the western and southern parts of the county.

But to then appear on local radio and say the cost isn’t an issue because the force will be budgeting for it just confirms to many that this is yet another case of people throwing their teddies out of the cot because Verity and his team had the Yorkshire grit, gumption and determination to realise the Tour de France dream.

And to also suggest that poor, beleaguered police officers and community support officers will, heavens above, have to be on duty around and on the weekend of Le Grand Depart, with all police leave being cancelled, and implying by saying so that the poor souls will be hard done by as a result, is frankly pathetic. It’s what they do, for pity’s sake. It’s their job!

If I was a police officer serving in North Yorkshire next summer I would positively jump at the chance of being on duty while the world’s biggest sporting event descended on my patch. To be able to say “I was there”, to soak up the atmosphere and be part of one of most fabulous things to ever happen in this wonderful county of ours is the stuff of regaling the grandkids at bended knee.

There’s no way a rural bobby who’s part of the fabric in the likes of Wharfedale and Swaledale is going to want to miss out on joining with his or her community to make the most of such a momentous occasion.

We saw it with the Olympics last year, when police officers were pictured having a craic with the crowds and getting into the swing of the moment.

And we’ll see it again next summer when thousands line the route up hill and down dale in the anticipation of the moment when they finally get to see the pre-riders cavalcade followed by the flash of Lycra and helmet as the cyclists speed by.

After all, it’s not like policing a football match or York Races or a Saturday night in drink-fuelled city streets, is it?

I’m getting sick and tired of the ah-yes-but brigade seeking to constantly rain on Welcome to Yorkshire’s parade by hunting out all the negatives they can muster while being damning with faint praise about the positives that will result from the Tour de France coming to us next July.

Gary Verity is the pied piper of tourism for this county, who has thousands of businesses large and small behind him because they can see the benefits for everyone that Yorkshire hosting this mother of all sporting events will bring.

Welcome to Yorkshire had the vision to make it happen and all those who have had their noses put out of joint as a result should put their pouting bottom lip away, stop spitting out the sour grapes dummy and get over it.

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