The general election dilemmas facing Yorkshire voters today if the North is to become a powerhouse – The Yorkshire Post says

THE Yorkshire Post made a conscientious decision earlier this year to team up with more than 30 other newspapers to press the case for long-term political and economic investment in the North.

The culmination of this was the agenda-setting Power Up The North campaign which challenged – and compelled – all parties to come up with bespoke election manifestos for this region and end decades-long investment and infrastructure injustices.

And, to be fair to Boris Johnson, Jeremy Corbyn and Jo Swinson, they did accept – and recognise – that voters here, even those living in safe seats, could no longer be taken for granted.

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Yet this increased awareness – and the scrutiny that they have faced on the wider Northern Powerhouse agenda – have been high-points in a coarsening general election campaign which has not reinvigorated politics.

Jeremy Corbyn, Boris Johnson and Jo Swinson have all made election pitches to readers of The Yorkshire Post.

Quite the opposite. All three leaders now need to accept some responsibility for the despair and disillusionment being felt as the ‘silent majority’ cast their votes in, arguably, the most important election for a generation because of the stalemate over Brexit.

Yet, while the triumvirate and their loyal supporters, will point to their respective records, Mr Johnson has not assuaged concerns about trust and his ability to honour promises – the fact he was still shying away from certain broadcast interviews early yesterday was, frankly, in character.

Likewise Mr Corbyn. His profligate spending plans have been compounded by his obfuscation over anti-Semitism. The Chief Rabbi’s intervention, saying the soul of the country was at stake, was unprecedented while some Shadow Cabinet ministers have doubts about entrusting their leader with national security.

And then there’s Ms Swinson. Even her draconian decision to over-rule the 2016 referendum vote has been a step too far for many Remain supporters, even at a time when both main parties have abdicated the centre ground of politics. All this, coupled with the public’s wider despondency that has worrying ramifications for the future of democratic debate, makes the final outcome as unpredictable as the previous three general elections this decade – all of which have revealed a deeply divided county, and country, in need of statesmanship and statecraft to see Britain through turbulent times.

The Angel of the North became the symbol for the Power Up The North campaign.

Who is the person – or party – to provide that still elusive leadership? Like previous elections, and the EU referendum, these are individual decisions, often very personal, and we entrust readers and voters here to carefully weigh up all the issues, and consider the diverse range of views that The Yorkshire Post has published, before casting their votes.

It is also exceedingly important that everyone takes the trouble to fulfil their democratic duty – millions gave their lives to save our cherished democracy and a large turnout, even in December, will add legitimacy to the result.

And our final request to readers is to weigh up the characters, credentials and CVs of their respective candidates – the winning person will be entrusted with representing their constituency for the next five years. Yes, people will be motivated by Brexit and austerity when they venture to their polling station – this is an election which will ultimately determine if Mr Johnson or Mr Corbyn ends up leading the country.

But it is also important that Yorkshire returns a cohort of MPs ready and willing to speak up, and stand up, for the North so this region receives the attention and investment that it needs in order to become a national and international powerhouse.

Boris Johnson began the final day of the election campaign delivering milk in Guiseley, part of the marginal Pudsey seat where the Tories are defending a small majority over Labour.

Moving forward, the challenge is to ensure that the promises made in the North today – or yesterday in the case of Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn as they completed their campaign visits here – do not become jam tomorrow...