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YDM blogger impressed by Yorkshire First conference

November 27, 2014


Wayne Chadburn from Penistone, who has contributed to the YDM blog in the past, has allowed us to reproduce his own blog piece from a couple of days ago, outlining his reasons why he is resigning from the Liberal Democrats and joining Yorkshire First over the issue of devolution to Yorkshire.


The post @LibDemVoice refused to publish

This morning I sent what would be my final post to LibDem Voice. It was to highlight why my brief sojourn with the Lib Dems was ending and why I was throwing my full support behind Yorkshire First.  As I expected, they refused to post it on the site.  They were good enough to tell me this.  However, I thought I would post it on here – not that it will get the readership it would have got had it got on LibDem Voice – nor possibly the plethora of negative comments. It is effectively my resignation letter from the Lib Dems.

I apologise for some repetition from my previous post.

I wrote on this site in March that I had switched from the Labour Party, which I had been a member of for more or less 27 years, to the Liberal Democrats. I did this with my eyes wide open and genuine positivity. I believed (and to some extent still do, particularly in relation to a number of the people in the party I’ve been in contact with) that the general views of the Liberal Democrats resonated with me more than the current Labour Party who I believe have become a party of micromanaging dinosaurs who secretly (or openly in the case of certain ex-shadow attorney generals) despise the mere mortals that elect them and speak mainly to the Westminster bubble.

What I have come to realise over the last few months is that, nationally at least, the Liberal Democrats aren’t much better. When joined I didn’t expect a fanfare or flowers or anything like that. I did expect maybe a membership card (or even a number!) and a general welcome to the party and maybe some contact from my local organisation. I had to contact the national party so I could ask whether my membership had been processed (the money certainly was taken from my bank account) and ask for a membership number so I could properly register on this site. I had no contact from the local party until my first post on Lib Dem Voice when I received some contact from next door Sheffield (I’d like to favourably mention in particular Joe Otten and Laura Gordon). If the Liberal Democrats want to keep a membership and rise from the current crisis maybe they need to treat their members and supporters better and actually make them feel welcome.

I can handle being ignored. I can handle maybe the local party having very little organisation because it is almost defunct. I got used to that in the Labour Party. What become the final straw for me in my short dalliance with the Lib Dems is the general disregard at the top, which treats its membership as a commodity not a partner. I attended the recent regional (Yorkshire and Humber) conference in Leeds at the beginning of November. I was particularly excited by the motion tabled by the Calder Valley PPC (who I have a great deal of time for) calling for devolution to Yorkshire – something I’m particularly passionate about if you read some of my posts on this site. This was roundly supported by the regional party. Then we hear from Mr Clegg and his persistent trumpeting of city regions. Effectively riding roughshod over his local party.

On Saturday I returned to Leeds as an interested but anxious observer at the first conference of one of Britain’s newest political parties – Yorkshire First. What I saw was ex-Lib Dems, ex-Labour, ex-Tories, even ex-UKIP members and those who have never been party members passionately talking about the future of Yorkshire and how it would fit into a more de-centralised United Kingdom. The difference being that the party leadership actually listened engaged and took on board the views aired rather than haughtily dismissing them. The atmosphere was one of welcome and openness. The views opined those of de-centralisation, social cohesion and fairness.

I now see the Lib Dems, like the other two major parties, as being a symptom of what it wrong with UK politics rather than a cure. My disillusionment in politics in general had reached its zenith shortly after the local Lib Dem conference – even in the Lib Dems there was over centralisation and micromanagement from the centre. I can understand the interest shown in UKIP by those disillusioned. However to me UKIP are a backward looking party which defines itself by what it dislikes. Yorkshire First are a party that is defining itself by what it likes and is forward looking and positive. I have therefore decided to throw my support behind them and end my brief membership of the Liberal Democrats.

In an election between the Lib Dems, Labour, Tories and UKIP I shall still be supporting the Lib Dems as given the choice they are certainly the best choice from the four. However if I am going to be honest with myself and my local community and actively support a party it has to be a party that values its members and wants to do things the right way. For me that is Yorkshire First.

I know many will say “so what” and throw the flip flopper label at me. I will take that on the chin because I believe I’ve finally found the real deal and I can already feel the disillusionment disappearing.”



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