Th’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) – “bloody ‘ell – aye!”

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 (Walt Whitman)

Issue No. 12 May 4th 2015

Here’s the latest Yorkshire Election Salvo on a sunny Bank Holiday morning, aiming to provide a mix of more and less serious comment on the election.

Le Tour storms Crimble Clough - looks like hard work

The crowds appalud as Le Tour storms Crimble Clough – looks like hard work

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 and cultural powerhouse……

This issue reverts to a bit of colour…couldn’t resist including yesterday’s fantastic ‘Tour de Yorkshire’ which we watched in Slaithwaite – and see below for our cycling strategy.


A new People’s Charter

The draft ‘People’s Charter’ excited lots of interest and suggestions, which I’ve incorporated into the latest draft, which you can read here:

It sets out ‘ten points’ for what amounts to a democratic revolution and progress to a ‘United Commonwealth’ of nations and regions. Over the next few election Salvoes I’ll look at each point in a bit more detail. Seems logical to start with Number 1: “A new democracy of active citizens not passive subjects: The UK is broken, with a highly centralised state and a disaffected Scotland that is likely to go independent.

e need a new federal democracy based on an agreement between the nations and regions of Britain and Ireland that guarantees equal treatment and genuine democratic devolution within a modern, reformed, Europe: a United Commonwealth of citizens, not a United Kingdom of subjects. Power must be devolved to the most local level that is appropriate; we want to see engaged and active communities, with new forms of democratic engagement right down to neighbourhood level”.

Misruled Britannia – it could get much worse

This is the nub of a new democratic settlement across the British Isles which – potentially – could include the Irish Republic. We face a very real possibility of Scotland going independent, with our rulers repeating the same stupid mistakes they made with Ireland a century ago. The reality is that more and more Scots feel as though they are being pushed out of the UK by politicians playing the ‘English nationalist’ card, leaving Scots with little faith in the main unionist parties. Is it too late to build a progressive alliance of the nations and regions that make up the UK to find a common solution to our problems based on ‘democratic devolution all round’? The consequences of not doing could see us leaving the EU – with Scotland and maybe Wales going their own way with a residual, insular and reactionary England even more dominated by the south.

A new approach to local democracy: goodbye Kirklees?

It isn’t just about the strategic level, we need to shift power to the most local level that’s appropriate. That means stronger local authorities that reflect real identities with even more localised neighbourhood governance as well. Here in Kirklees that means recognising that the local authority covering the made-up entity that is called ‘Kirklees’ is no longer fit for purpose. It manages to combine being too big to focus on local needs and not big enough to be strategic.

Twilight for local government? Power is shifting to unaccountable 'combined authorities'

Twilight for local government? Power is shifting to unaccountable ‘combined authorities’

The solution of ceding powers to the unelected ‘West Yorkshire Combined Authority’ is yet another nail in the coffin of local democracy. At the strategic level there should be a directly-elected Yorkshire Parliament with similar powers to those of Scotland. Locally, Kirklees should be split in two, with one council for Huddersfield and the Valleys, with most of what is now called North Kirklees becoming its own authority – Dewsbury, Batley and Spen. The two councils could share some ‘back office’ functions – this isn’t about doubling existing bureaucracy, it’s actually about reducing it.

Dewsbury Town Hall - sadly not much happens there now but it could be the heart of a new council for Dewsbury, Batley and Spen

Dewsbury Town Hall – sadly not much happens there now but it could be the heart of a new council for Dewsbury, Batley and Spen

Some responsibilities should be further devolved to community councils, based on parish and town councils where they already exist, and new ones formed where they don’t. They should have a very small officer base and be governed by unpaid councillors, as is currently the case with parish councils.

There is an opportunity, especially for new councils (e.g. in Colne Valley, Lindley and Golcar), to look at different models of organisation with a much higher level of active citizen participation. Could we develop an entirely new model of local community council which is run as a co-operative, free from party political control? Like any other co-op, people could have shares in ‘their’ council, allowing it to develop a wide portfolio of activities and build partnerships with existing or new local businesses.

Our Election Manifesto in glorious technicolour (mostly blue)

Our election manifesto is being delivered to all households in Colne Valley constituency – have you had yours? You can also read it here:

Creative Yorkshire, creative Colne Valley

The Colne Valley – Marsden, Slaithwaite, Holmfirth, Meltham, Golcar and many of our smaller communities are full of creative people doing lots of good things. How can we do more to promote a ‘Crative Colne Valley’ which brings great economic benefits through tourism and supports local business. See what our Yorkshire cultural strategy says:

Le Tour gives Yorkshire cycling boost

We watched Le Tour de Yorkshire powering up Crimble Clough – after a rainy morning the sun came out and there was a festive atmosphere, with prize-winning Slaithwaite Band playing to appreciative drinkers at the newly-refurbished Swan. The race came and went and we retired to friends for drinks and conversation – a perfect Sunday afternoon.

Ah, that's more like it. When you get to our age a bit of battery power helps. And he is the only one smiling!

Ah, that’s more like it. When you get to our age a bit of battery power helps. And he’s smiling!

Let’s hope the interest in cycling raised by Le Tour won’t be a flash in the pan. We need to do much more to promote cycling across Britain and here in Yorkshire. The Colne Valley may not seem natural cycling territory – it has a lot of hills! But a far bigger deterrent to cycling is the road network, with little consideration given to cyclists in highway engineering. Here’s what we need to get more people cycling:

  • The success of developing an off-road cycle network in North Kirklees should be repeated in the Colne Valley constituency: the Huddersfield Narrow Canal towpath should be developed so that it is safe to both cycle and walk along the towpath – with cyclists giving priority to walkers.
  • There should be mainly off-road (or traffic-clamed) routes from both the Colne and Holme Valleys into the centre of Huddersfield, connecting with cycle routes to Mirfield, Dewsbury and Brighouse
  • All rail stations (Marsden, Slaithwaite, Lockwood, Brockholes, Honley) should have safe cycle storage
  • Areas with low level of cycle use should be targeted through schools and community groups to encourage cycling
  • Make sure that Kirklees Council ensures that all local road schemes are ‘cycle-proofed’ to ensure cyclists’ needs are taken into account
  • Shops, cafes and pubs should be encouraged to provide safe storage facilities for bikes, with a small grants fund available from Kirklees Council and/or local parish councils
  • A great way to get people cycling is to encourage small groups of people to get on their bikes: make it a sociable thing. Lets’ have lots of local cycling groups for all abilities! The old ‘Clarion’ cycling club did just that back in the 1890s.

The full Yorkshire Cycling Strategy is here:

Where I stand re-stated

Yorkshire First is a new party, formed only a year ago. Our main objective is to get a directly-elected assembly/parliament for Yorkshire, giving people the means to address growing inequality and help build a strong regional economy. More and more people are disillusioned with mainstream politics. My statement on ‘where I stand’ is here:

Letters to voters and non-voters

Here’s the original ‘letter to non-voters’ – the other letters to political parties are on the website:

For the rest, go to:

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

We adhere to these core principles of behaviour:

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 to donors. If you want to send a donation you can go on-line to and click on the relevant button, or 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, strange person that 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