YORKSHIRE'S battle for political independence began in earnest yesterday.
Yes4Yorkshire campaigners gathered in Huddersfield's St George's Square to demand a county assembly.
Julian Cummins, the campaign's deputy chairman, said it was time to build a better future by having a devolved assembly.
The cross-party ``Yes" campaigners want to see the first elected body working by 2006.
This autumn, a referendum will allow the public to vote on the elected assembly.
"We are delighted to be in Huddersfield because an elected assembly is going to bring major benefits to people here," said Mr Cummins.
He said Kirklees Council had an important job to do, but was unable to take a wider strategic overview.
Improving health and transport will be among the assembly's priorities.
Mr Cummins said Yorkshire came well down league tables of achievement in fields such health, transport and skills.
"The evidence shows that Yorkshire is about eighth out of nine English regions in almost all those areas.
"So we can do a lot better.
"And if people think we can do better, then setting up an elected assembly and bringing power back from London makes a lot of sense."
He said various unelected quangos (quasi non-governmental organisations), such as the Strategic Rail Authority and Yorkshire Forward, had many strengths - but more weaknesses.
"All these quangos have an impact and make important decisions on our behalf.
"But they are not under democratic control and there's no effective co-ordination," said Mr Cummins.