An Opportunity for Yorkshire
By Chris Whitwood,
Leader of the Yorkshire Party
“I have been moved by the heart-warming messages of support that I have received since becoming Leader of the Yorkshire Party and am thrilled by the enthusiasm of members keen to help out in the forthcoming local elections.
“When I first joined the Yorkshire Party in 2014, it was little more than a small group of people with a big idea. To echo the words of founding Leader Richard Carter, the Yorkshire Party seeks nothing less than the civic, social and economic renewal of our region by demanding meaningful devolved powers for Yorkshire. This vision remains at the heart of everything we do.
“As the party celebrates its fifth birthday, I look back with immense pride at what we have all achieved. In 2014, Yorkshire devolution was not even being discussed. Now, the question is not ‘if’ but ‘when’.
“Building a political party is not easy. There are sometimes disagreements and differences of opinion but while we have grown and developed as an organisation, our unifying ambition has always remained the same.
“I passionately believe in what we set out to achieve – namely, a mission to improve the lives of everyone living in Yorkshire. This cannot be achieved by one person. But we, together, have built something that is greater than any individual.
“I got into politics almost by chance. For the past 17 years, I have been a member of first aid charity St John Ambulance and it was a fervent belief that first aid is a skill that everyone deserves to have that led me to campaign for life-saving skills to be part of the school curriculum. I am pleased to say that from 2020 it will be.
“Seeing that my fellow campaigners and I could contribute to a change in legislation that will save hundreds if not thousands of lives, gives me hope for the positive role politics can play in our lives.
“I joined the Yorkshire Party because I believe we can play a positive role.
“In one of the first public speeches I ever gave to for the party, I argued that despite 21st century technology making it easier to communicate than ever before, too many people have felt too disenfranchised for too long. We not only seek to change that, we have a genuine solution and a growing number of evidence-based policies that will help us have a positive impact on the lives of people living in Yorkshire.
“I know that it’s not easy to keep sight of these positives. Hope can very easily be lost through the haze of cynicism, petty squabbles and tribal animosity but we must strive to rise above it. Right now, the country is desperately in need of hope.
“Our vision is ambitious and our vision is one of hope.
“Devolution is a means to an end. We do not obsess about constitutional reform but we believe changing the way the UK works is the best way to address the real issues people face every day – be they the state of the roads, overcrowded trains making commuting to work unreliable, or failures in our schools and hospitals.
“We are dedicated to ensuring every child in Yorkshire receives a world class education.
“We are ambitious for our economy, ensuring prosperity through public investment, jobs and creative enterprise.
“We are passionate about connecting our region, upgrading antiquated transport networks and bringing people together through better communication.
“We are determined to address the threats facing our environment, taking a responsible approach to energy generation not just for ourselves but for future generations.
“We are resolute in our belief that whatever the outcome of Brexit, the Yorkshire Party has a duty to do our utmost to heal the divide that has appeared in our communities.
“And for the Yorkshire Party, I want to build a culture of inclusivity and opportunity, where every member who wants to get involved knows their ideas are valued and they have a role to play.
“This May, we will be standing more candidates than ever, championing the Yorkshire Party’s aims and values right across Yorkshire. For as long as I have the honour of leading the party, I want to support and celebrate these candidates and help them achieve fantastic results.
“Ultimately, we must inspire people to believe things can be better; that they can be ambitious for themselves, their family, their friends and their community; that it is possible to build a Yorkshire of fairness and opportunity; and that they can be the ones to shape Yorkshire. We can make that difference.
“That is our goal: through our campaigns, policies and actions, to inspire everyone in Yorkshire to make a difference.
“Together we can and will build a stronger Yorkshire in a fairer United Kingdom.”
Earlier, Chris paid tribute to former Leader Stewart Arnold after he stepped down. “I would like to voice my thanks for Stewart’s dedication to helping establish the Yorkshire Party. I would also like to thank the Executive Committee for the faith they have placed in me in asking me to take on the responsibility of Leader.
“Our priority remains supporting our excellent councillors and candidates to represent the people of Yorkshire.” he said.
Local Elections, Thursday May 2
The Party is contesting 49 seats across the county: up from our previous best of 24 last year. The number of candidates has more than doubled in twelve months.
See the full list at https://www.yorkshireparty.org.uk/party-doubles-number-of-candidates-in-a-year/
In Camblesforth and Carlton ward in Selby, Councillor Mike Jordan and Paul Welburn are standing for the Party. Mike reports an encouraging response locally. “The canvass work is on track to complete and the villages that I have been in so far have been quite positive. It has helped that two of us are standing and one is an actual parish councillor and well known in the main village. Most people are completely fed up with what is happening in London and a number have said they will never vote again. A number know the work I have done in the villages so there will be some personal vote.”
Tim Norman (left) and Andy Walker
In Bridlington, two senior Party members with a passion to improve their home town are waving our banner. Tim Norman, Party business spokesperson, and Andy Walker, environment spokesperson, are proud to be representing the Party in Bridlington South ward of East Riding of Yorkshire Council.
Tim and Andy bring a breadth of experience and knowledge in how the real world works – and how East Riding and its town councils could co-operate to lift Bridlington out of the doldrums.
Party put on stand-by for possible European elections
The Party’s Executive Committee has drawn up a list of candidates should European elections go ahead at the end of May.
Party Leader Chris Whitwood heads the provisional team of candidates followed by Mike Jordan, Jack Carrington, Laura Walker, Bob Buxton and Dan Cochran.
Full story at: https://www.yorkshireparty.org.uk/party-names-choices-for-a-european-poll/
The Yorkshire Party has a Facebook members group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/2077536719226751/
All you have to do is request to join, we check your membership and away you go.
Forthcoming Branch Meetings: for details see the Events page on the Party’s website at https://www.yorkshireparty.org.uk/event-directory/