Evolution of the YPF
The origins of the YPF can be traced back to at least the turn of the nineteenth century, when Thomas Way (1872-1953) and Charlotte Lowe (1872-1949) were active members of the, newly formed, Wakefield branch of the Co-operative Party.
The Co-operative party entered into a long-term electoral pact with the Labour party and its’ influence is still being felt today, as Co-operative party sponsored candidates are often more moderate and frequently well known representatives.
Claude N Robinson (1898-1988) and Charlotte Grace Way (1900-1984, daughter of Thomas Way & Charlotte Lowe) both successfully contested local elections in the North-East; C N Robinson (Lab) and C G Way (Ind).
Both provided support for the Jarrow March 1936, their car can often be seen in contemporary photographs. Claude also contested a parliamentary constituency and later detailed his exploits and more in his autobiography.
How these ideals in great measure came to be frustrated by the Labour County Education Committee in Durham is the story which he has related in a further volume.
F Olga Clayton (daughter of Claude Robinson & Charlotte Grace Way) contested the (circa 1989) Local elections in Kingston-upon-Hull, on behalf of the Conservative party, in protest at the “one party” dominance of the authority and the imposition of a non-merit based education system.
Martin G Clayton (YPF founder, son of F Olga Clayton) – During the years (1969-1977) as a grammar school boy delivering newspapers, for some pocket money and then as an indentured apprentice (thus not permitted to participate in any matters which were broadly considered political), I witnessed the initial skirmishes of the developing conflict between two failed political doctrines; power cuts, three day week, shortages, winter of discontent and the consequent hardships for ordinary people.
Once I had become a fully qualified member of the workforce, I soon became a union representative to defend my fellow employees’ rights, which was encouraged by the enlightened views of my employer (Reckitt & Colman plc), who regularly facilitated on-site training of new union representatives and subsequently sponsored my attendance at a Hull University course for Statutory Health & Safety representatives under the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 and subsequently to Peterborough Polytechnic for a course in VDU ergonomics as part of the agreement over the introduction of new technology.
My fellow union representatives could not understand why I had not become a member of the Labour Party, which they saw as integral in ‘the struggle’ and I saw it as choosing sides in a pointless ideological conflict.
When I attained the age to vote, I investigated the possibility of membership of a mainstream political party and was disillusioned by the influence of their financial backers or in the case of the Liberal Party was moribund as a result of their previous record, thus creating the conditions for the polarized confrontational conflict which was to follow.
In 1981 came the Limehouse Declaration creating the SDP (Social Democratic Party) which was free from vested interests and contained two words in its’ name (social & democratic) which the establishment had spent many years paying ‘lip service’ to whilst pursuing their own self-interests.
Whilst some of the policies were far from pragmatic, it was a much needed progressive move toward representing the views of the electorate. I became a founder member at the earliest opportunity, working within the party to make the policy portfolio more realistic, e.g. opposing a Shirley Williams sponsored policy of positive discrimination for women, on the basis that positive discrimination, in all its’ forms, is still discrimination by definition. Preferring instead equality of opportunity based on merit.
In the Local elections, I contested the Sutton Ward twice in 1986 & 1988.
Then the previously undisclosed agreement between David Steel and Roy Jenkins intended to fulfil self-serving political aims was revealed by David Steel as a proposal to merge the two parties.
*There are chronological discrepancies between this Wikipedia entry and my own records.
In keeping with David Owen’s view I opposed the merger (had I wanted to join the Liberal Party I could have done so many years earlier) and remained with the ‘Owenite faction’ until its’ disillusion, at which point I abandoned political activism convinced that electoral, democratic and constitutional reform was needed to restore the democracy we British are so keen to boast about to the rest of the world.
I had also concluded political parties were part of the problem, in that particularly the bigger parties, wanted numbers to support the leadership’s established view, whilst stifling radical ideas and constructive debate from the ‘rank & file’.
Of course, the polarized conflict between two failed political doctrines which had escalated to near civil war, with both sides employing tactics that were illegal and unconstitutional, came to a conclusion with the end of the Miner’s Strike.
The balance of power having been removed, the capitalist vested interests went unchecked. The effects of this are still being felt to the present day, where business interests are able to prevail over the views of local people despite a definition of democracy being governance by the people for the people.
In an effort to ensure there could be no repeat of the challenge to state authority, the existing tentative moves toward the centralization of power in Westminster & Whitehall were significantly accelerated, reducing the regions to impoverished colonies to be exploited for the benefit of the City State masquerading as the Nation’s Capital.
This direct contradiction to the concept of subsidiarity led to a more extreme backlash from some of the dis-enfranchised nations and counties, raising the profile of the nationalist agendas of the SNP, Plaid Cymru, Mebyon Kernow and others; forcing the UK Government to take the more moderate calls for national devolution seriously.
Northern Ireland has been intentionally omitted, as the settlements for the island of Ireland are both complex and unique, with one relevant observation about the conduct of successive UK Governments. At the 1919 Paris Peace Conference after the end of 1914-1918 Great War and the subsequent demands for independence from colonies of the British Empire after the end of 1939-1945 World War, the UK Government deployed a central negotiating principle of abiding by ‘the right to self-determination’, which it hypocritically refuses to acknowledge when applied to the ‘home’ nations.
