The Yorkshire Election Salvo

ey up – tha knows it meks sense

An irritatingly frequent election Salvo from Yorkshire First’s candidate in the Colne Valley (aka Paul Salveson).

A noisy radical voice for the region – where speculations on the soul are encouraged – rising at once against the never-ending audacity of elected persons

Issue No. 2 April 14th

Welcome to the second Yorkshire Election Salvo, aiming to provide a mix of silly and more serious comment on the election. Mainstream politicians take their politics very seriously, which is why I’m proud to say I’m not a mainstream politician and heaven forbid I ever become one. So enjoy this positive YES from the Colne Valley political powerhouse……

Holmfirth Hustings – and the New English Revolution

The latest Colne Valley constituency hustings was in Holmfirth last night. A good crowd (about 150 I’d say) heard five candidates respond to a range of questions covering equality, education, Europe, climate change, food banks, local public services and the economy. The event was well-chaired by Dr Andy Williams, head of Holmfirth High School. It was organised by a partnership of Holme Valley Vision, Holmfirth Transition Town and Holme Valley Churches. Here’s an outline of my concluding remarks, expanded a bit to include more than I was able to say in 90 seconds:

“Politics in the UK is changing; over the last twelve months the tectonic plates have shifted and we’re seeing the end of the two-party system. Scotland has led the way, but Wales is catching up, with some great stuff coming from Plaid Cymru led by Leanne Wood. The Greens are doing well too and are catching up with UKIP. I think anyone who watched the ‘Leaders’ Debate’ last week would agree that “it was the women wot won it” – SNP’s Nicola Sturgeon, Leanne Wood from Plaid and Natalie Bennett of the Green Party.

Many people in England have been turned off by politics by expenses scandals and inappropriate MP’s ‘second jobs’, but there’s a new radical spirit of political engagement abroad in Scotland and Wales. I want to see that arising in the North of England. It isn’t about independence, it’s about creating a new balance within the UK without the over-dominance of London and the South-east. I want to see a strong, inclusive and progressive Britain where Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the English regions work together as equals. And we should hold out the hand of friendship to the Irish Republic as well. Yorkshire should have the same kind of self-government that Scotland and Wales already have, not the undemocratic ‘combined authorities’ being foisted on West Yorkshire, Greater Manchester and elsewhere. Instead, we should have directly-elected, fully accountable assemblies elected by a fair voting system, taking power and resources out of Whitehall and Westminster. Alongside that, I want to see reformed local government which relates to people’s real identities, not sprawling, increasingly purpose-less 70s creations like Kirklees. We need to get power down to the most local level that’s appropriate. Democracy is a means to an end; the Chartists back in the 1840s called it “a knife and fork question”. In other words, democratic devolution is about a growing economy, a more equal and socially just society and a world that we can pass on to our children and grand-children with confidence and pride. I want Yorkshire to lead the way in a new ‘English Revolution’ that will achieve that vision.”

Transport in Yorkshire: what we want to achieve for rail

Yorkshire First’s ‘Vision for Rail’ was published recently and outlines a radical, but deliverable, plan for rail in the region based on targeted investment in electrification, extra capacity, new routes and investment in rolling stock. The full version can be downloaded here:

Labour’s manifesto

Labour launched its election manifesto in Manchester yesterday, though I suspect most if not all of it was written in London. There are some good things in it, particularly on the NHS, social justice and ‘green jobs’. For the railway crank, there is a nice picture of a class 66. On the down side, Labour re-affirms its commitment to Trident and a sort of ‘austerity-lite’. It could have been written by Philip Snowden, Labour’s first Chancellor of the Exchequer, Colne Valley MP and strong advocate of fiscal rectitude. Only trouble is, if you start out with a cuts agenda with the aim of reducing the deficit, you actually weaken the economy and delay deficit reduction. Deficit reduction shouldn’t be an end in itself; it certainly needs to be more manageable and that will be achieved by a growing economy based on investment and a re-balanced Britain so wealth and political power isn’t concentrated in London.

On English devolution the manifesto has little new to offer though I applaud the proposal to reform the House of Lords into a ‘senate of the nations and regions’. Lets’ see what the detail is and what sort of voting system will be proposed; it must be proportional. Labour should have bit the bullet and gone for the same kind of devolution in England that Scotland and Wales already have, with a similar funding settlement to Scotland’s for each English region. Labour is simply putting too much on the shoulders of local authorities who are expected to take on the role of ‘regional’ (combined) authorities as well, but with none of the accountability real elected regional government delivers. But I don’t want to be too negative: there is much that is good in it, but it isn’t good enough.

