The Yorkshire Party was formed 5 years ago to fight the European elections of 2014.
Almost 5 years ago, in early July 2014, the Tour de France used Yorkshire as its Grand Depart – for two glorious days bringing to a global audience the beauty and diversity of “God’s own county”, the county of Yorkshire. This is something that those of us fortunate enough to either call Yorkshire our home or be blessed to have been born here (or both!) always knew, but for me it was that wow moment when realisation hit me. It was something I’d always known but I hadn’t joined the dots. The Tour de Yorkshire gave me the pen than joined those dots.
That realisation was an understanding of how wonderful the brand of Yorkshire is and as an entity how much potential it has.
Yorkshire has an area of approximately 12,000 square kilometres and a population of 5.3 million people. It accounts for 9% of the GDP of the UK. It has commercial and financial power within its big cities, it has industry, it has retail, it has agriculture, it has fishing, it has a vibrant music industry, it has tourism, it has sporting heritage, it has high quality educational and research institutes, it has a rich food and drink industry, it has history oozing from every square kilometre, it has beautiful coastlines, stunning dales and Wolds and moorlands, it has rivers, it even has its own language!
What it doesn’t have is the chance to develop itself into the global powerhouse it could be and its brand needs and deserves. This was my personal wow moment. The potential of this amazing place is shackled by those in power not only in Westminster and Whitehall but also by the nonchalance of those running our town halls, the vested interests that are holding Yorkshire back.
This is what drove me to look in more depth at the concept of devolution. I could see the potential of this county and how London (a place I enjoy visiting and have affection for) acts like a dead weight on the development of its potential.
I saw that all the main political parties complacent with or complicit in the subjugation of Yorkshire as a potential economic and cultural powerhouse. This is when I discovered the Yorkshire Party, a party that wanted to fight for Yorkshire being the best it can possibly be. A Yorkshire that can challenge London and the South East for economic might. A Yorkshire that can be world class commercially, industrially, educationally, culturally. A Yorkshire that isn’t held back by those scared to unleash its potential.
It is still a small but growing political force but from small acorns, mighty oaks grow.