To achieve equitable access to more relevant local democracy across the United Kingdom it follows that the counties within England should be consulted over devolution necessitating the electoral, democratic and constitutional reform referred to earlier.
There are numerous lobby groups and regionalist political parties across England advocating a federal England when considered collectively. In our case, the detailed proposals for Yorkshire devolution put forward by the YDM (Yorkshire Devolution Movement) form the central policy around which we address the broader political issues, not within the remit of an apolitical organisation.
In 2021 the YDM submitted evidence to theHouse of Lords Constitution Committee – Inquiry into the Future Governance of the UK.
To escalating calls for democratic subsidiarity for the English counties, the UK Government responded by creating a limited devolved assembly for the “City State” known as the London Assembly. In a typically British fudge procedural changes were made for the House of Commons to enable it to operate with the dual role of both the UK and English parliaments, known as the West Lothian question or EVEL (English Votes for English Laws), thus avoiding the devolution of any powers, let alone budgets.
Some of the more vocal areas were granted a referendum and when they returned the “wrong” result, the people’s view was ignored and Directly Elected Mayors were imposed anyway. Metropolitan Mayors are a means of providing a directly elected figurehead for combined authorities and only having to commit limited funding to support it, whilst once again retaining powers centrally, demonstrating it has little to do with the escalating calls for democratic subsidiarity for the English.
Most of the factual chronology of the UK membership of the EU, formerly known as the EEC (European Economic Community) and latterly as the EU (European Union), is contained within the Wikipedia links provided. However the more subtle reasons which motivated the opposition to it throughout our 47-year membership are much less well known.
The UK became a member of the EEC (Common Market) in 1973 but the UK Government did not condescend to ask for the opinion of the population until 1975.
The body presently known as the EU has constantly evolved throughout its’ existence, mostly via treaties to which the member states were signatories, generally consulting their respective populations beforehand when a significant change was proposed. The exception was the UK Government, which refused to consult the population because it arrogantly maintained any such referendum may return the “wrong” result.
Thus significant progress was made toward the flawed ideological conclusion favoured by some, namely the United States of Europe (federal superstate) and the implied consequences, without the consent of the British people.
With the departure of the UK, France is the only state left which maintains the self-delusion that it has equitable status with Germany. The constitutional mandates would indicate it is the junior partner, hence the reference to the “German Economic Empire”!
The EU presents a democratic facade with the European Parliament when the executive is actually the European Commission, thus denying democratic access to the member state populations, in favour of member state governments, which in the case of the UK Government also maintains the unsustainable contradiction of denying English democratic subsidiarity.
One of the most notable reasons for the imposition of the English (administrative) Regions in 1994 was that they were expedient to defining constituencies for the purposes of elections to the European Parliament, but as the Wikipedia link acknowledges, “they no longer fulfil this role”.
In contrast, the population numbers of the (traditional) Counties could have been used to determine the number of seats available for election to the European Parliament, and whereas the Counties represent the heritage and identity of many of their resident population, the imposed English Regions pay no regard to such matters.
The website was created in the first decade of this century, principally as an uncensored platform to promote my personal political views, the scope of which was not represented by any other singular organization and to contest the ‘short-term’ thinking of our Local Authority and commercial interests intent upon maximising profits at the expense of the environment.
With the prospect of a number of seminal decisions being made in the near future, which would impact how we are perceived in international relations and how genuinely inclusive we are as a democracy, I briefly joined UKIP, only to be faced with unacceptable bundled policies and no voice to have them reviewed, as detailed previously.
I opened a dialogue with Yorkshire First in 2014 and became a member shortly afterwards, along with a growing number of independent political activists who had established contact via the website. We were attracted by the principle of not having a ‘party whip’, in essence making it a group of independent activists, having a single central policy and code of conduct in common, the Bell principles (see the Membership section of this website).
For the 2015 elections the website was used as a resource and platform to support the two Parliamentary and eight Local Government Candidates in Kingston-upon-Hull:-
Some details have been withheld to respect the individual’s right not to disclose personal information.
Following the elections, the group made efforts to establish a branch, including holding inaugural meetings, the first with an invited speaker but received no interest from the Yorkshire First leadership and ultimately failed.
In the meantime, both Keith (son of Martin G Clayton) and I had discovered the origins of the Yorkshire First (namely the YDM) and could see the positives to an apolitical, single issue, lobby group; both becoming members.
In something of a role reversal, at approximately the same time as the rebranding of Yorkshire First to the Yorkshire Party, it started to actively pursue other toxic policies, not sanctioned by the Executive. Having seen this many times before, I resigned from the Executive and allowed my membership to lapse, preferring to adopt an active role in the YDM.
Hopefully, this detailed personal history goes some way to explaining the development of the principles, which have fashioned the YPF into a vehicle to campaign for; social, electoral, democratic and constitutional reform; as a political resource and platform, for members of the YDM.