In the midst of the general election campaign i took time out to ask candidates in my own constituency of Hemsworth if they would commit to raise awareness and support a cause very close to my heart, Crohn’s and Colitis UK. As someone who suffers with quite severe ulcerative colitis (pan colitis to be exact) and all of the usual side ailments of fatigue, arthritis, psoriasis and many others this cause is important to me. Naturally i am a member of the charity Crohn’s and Colitis UK (and i urge anyone seeking advice on related illness to pay to join the charity as a member) and i contacted all of the prospective candidates to ask for their support.
I knew beforehand that my own party, the Yorkshire Party, fully support the cause, Chair Dr Lucy Brown was adamant of the fact. Of the candidates from the other parties the outcome was less so. Incumbent member of parliament Jon Trickett did not respond to my enquiry, whilst i can accept it is a busy time for the Labour party i have grown quite accustomed to Jon Trickett not responding to my enquiries. The Liberal Democrat candidate, Joan ‘Mary’ MacQueen is an acquaintance of mine from my days as a member of the Liberal Democrats and also through work, so i was quite upset that she didn’t respond either. Realistically though the seat was never a priority for the Liberal Democrats, who in the 2010 general election fielded the paper candidate Alan Belmore quite possibly the youngest and most out of touch candidate in the entire country. Likewise the Conservative candidate, Mike Jordan, didn’t respond. Whether this points to the Conservative view of the NHS i couldn’t possibly comment.
The UKIP candidate, David Dews, was another matter entirely. In 2014 David Dews was one of two UKIP councillors elected onto Wakefield Metropolitan District Council, with the seats being the first the party had held locally. David Dews was elected to the Conservative seat of Outwood and Morley West before being selected as the UKIP candidate for the Hemsworth constituency in 2017. UKIP mean business this time around. When asked if he would support the charity he responded:
“You will appreciate that as a member of UKIP i entered politics in order to help to gain our complete independence from the EU, and i am an engineer rather than a health specialist. I am reluctant to make promises that i cannot keep…” At least he is honest.
So, voters, choose wisely. It seems in our area of Yorkshire only one party stands up for sufferers of illnesses such as Crohn’s and colitis.