Where I stand

Yorkshire First is a new party, formed only a year ago. Our main objective is to get a directly-elected assembly for Yorkshire, giving people the means to address growing inequality and help build a strong regional economy. Many people are disillusioned with mainstream politics. We’re different and here’s why:

  • Our candidates are not expected to toe a party ‘line’ – if elected they will act in accordance with their conscience and the wishes of the people they represent.
  • We will organise regular open meetings to hear people’s views – a quarterly ‘Colne Valley Parliament’
  • If elected I will take the average full-time salary for the Colne Valley and use the remainder to employ young people to gain experience of community campaigning

I want a Yorkshire assembly to be elected by proportional representation with strong powers (like Scotland), financed by taking power and resources away from Westminster and Whitehall. So there would be no extra cost and fewer MPs. Locally, I want Kirklees split into two (Huddersfield/Colne Valley and Dewsbury/Spen), with stronger parish councils. A Yorkshire assembly is only a means to an end: it must promote social justice and a growing economy with good quality jobs that pay at least the living wage. A Yorkshire Development Agency, accountable to the assembly, would stimulate the economy and work with business, universities and local government to promote innovation and research. We need a vibrant local economy with a flourishing network of small businesses, including co-operatives, trading with each other and offering good quality local goods and services. Colne Valley needs better public transport and I will continue my fight for a station serving Golcar and Milnsbridge, and for improved services on the Penistone Line, with buses integrated with the trains, not competing.

Letters to voters and non-voters:

Here are the links to the ‘voters and non-voters’ in Colne Valley so far. The ‘Letter to UKIP’ will be ready tomorrow.

Walt Whitman on politicians, the great city and equanimity

Walt Whitman was one of the greatest American poets of the 19th century (1819-1892) and lived all his life in the USA. He had an avid supporter in Huddersfield poet Walt Hawkins, a close friend of the Lancashire circle of ‘Whitmanites’. Whitman’s poem ‘Song of the Broad Axe’ contains this magnificent section on ‘where the great city stands’ – which could be right here in the Colne Valley, Huddersfield or wherever you want it to be….where the citizen is always in command:

“The place where a great city stands is not the place of stretch’d
wharves, docks, manufactures, deposits of produce merely,
Nor the place of ceaseless salutes of new-comers or the
anchor-lifters of the departing,
Nor the place of the tallest and costliest buildings or shops
selling goods from the rest of the earth,
Nor the place of the best libraries and schools, nor the place where
money is plentiest,
Nor the place of the most numerous population.

Where the city stands with the brawniest breed of orators and bards,
Where the city stands that is belov’d by these, and loves them in
return and understands them,
Where no monuments exist to heroes but in the common words and deeds,
Where thrift is in its place, and prudence is in its place,
Where the men and women think lightly of the laws,
Where the slave ceases, and the master of slaves ceases,
Where the populace rise at once against the never-ending audacity of
elected persons,
Where fierce men and women pour forth as the sea to the whistle of
death pours its sweeping and unript waves,
Where outside authority enters always after the precedence of inside
Where the citizen is always the head and ideal, and President,
Mayor, Governor and what not, are agents for pay,
Where children are taught to be laws to themselves, and to depend on
Where equanimity is illustrated in affairs,
Where speculations on the soul are encouraged,
Where women walk in public processions in the streets the same as the men,
Where they enter the public assembly and take places the same as the men;
Where the city of the faithfulest friends stands,
Where the city of the cleanliness of the sexes stands,
Where the city of the healthiest fathers stands,
Where the city of the best-bodied mothers stands,
There the great city stands”.

The Bell Principles (just so you don’t forget)

We adhere to these core principles of behaviour: We will:

  • abide wholeheartedly by the spirit and letter of the Seven Principles of Public Life set out by Lord Nolan in 1995: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership
  • be guided by considered evidence, our real world experience and expertise, our constituencies and our consciences
  • be free from the control of any political party, pressure group or whip
  • be non-discriminatory, ethical and committed to pluralism.
  • make decisions transparently and openly at every stage and level of the political process, enabling people to see how decisions are made and the evidence on which they are based
  • listen, consulting our communities constantly and innovatively
  • treat political opponents with courtesy and respect, challenging them when we believe they are wrong, and agreeing with them when we believe they are right
  • resist abuses of power and patronage and promote democracy at every level
  • work with other elected independents as a Group with a chosen spokesperson
  • claim expenses, salaries and compensation openly so the public can judge the value for money of our activities.

More hustings events coming up near you:

Monday April 20th, 7.30: Wills o’Nats pub, near Meltham Nab

Monday April 27th: 7.30 Marsden Mechanics, Peel Street, Marsden

(suggest you get there early in both cases)

Can you help?

Yorkshire First is a small party with no money but plenty of guts and enthusiasm. We need help – from door-knockers, leafletters and donors. If you want to send a donation you can go on-line to and click on the relevant button, or be an old-fashioned Luddite like me and write out a cheque to ‘Yorkshire First’, posting it (with a stamp!) to YF, Bank Top, 90a Radcliffe Road, Golcar, Huddersfield HD7 4EZ

  • You can email me at:
  • Phone me on 07795 008691
  • Tweet: @YfColne (please follow us)
  • Facebook: Yorkshire First Colne Valley (please ‘like’ our page)

Yorkshire First has its own general website as above but there’s also the unofficial Salvo site at which is probably where you are seeing this. It is full of other stuff as well so if you are interested in railways, Yorkshire and Lancashire dialect, the poetry of Walt Whitman, tripe, station cafes etc. it is tailor-made for you, whoever you are.

Promoted by Richard Carter of Yorkshire First on behalf of Paul Salveson – both of Railway House, Meltham, Holmfirth HD9 5NX. Home address: 90a Radcliffe Road, Golcar, Huddersfield HD7 4EZ