I am proud to be working with my friend and colleague, Simon Biltcliffe, as he runs for Mayor of South Yorkshire as part of the Yorkshire Party.
I’ve never been a particularly political person. I wouldn’t consider myself “left” or “right” in terms of politics. In fact, I haven’t really paid much attention as I’m usually pretty busy! But recently, Simon Biltcliffe – a local business owner and friend of mine, has decided to run for the South Yorkshire mayoral candidate on behalf of the Yorkshire Party.
When I started looking into it, I noticed that it didn’t come across as a political party, but rather more a community-led organisation that is all about self-empowerment, local investment and parliamentary devolution. I then read the manifesto (I have never in my life read a single one before) and it resonated so closely with me. I felt like I’d lost my Yorkshire identity – I’m a business owner turned investor and travel all over the country. I have never worn my geographical roots with pride, because why?
Once I’d sat with Simon, I was proud to be from Yorkshire again. He explained to me everything we get wrong and how much better our region could be if we had a stronger political presence in favour of Yorkshire. Now, I’m not one in favour of independence, but he explained to me that isn’t what the party is about. It’s about collaboration and using our incredibly huge economy to benefit locals more, and how up to £5,000 per year per person in Yorkshire is drained away due to a centralised political landscape and how people from our county had lost their pride, with more and more younger people moving down South or away from their turf in search of better opportunities that just don’t (but should, and can) exist closer to home.
I am now a proud Yorkshire Party member and donor. That’s not to say I hate the rest of the country, the exact opposite. The North has been promised a lot, a lot that never came, and still isn’t forthcoming. We want to change that. We want to lose the East/West divide with Lancashire, we want to lose the North/South divide with London and the South East. Why can’t we work together? But with a more local focus, fairness and identity? Why can’t we have it all?
I think we can. Particularly in the North, where many communities seem to have been forgotten. That’s why I am now a member and donor for the Yorkshire Party. And if you live in Yorkshire or the surrounding areas – I think you should be, too. We have ample opportunity here, we just don’t cultivate it like we should. We have lost pride in our home towns and villages. We have a lack of inward investment because of these preconceptions that cause a lack of cohesion. We have a lot to be proud of, and I want to see more of that. I want to see a bigger enterprising and investment hub presence in Yorkshire.
This isn’t about politics for me, it’s about fairness. And not just for Yorkshire, but for the North in general. If you are interested in what the party is about, feel free to take a look here. And for those of you in South Yorkshire, take a look at Simon’s website here.