Colne Valley Correspondence….Letters to Voters and Non-Voters

This is a series of letters to people living in the Colne Valley Constituency, covering Holmfirth and the Holme Valley, Meltham, Golcar, Longwood, Lindley, Slaithwaite, Marsden, Linthwaite, Milnsbridge, Crosland Moor…and lots more places in between. I’m standing as the candidate for Yorkshire First and I want to make contact with a wide range of people across this varied and vibrant place. I’m going to be writing to people who have different voting intentions, ranging across the spectrum.

And I’m going to start off with ‘the largest party’ – the people who don’t vote.

So, here we go:

March 19th 2015

Dear non-voter

I meet many members of your party when I’m out canvassing and leafleting. “Sorry, not interested” is the usual response, sometimes more abrupt but seldom rude. And I can understand why you’re not interested. People have seen too many examples of political corruption, MPs on the make, expenses fiddles and politicians just not keeping their promises. There’s a difference between ‘apathy’ and disillusionment. If you just can’t be bothered, you probably won’t be bothered to read this. But if you feel let down, disillusioned and maybe even betrayed by the establishment politicians, it’s maybe worth a few minutes of your time to read on….

A lot of people in Scotland who were completely disillusioned with politics suddenly became re-engaged, as a result of the Scottish referendum. It felt like you could make a difference – either for more devolution within the UK or even independence. Lots of young people got involved and campaigned, on both sides. As a result of the huge turn-out (and the close result) Scotland has been able to win more devolution and more control over its destiny. So I really admire the Scots for what they have achieved. Like us, they see devolution as a means to an end: a fairer, greener, more socially just, economically prosperous Yorkshire where everyone is welcome.

Scotland has its elected parliament, so does Wales: so why can’t we have the same sort of devolution in Yorkshire? That’s what Yorkshire First is about, a vision for our own devolved parliament, taking power away from London and giving it to people in the North. And let me make it clear I’m not saying we want either independence or cutting ourselves off from the rest of Britain. I was born and bred in Lancashire and I identify as a Northerner but also as English, British, European….and I’ve come to love Yorkshire. It’s pretty much the same size as Scotland but we have none of their powers. Politicians are haggling about getting more power to unelected and unaccountable ‘combined authorities’ and over in Greater Manchester people are getting a mayor imposed on them – whether they like it or not. And initially the mayor won’t even be elected! No wonder people are pxxxxd off. Real devolution means democratically-elected government, taking power from politicians and civil servants in London – so not costing any more.

A common complaint from non-voters is that politicians are only in it for themselves. I can honestly say that isn’t the case for me. I’m a reluctant politician and I don’t actually like going round pushing myself forward as ‘your candidate’. If elected, I’ll do a single term and call it a day, giving way to someone younger (I’m nearly 63). And I’m not in it for the money – if elected I’ve said I would take the average full-time salary for the Colne Valley, which is about £27,000. I would use the rest (about £40,000) to employ a couple of young people as ‘community apprentices’, hopefully becoming the politicians of tomorrow.

And one final thing to Mr or M/s Non-Voter. If you don’t vote, you are in effect voting for them. The establishment is happy with people not voting, so carry on not voting. You effectively support the status quo. But you can make a difference, as people in Scotland found. So I hope you will vote – whether it’s from me as Yorkshire First, the Greens or the other parties. And if you haven’t registered to vote you’ve still time to do it – go to . The deadline is April 20th.

If you want to know more about me, go to the Yorkshire First website or, for a more quirky view,

So thanks for your time in reading this – if you do want to know more, just get in touch! I’m contactable on email at or or ring me on 07795 008691