On May 2nd I am standing for re-election as a Town Councillor for the Penistone ward of Penistone Town Council. Like four years ago, I am standing as a Yorkshire Party candidate. You may not be overly familiar with the Yorkshire Party so I thought I would take this opportunity to explain the values of the party.
The Yorkshire Party was formed 5 years ago with the aim of bringing more power and responsibilities to Yorkshire. We campaign for real devolution within England – Yorkshire has a geographical area larger than London’s, a population that is larger than Scotland’s and an economy twice the size of Wales, yet we have the powers of none of these regions. If we want to do something in Yorkshire, we have to go cap in hand to the powers that be in Westminster. Over and over again London decides what is best for Yorkshire and they usually get it wrong – it is about time Yorkshire had some say in what was best for Yorkshire, setting our own priorities and deciding where our money should be spent.
Don’t get devolution and independence mixed up. We don’t seek Yorkshire to be an independent country like the SNP want for Scotland. We just want more decisions about Yorkshire made in Yorkshire by the people who are affected by these decisions, not some far off elite stuck in their own bubble.
Ultimately, we see Yorkshire having its own assembly, like Scotland, Wales and London have. We don’t see it as another layer of local government and we don’t see an assembly as the one rejected by the North East in 2004 which was just a bolt on to what was there already and a talking shop with no real power. In fact an assembly could be cost neutral and save bureaucracy – we could get rid of many of our unitary authorities like metropolitan councils and county councils, many of their powers moved to a central assembly or even moved down to a more local level to be the responsibility of town and parish councils. Imagine your parish or town council having some power when it came to local planning decisions instead of just the power to comment and be ignored? The assembly would ultimately be responsible for policing, education, the local economy, planning, transport and health and social care – vital decisions which need local solutions rather than the one-size-fits-all, distant approach we have at the moment with central Westminster control.
The members and candidates of the Yorkshire party are a broad church of views and opinions, with a central aim of real devolution for the people of Yorkshire. We are not bound by a party whip but adhere to the Bell Principles as outlined by independent candidate Martin Bell.
Our principles are
• We are a party that will judge issues, not whether they are left or right wing, but on evidence and how they will affect Yorkshire, its people, economy and environment
• We represent people and the community – not private interests
• We support a code of conduct upholding standards of elected representatives
• We call for Yorkshire to have the decision-making powers to shape its own future.
Our villages and towns need a voice – Yorkshire needs a voice, the Yorkshire Party wants to be that voice – it is time to speak up for Yorkshire.
If you have any questions please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org