From: Chris Whitwood, Leader of the Yorkshire Party and the party’s lead candidate for Yorkshire and the Humber in the 2019 EU Elections.
IT’S easy to talk about unity. However, it is significantly more challenging to create it in practice. Brexit is an issue that is tearing British politics apart.
Yorkshire is no different. Our region is divided. We have seen three years of difficult and often heated discussions. However, if we (both as individuals and parties) fall into the trap of defining ourselves solely by the binary choice of Leave or Remain, we risk losing sight of the challenges facing our region.
That is why the Yorkshire Party is standing in the European elections on May 23. The party’s recent successes in local elections shows that many people now view the Yorkshire Party as a positive and viable alternative to the Westminster parties.
Regardless of your opinion on Brexit, Yorkshire’s schools are still chronically underfunded. Our health service is overstretched. Our region receives a pitiful tenth of the transport investment enjoyed by London. Areas of Yorkshire suffer the worst air pollution in England outside the capital. Yet these discussions are being drowned out.
Some politicians have dug their heels in becoming increasingly extreme – either arguing to ignore the wishes of the 58 per cent of Yorkshire voters who wanted to leave the EU or willfully disregarding the concerns of the 42 per cent who voted for Remain.
Others refuse to talk about the issue at all.
None of this does anything to inspire confidence in the electorate. The question we must therefore ask ourselves is: Why did we get into politics?
In the case of myself and, I’m sure many other Yorkshire Party members, it wasn’t for fame or money (trust me – if that’s what you’re looking for regional politics is not the direction for you). It wasn’t for an easy life.
So, why join a political party?
The answer is simple: to improve the lives of people living in Yorkshire. A stark choice between sitting at home swearing at Question Time and actually standing up to do something positive.
The example of the One Yorkshire campaign demonstrates how political parties, businesses, civic leaders and voters can set aside differences and unite for the good of Yorkshire. Similarly, the Yorkshire Party provides a home for those on both sides of the Brexit debate, united by our desire to tackle the tangible issues that affect people’s lives.